Both North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central handled business as expected Saturday, the Aggies defeating Delaware State 45-14 and the Eagles defeating Howard 30-21.
The win for both sets up the game that everyone has been anticipating all year between the Aggies and the Eagles in Durham on Saturday for the outright MEAC championship. The last time, an outright champion was crowed in the MEAC was 2012 when Bethune-Cookman went undefeated in MEAC play.
A&T has had the opportunity to win the MEAC outright the last two years, but has fallen to NCCU twice on the last game of the season. In 2014, there was an unprecedented five-way tie in the MEAC and last year was a three-way tie between the two teams and Bethune-Cookman.
This will be the first time since 2000 that a game will determine the outright champion. Florida A&M defeated Bethune-Cookman 31-28 on November 18, 2000 to win the championship.
The stars shined brightly in respective games. Aggie running back Tarik Cohen carried the ball 13 times for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Eagle quarterback Malcolm Bell had 345 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. Both were named MEAC Co-Offensive Players of the Week.
North Carolina-based BOXTOROW is your place for Aggie-Eagle coverage this week.
Tuskegee, Winston-Salem State earn playoff berths
Tuskegee was able to earn an NCAA Division II playoff berth by simply scheduling Virginia State. As we spoke about last week, the Golden Tigers needed a 10th game and at the 11th and a half hour, was able to schedule a good Virginia State team.
VSU won the game 45-35, but the Golden Tigers were already solidified in the region and the loss didn’t really hurt them. TU received a #7 seed and will face Newberry of the Southern Athletic Conference at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.
This is Tuskegee’s fourth-straight year in the playoffs after deciding to make itself available for the national playoffs after having played in the annual Turkey Day Classic against Alabama State 84 times since the first game in 1924, which made them ineligible for the playoffs since the Turkey Day Classic was played the same week as the playoffs.
Last year Tuskegee made it to the quarterfinal round.
Speaking of playoffs, Winston-Salem State (9-2) makes its return to the national playoffs for the first time since 2013 as the #7 seed and will play at LIU. The Rams defeated Bowie State 44-33 to win their second-straight CIAA championship game over the Bulldogs. This was the Rams fourth title in six years.
The Rams have had success in the playoffs, more recently in 2013 when they defeated Slippery Rock in the first round, before falling 7-0 to Shepherd University in the second round. The Rams made it to the semifinals in 2011 and played in the Division II national championship game in 2012 falling to Valdosta State.
Fort Valley State wins SIAC championship
The Wildcats won the SIAC championship outright for the first time since 1992 defeating Kentucky State 33-30 in double overtime. FVSU becomes the first team not named Albany State, Tuskegee or Miles to win the SIAC championship since it shared the championship with Morehouse and Tuskegee in 2002.
Otis Brown’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Chauncy Jackson in the second overtime was the winner. Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime. Kentucky State got the ball first to begin the second overtime. Bill Rose’s 32-yard field goal put the Wildcats ahead 30-27
FVSU faced a third down and six on its possession in the second overtime period and found Christopher Weems for seven yards, giving the FVSU Wildcats a first down. Brown then lost eight yards on the next play, before finding Jackson for the game-winning touchdown.