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HBCU Football

Morehouse’s special teams are the difference in bounce-back win over Benedict

N.C. A&T beats Bethune-Cookman, still in the MEAC title hunt

Morehouse spoiled Benedict College’s homecoming Saturday, scoring two special-teams touchdowns to eke out a 14-10 win in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) contest.

“That was really their only crack we saw in this football team. They had a juggernaut offense, players everywhere and guys so big they could block out the sun. That’s a mammoth-size football team,” Morehouse coach Rich Freeman said of Benedict. “Defensively, the same thing: very physical, very well-coached and well-schemed with [Benedict coach] Mike White. But we saw some blemishes in their snapping game on the punt team. Luckily, we were able to take advantage of it and get a score out of it.”

The victory followed the Maroon Tigers’ first loss of the season, on Oct. 14 to Albany State. The win over Benedict adds to the list of unorthodox victories for Morehouse (7-1 overall, 3-1 in SIAC) this season. The team started off strong with a major win over FCS opponent University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a 34-30 shootout.

Morehouse followed with two comeback wins, with the first at Soldier Field in the Chicago Football Classic historically black college matchup against Miles College, when it scored the game-winning touchdown on the last play of the game. The second comeback came against Kentucky State, when the Maroon Tigers’ offense worked some fourth-quarter magic to win 23-21.

It took triple overtime for Morehouse to beat archrival Tuskegee University in the 83rd Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic. Quarterback Michael Sims and running back Santo Dunn both put in stellar performances.

Sims has thrown for 1,522 yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions so far this season. He has a 58 percent completion percentage with a QBR of 129.71. Dunn was recently named to the Black College Player of the Year watch list. He has rushed for 696 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 87 yards per game.

On defense, senior defensive tackle Kamari Jones-Hunter had a monster performance with 13 total tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks in Saturday’s game against Benedict (5-2, 3-1).

The Maroon Tigers hope to keep their SIAC championship hopes alive when they face Fort Valley State in their homecoming game Saturday in Atlanta.

N.C. A&T wins big over Bethune-Cookman

Jah-Maine Martin rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown and Lamar Raynard passed for 189 yards and two scores as North Carolina A&T built a commanding early lead and beat host Bethune-Cookman 35-10.

Five players scored touchdowns for A&T (6-2 overall, 3-2 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)), which piled up 471 yards in total offense and held the ball for nearly 36 minutes.

The Aggies built a 26-3 halftime lead and never let Bethune-Cookman (4-4, 2-2) get close, breaking the Wildcats’ three-game winning streak. Martin broke away for a 67-yard touchdown run midway through the opening quarter, Raynard hit Quinzel Lockhart from the 19 to cap an 80-yard drive, and Ron Hunt hauled in a 55-yarder from Raynard in the closing two minutes of the half.

Keavon Mitchell fell on a fumble in the end zone to push the Wildcats to a 26-10 lead. Akevious Williams passed for 108 yards but had no touchdowns and was sacked three times.

Howard survives at Morgan State

Howard (3-3, 3-1) needed more than the usual stellar play of quarterback Caylin Newton to beat Morgan State and preserve a 35-26 victory Saturday night.

Newton went 14-for-32 with 213 passing yards but had no touchdown passes. He was sacked six times, threw two interceptions and ran for one touchdown.

It was Howard running back Dedrick Parson who saved the day, when he ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Morgan State had a 26-20 lead with 8:59 to play, before Parson scored followed by Faraji Joseph’s extra point, putting the Bison up 27-26 with 7:07 to go.

Morgan State (2-5, 2-2) failed to move the ball, and Parson scored again on a 26-yard run. That was followed by a two-point conversion to cap the scoring with 53 seconds remaining. Parson finished with 16 carries for 148 yards.

Joshua Chase ran 20 times for 115 yards and a touchdown for the Bears, while quarterback DeAndre Harris threw for two touchdowns and ran for one.

GRAMBLING State loses again

The possibility of Grambling State returning to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl took another hit Saturday when the Tigers lost their second conference game this season, 33-26 to Alcorn State.

Braves quarterback Noah Johnson threw a game-winning 1-yard touchdown pass to Chris Blair with 12 seconds left for the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) home victory.

Johnson had just completed a third-and-33 pass of 33 yards to Davall Harris, which put the ball at the Grambling 3, before hitting a wide-open Blair for the game-winner.

Blair had five receptions for 37 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson had 160 yards passing and two touchdowns and 44 rushing yards in the back-and-forth battle with the Tigers (3-4, 2-2 SWAC).

The Braves (6-2, 4-1) got an outstanding defensive performance from Terry Whittington. He had career highs of 15 tackles, 6 tackles for losses and 4½ sacks and also forced a fumble.

“That was a tough win,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said. “We did it here at home against a great Grambling football team. To come back after giving up a 10-point lead is phenomenal. I’m proud of the guys and everything they do. They fight hard every day and should be proud of themselves as well.”

Tucker Toole is a junior cinema-television and emerging media studies major and journalism. This Chicago native serves as sports editor for the “Maroon Tiger” and is a die-hard Chicago sports fan.

John X. Miller is senior editor for news and commentary for The Undefeated. He's a father, jazz aficionado and diehard UNC basketball fan.