Week 5 of the FCS HBCU Football season was chock full of big-time individual and team performances.
NCCU quarterback Davius Richard tied a school record rushing for four touchdowns, Alabama A&M (58) and Texas Southern (52) scored 50-plus in their respective victories over D-II opponents, Delaware State (248) and North Carolina A&T (275) carried out huge ground game performances, Alcorn State kicker Noah Kiani booted four field goals in their overtime win, and Grambling snapped their five-game losing streak in the State Fair Classic.
This week’s slate features some intriguing interconference matchups within the SWAC, Big South/OVC, and CAA, a couple of homecomings, and a trip to Chitown for the Bison while Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Norfolk State, and Texas Southern are on byes.
Here are my top five matchups and predictions for this week.
2023 record: 56-18
Week 5: 10-3
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Week 6 HBCU Top 5 Games
All times are Eastern Standard
5. Campbell (2-3, 1-2) at Hampton (3-1, 1-0), Saturday, 2:00 PM (FloSports)
Hampton is off to a 3-1 start in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-2008. A win here would be great for the Pirates’ attempt to stay unbeaten in the conference. The CAA’s second-worse rushing defense will have to figure out how to slow down running backs Elijah Burris (113.5 rush YPG), Darran Butts (73.5 rush YPG), and dual-threat quarterback Chris Zellous (248.8 total YPG, 12 touchdowns, 5 interceptions). Meanwhile, the league’s second-worse passing defense will do its best to slow down quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams (286.4 pass YPG, 11 touchdowns, 2 interceptions).
Pirates 34, Camels 31
4. Alabama A&M (3-2, 1-1) vs, Jackson State (3-2, 1-1), Saturday, 4:00 PM (ESPN+)
AAMU head coach Connell Maynor hasn’t forgotten about the last two contests against JSU, losing by a combined score of 88-28. Last Saturday, the Tigers watched Alabama A&M compile 539 yards of total offense in their 58-3 homecoming victory over D-II Tuskegee. Former JSU transfer quarterback Quincy Casey has looked impressive in the Bulldogs’ last two starts, passing for 654 yards and seven touchdowns. Will the Gulf Coast Challenge be Casy & The Bulldogs’ opportunity at payback, or will the nation’s fifth-best rusher Irv Mulligan (496 rush yards, 5 touchdowns) make it three-in-a-row for JSU?
Bulldogs 28, Tigers 24
3. Grambling State (3-2, 2-0) at Alcorn State (2-3, 1-1), Saturday, 3:30 PM (ESPN+)
Has Hue Jackson finally turned things around at Grambling? His Tigers have tied their 2022 win total, winning three straight for the first time since 2019. Last season’s 35-6 loss to Grambling was hard on Alcorn, but the Tigers haven’t won in Lorman since 2015. If the Braves (16.8 PPG) can’t keep pace with the league’s highest-scoring offense, which averages just under 40 points per game, Alcorn just may have a bad homecoming.
Tigers 30, Braves 17
2. #11 North Carolina Central (4-1) at #25 Elon (3-2), Saturday, 2:00 PM (FloFootball)
The Eagles look to 4-0 against in-state opponents,and 3-0 against the CAA as they prepare to travel west on I-85 to face Elon. However, the Phoenix are fresh off their upset over #10 W&M while wanting to extend their home win streak to nine. Slowing down Elon running Back Jalen Hampton (562 rush yards, 5 touchdowns) will be a task for Central’s defense, while their offense will need a strong showing against a unit that held the Tribe to six points.
Eagles 24, Phoenix 21
1. #16 Florida A&M (4-1, 3-0) at Southern (2-2, 2-0 SWAC), Saturday, 7:00 PM (ESPNU)
This could be a preview of the 2023 SWAC Championship game. The Rattlers are riding a five-game win streak over the Jags, including last year’s 30-16 win in Tallahassee. Quarterbacks Harold Blood (18/20, 225 pass yards, 2 TDs, Int) and Jeremy Moussa (155 pass yards, 2 TDs, 2 Ints) had productive outings in their respective wins last week, but points may be at a premium in this matchup that will showcase the top two scoring defenses in the conference.
Rattlers 20, Jaguars 17
Delaware State (1-4) at Central Connecticut (1-3), Saturday, 1:00 PM (NEC FrontRow)
Blue Devils 14, Hornets 10
Stony Brook (0-5) at Morgan State (1-4), Saturday, 1:00 PM (ESPN+)
Bears 20, Seawolves 13
Virginia Lynchburg (0-4) at South Carolina State (1-3), Saturday, 2:00 PM (ESPN+)
Bulldogs 42, Dragons 10
Howard (2-2) at Northwestern (2-3), Saturday, 3:00 PM (Big Ten Network)
Wildcats 38, Bison 20
Bethune-Cookman (1-3, 0-1) at Alabama State (1-3, 0-2), Saturday, 3:00 PM (HBCUGO)
Hornets 17, Wildcats 14
Mississippi Valley State (0-3, 0-1) at Prairie View A&M (2-3, 2-1), Saturday, 7:00 PM
Panthers 24, Delta Devils 7
Tennessee State (2-2) at Kennesaw State (1-4), Saturday, 3:00 PM (ESPN+)
Tigers 24, Owls 21
Villanova (3-2, 1-1) at North Carolina A&T (1-3, 0-1), Saturday, 4:00 PM (FloSports)
Wildcats 21, Aggies 10