Duane Nash is our resident HBCU expert and operator of The Yard-HBCU Sports. You can follow Duane — like 7,000 other big-time HBCU fans have — on Twitter @TheYardHBCU. Duane will give readers weekly insight into what teams will win the big games, which individuals are in contention for big honors … and much, much more.
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FOR STARTERS … Week 10 and we’re in the final month of the college football season! Conference title races are heating up and a lot of teams are still eligible for their respective conference crowns. Homecoming Season continues with three schools celebrating on Saturday. You have three teams still in search of their first conference win while a heavyweight bout will take place in the MEAC. Alcorn State, Bethune Cookman and Prairie View A&M will sit this week out.
Here are Duane's picks for this week's games:[divider]
Presbyterian (0-8, 0-3) at Hampton (4-4, 0-2), Saturday, 1:00 PM: Pirates QB Deondre Francois scored four total touchdowns in Hampton’s 56-6 win over Virginia-Lynchburg, but it was the Pirate defense that shined last week by recovering four fumbles. I expect for Coach Prunty to lean on the team’s usual suspects on offense, Francois, RB Shai McKenzie and WR Jadakis Bonds, in the Pirates attempt to earn their first ever Big South conference win. Pirates 30, Blue Hose 21
No. 16 North Carolina A&T (5-2, 3-1) at South Carolina State (5-2, 3-1), Saturday, 1:30 PM, ESPN3: Both teams are coming off big wins this past weekend. The Bulldogs ruined BCU’s homecoming while the Aggies put up a “Sixty Burger” at theirs. Even though both teams dropped close games to FAMU in recent weeks, the Rattlers are ineligible for post season play. Which means, the winner of this game will be in First Place in the MEAC. If the Bulldogs expect to knock of A&T, the MEAC’s second-best rush defense will have to keep Aggie RB Jah-Maine Martin under 100 yards. The Aggies are 1-2 when the nation’s best rusher is held under the century mark. Aggies 30, Bulldogs 24
Delaware State (1-7, 0-5) at No. 17 Florida A&M (7-1, 5-0) Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPN3: The Rattlers are returning to Tallahassee, where they will face off against Delaware State. The Hornets are not only seeking its first win against the Rattlers since 2013, it’s still in search of its first MEAC victory in 2019. I don’t believe it happens this week against the “Best team in HBCU Football.” Rattlers 35, Hornets 6. THE PICK: Rattlers 35, Hornets 6
North Carolina Central (3-5, 2-2) at Howard (1-7, 1-3), Saturday, 1:00 PM, ESPN3: Central stole one from Del State last week with a 75-yard kickoff return in the final seconds of their game while the Bison had a hard time in Greensboro last week. Not only did Howard turn the ball over half as many times (3) as points scored (6), they’ve allowed an opponent to score 40 or more points on them for the sixth time this season. Well, the Eagles have only scored over 40 once this season and, oddly enough, I don’t expect it to happen again this week. THE PICK: Bison 28, Eagles 24
Morgan State (1-7, 1-4) at Norfolk State (2-6, 1-3), Saturday, 2:00 PM, ESPN3: Last season, the Bears broke an eleven-game losing streak against Norfolk State. If Morgan State wants to stop their current two-game skid, Bears RB Josh Chase will have to take advantage of the MEAC’s worst rushing defense. Expect to see a lot of Norfolk RBs Rayquan Smith, Kevin Johnson and QB Juwan Carter at the Spartan’s Homecoming since the Bears give up over 250 yards a game on the ground. THE PICK: Spartans 30, Bears 14
No. 21 Southeast Missouri State (5-3, 3-1) at Tennessee State (2-6, 1-3), Saturday, 3:00 PM, ESPN3: Two things stood out while reviewing this match-up, point differential and turnovers. Three of the Tigers’ losses were within eight points or less while the Red Hawks have won all their conference games by that same margin. So, if the Tigers – who have eleven turnovers in their three conference losses — can cut down their mistakes, they may be able to defeat a nationally ranked opponent in consecutive games. Oh yeah, the Red Hawks haven’t won in Nashville since 1996. THE PICK: Tigers 24, Red Hawks 21
Alabama A&M (5-3, 2-1) at Southern (4-4, 3-1), Saturday, 5:00 PM, ESPN3: The Jags’ Homecoming Game will be interesting. Strength versus weakness. The SWAC’s worst rush defense against conference opponents will look to slow down Southern RB Devon Benn, while the SWAC’s worst pass defense against conference opponents will have their hands full against A&M QB Aqeel Glass. It’s simple. If the Bulldogs want to get their first win over Southern since 2012, Glass cannot turn the ball over. In their three conference wins, the Jags have forced opposing QBs to toss six interceptions against one touchdown THE PICK: Bulldogs 34, Jaguars 28
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5-3, 2-2) at Jackson State (3-5, 2-1), Saturday, 7:00 PM: UAPB let one slip away from them last week against Grambling, while JSU got a lucky with a touchdown on a botched snap and a blocked field goal versus Prairie View. Both teams are still in the hunt for their respective divisional crown and a win here would be helpful. UAPB QB Shannon Patrick threw three interceptions in their two conference losses this season, none in their two wins. Translation, the Golden Lions will win if they don’t throw the ball away. THE PICK: Golden Lions 30, Tigers 28
Texas Southern (0-8, 0-4) at Grambling State (3-4, 1-2), Saturday, 3:00 PM: Grambling dodged a HUGE bullet by beating UAPB last week and avoiding a 0-3 start in SWAC play since 2013. I don’t see TSU doing the same. Look for the Tigers to start this season 0-9, a feat they haven’t done since 2007. Looks like the Tigers scheduled the right team for their Homecoming THE PICK: Grambling State 30, Texas Southern 12
Alabama State (3-4, 2-2) at Mississippi Valley State (2-6, 1-3), Saturday, 2:00 PM: Uh oh. This looks like one of those “ever since” games. The Delta Devils are looking to win two games in a row for the first time since 2012, but they will have to beat a team that they haven’t defeated since 2009. And since MVSU has the worst pass offense in the SWAC – the Devils passed for 57 yards last week – look for them to attack the third-worst rush defense in the conference. Hey, Coach Hill-Eley! Put eight in the box! THE PICK: Hornets 35, Delta Devils 21
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