No. 10 FLORIDA A&M 38, No. 1 BETHUNE-COOKMAN 27
Florida A&M fought back from a 27-14 hafltime deficit outscoring Bethune-Cookman 24-0 in the second half to knock off the formerly undefeated Wildcats and gain a share of the MEAC championship before a crowd of 61,712 at the Florida Classic in Orlando Saturday afternoon.
FAMU (8-3, 7-1 MEAC) shares the league title with B-CU (10-1, 7-1) and SC State (9-2, 7-1), who beat North Carolina A&T 48-3 Saturday.
Bethune-Cookman gets the league¹s automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs by virtue of the MEAC¹s tie-breaking formula. The key determinant in the formula is four points given for non-conference FCS wins.
B-CU has two such wins while FAMU and SCSU have one each.
FAMU senior running back Phillip Sylvester keyed the comeback, running for 146 yards on 26 carries and scoring on runs of 9, 14 and 3 yards, the latter two in the second half. B-CU lost starting quarterback Matt Johnson to a separated shoulder in the third quarter. Without Johnson, named this week as the MEAC¹s offensive player of the year, the Wildcats¹ struggled dooming their chances for a perfect season.
Sylvester¹s 9-yard scoring run came on the Rattlers first possession of the game. It came after FAMU QB Austin Treanor hit wideout Kevin Elliot on a 47-yard pass play that carried to the B-CU 9. Trevor Scott¹s PAT put the Rattlers up early, 7-0.
B-CU pulled within 7-6 with 4:56 left in the first quarter on Jonathan Moment¹s one-yard run that capped an 8-play, 69-yard drive. The PAT attempt failed.
FAMU (8-3) went back up at 14-6 on Treanor¹s 10-yard pass to Antonio Lawrence with 1:22 left in the opening period. The score came at the end of a 8-play, 60-yard drive.
The Wildcats (10-1) however scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter. They drove 86 yards in nine plays to score on Androse Bell¹s one-yard run early at the 12:51 mark. Placekicker Kory Kowalski missed the PAT leaving the ŒCats trailing 14-12. Isidore Johnson scored on a two-yard run with 4:56 left at the end of a 10-play, 63-yard march. This time Kowalski was good on the PAT to put B-CU up 19-14. Finally, Johnson hit Eddie Poole with a 35-yard scoring pass with 1:33 left to put the ŒCats up 25-14. Johnson then hit Poole for a two-point conversion for the 27-14 halftime lead.
But that would be the end of B-CU¹s scoring on the day.
Trevor Scott¹s 30-yard field goal on the back end of a 12-play 51-yard drive that opened the second half cut the B-CU lead to 27-17. On the third play following the kickoff, Moment fumbled and FAMU recovered at the B-CU 29. Four plays later, Sylvester ran in from 13 yards. Scott¹s PAT cut the lead to 27-24 with 9:23 left in the third quarter.
The teams exchanged red zone turnovers - a Johnson fumble at the FAMU 25 and a Trainor interception at the B-CU goal line - before FAMU got the ball back on a punt at midfield. On first down, Sylvester ran 49 yards to the B-CU 1-yard line setting up Lavontae Page¹s one-yard score tthat gave FAMU, after Scott¹s PAT, its first second-half lead, 31-27 at the 4:34 mark of the third period, Johnson did not play after his fumble and with him out, B-CU mounted just 52 yards of offense for the rest of the game. Sylvester¹s final touchdown came after an 11-play, 53-yard drive that culminated with his 3-yard run in the final minute.
Two B-CU receivers topped the 100-yard mark as the Wildcats passed for 300 yards. Jevaughn Reams had five receptions for 140 yards while Eddie Poole had six catches for 112 yards and a TD. Johnson completed 11 of 16 passes for 209 yards and a TD before leaving the game.
Treanor was 19 of 38 for 261 yards and one TD with two interceptions.
Lawrence led the FAMU receivers with 5 catches for 76 yards and one TD.
No. 3 ALBANY STATE had a first-round bye to the NCAA Div. II playofffs.
Hosts Wingate in a second round game Saturday, Nov. 27.
No. 3 SC STATE 48, NORTH CAROLINA A&T 3
South Carolina State quarterback Malcolm Long scored on three short touchdown runs and the Bulldogs ground out 267 rushing yards while its nationally-ranked defense only allowed a second-quarter field goal in a dominating win over North Carolina A&T that closed out the regular season for both teams.
The Bulldogs (9-2, 7-1), back-to-back MEAC champions and FCS playoff participants, await Sunday¹s announcement of the 20-team FCS playoff field to see if they will make a third straight appearance.
No. 4 TEXAS SOUTHERN 20, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF 13
Texas Southern won the SWAC West Division title and a spot opposite Alabama State in the league¹s Dec. 13 championship game in Birmingham, with a home win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday night.
TSU (8-3, 7-1 SWAC) built a 13-0 halftime lead on Marcus Wright¹s five-yard first quarter scoring run and field goals of 45 and 22 yards by Robert Hersh in the second quarter.
UAPB (5-6) got on the board on QB Josh Boudreaux¹s 9-yard scoring pass to T. J. Shelton early in the third quarter. TSU countered with an 8-yard scoring run by Martin Gilbert with 1:40 left in the period to lead 20-7.
Shelton caught a 2-yard TD pass from Boudreaux midway thru the final period.
Wright led TSU with 134 rushing yards on 26 carries. TSU quarterback Arvell Nelson had 12 carries for 114 yards while he completed 14 of 20 passes for 166 yards without a pick.
SWAC receptions leader Raymond Webber paced UAPB with 11 catches for 111 yards. Boudreaux threw for 165 yards and 2 TDs but also had two interceptions.
No. 5 GRAMBLING STATE - idle
SHEPHERD 45, No. 6 SHAW 6
Shepherd racked up 447 yards on offense and kept CIAA champion Shaw out of the end zone until midway thru the final period in getting a first round NCAA Div. II Super Region I win.
Shepherd led 10-0 at the half, and was only up 19-0 after three periods before getting three fourth-quarter TDs. Shaw¹s only score came on Quinshon Odom¹s 23-yard scoring pass to Julius Gregory with 8:40 left.
Odom finished with 13 completions in 29 attempts for 150 yards. All-CIAA running back Raymond Williams was held to 78 yards on 22 carries.
No. 7 ST. AUGUSTINE'S - Idle
No. 8 FORT VALLEY STATE - Idle
No. 9 TUSKEGEE - Idle
OTHER KEY GAMES
WINGATE 63, MOREHOUSE 41
Wingate quarterback Cody Haffly completed 30 of 50 passes for 517 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns to outscore Morehouse in a first round NCAA Div. II Super Region II playoff game.
Morehouse (8-3) rolled up 471 yards of offense led by running back David Carter who amassed 167 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns. But it was not enough.
The Maroon Tigers (8-3) led 27-21 at the half and stayed close into the fourth quarter until some costly turnovers allowed Wingate to pull away.
Trailing 28-27 early in the third quarter, Morehouse drove to the Wingate one before QB Byron Ingram fumbled the ball away. The Tigers pulled within 49-41 with 8:39 left in the final period but had two more red zone turnovers.