CIAA Week 3 Preview

September 14th, 2023 12:00pm

CIAA Week 3 Preview

The CIAA isn’t normally known as a passing league, and transitioning to more of a passing philosophy is going to result in some growing pains.  That issue was quite evident last week with seven QBs passing for over 200 yards as shown below in the chart: 


Opponent (Conference)


Amir Jenkins, Bowie State

Davenport (GLIAC)


Daylin Lee, Winston-Salem State

Ohio Dominican (GMAC)


Tyrell Jackson, Johnson C. Smith

Walsh (GMAC)


Isaiah Freeman, Lincoln (PA)

Post (NE-10)


Christian Reid, Virginia Union



Jai’Que Hart, Bluefield State

Emory and Henry (SAC)


Silas Cruse, Shaw

Virginia Union


The downside was that six quarterbacks (plus the Fayetteville State duo) threw for at least two interceptions. The interception cost the conference some needed out of conference games, particularly Bowie State (then #25 Davenport intercepted Jenkins’ potential go ahead touchdown in the end zone inside of a minute left in the game), and JCSU (Jackson threw a pick six early, scored the deciding touchdown after he threw an interception deep in JCSU territory).  The JCSU game really stands out because Walsh won the game despite only mustering 88 (!!) yards of total offense.  The conclusion is that better decision-making will be needed to release some pressure off defenses if clubs will want their desired outcomes. 



Interceptions Thrown

Tyrell Freeman, Johnson C. Smith



Amir Jenkins, Bowie State



Jai’Que Hart, Bluefield State

Emory and Henry


Chris Perkins, Saint Augustine’s

Elizabeth City State


Romelo Williams, Virginia State

Tusculum (SAC)


Silas Cruse, Shaw

Virginia Union


Joe Owens and Demari Daniels, Fayetteville State

Lenoir-Rhyne (SAC)



Other News From Around the Conference

  • The CIAA and SIAC are participating in a post-season bowl game again.  The microphones didn’t work for part of the broadcast; lets home that is not an indicator of things to be. Also, this game will be played in the middle of the week, so it wouldn’t conflict with the D2 Playoffs or the Division II championship game.  Not competing with either will open the game to more viewers around the country who are interested in not just HBCU games, but D2 in general. 
  • The CIAA and HBCUGO signed a 10-year contract to stream sports, including football. 

Crossover play is upon us.  Let’s dive in a little more. Keep in mind that the CIAA North squads have at least one win at this point the season, for the first time in as far back as I can recall.

Game of the Week: Bluefield State (1-1) at Johnson C Smith (1-1). Both teams beat up on a hapless opponent, before being knocked back to reality.  This game has become a bit of a rivalry, with Bluefield winning the last two games.  Expect a fireworks show on offense.  The difference will come down to who can force more turnovers. Advantage: Bluefield State

Elizabeth City State (1-1) at Winston-Salem State (0-2): ECSU’s win against St. Augustine’s gives them a taste of the good life. That win came with a struggle, as the Vikings did not score until the fourth quarter and only passed for 23 yards.  WSSU faired betted against Ohio Dominican, jumping to a 7-0 lead before being swarmed.  WSSU’s run game is not very productive, but its still a more balanced team that ECSU.  ECSU’s defensive line could give WSSU some fits that could be the equalizer.  Nonetheless, I think special teams should make the difference for WSSU to pick up their first win.  Advantage: Winston-Salem State

Lincoln (PA) (1-1) at Fayetteville State (0-2): Lincoln’s 48 points scored in last week’s win over Post was the most it had scored in a single game since 2012.  Still, it has yet to make inroads against the top half of the conference.  FSU is still a dangerous 0-2 team by virtue of one of the tougher non-conference schedules played, and not to be counted out.  Last year was not a blowout, and I don’t expect one here either; nonetheless, FSU’s defense should put the Broncos over the top in this one.  Advantage: Fayetteville State

The following games represent a potential race to the bottom

Shaw (0-2) at Bowie State (1-1): Shaw is down bad right now. They have been able to move the ball, but costly turnovers and an underperforming run game is really hurting the Bears right now. Expect a slow moving game, as both teams do not run the ball well and are amongst the worst in the country in rushing (Shaw at 42 yards, Bowie at 38 yards). Bowie will need to cut down the turnovers, as their turnover margin of -2.5 percent is problematic.  Even with their woes, BSU is revenge minded after last year’s upset and are more than capable at getting into field goal range for points.  Advantage: Bowie State

Virginia State (2-0) at St. Augustine’s (0-2): In the “Say Something Nice” portion of the column, no one allows fewer passing yards in the country than St. Augustine’s.  VSU isn’t passing particularly well either, so the Falcons may have an easy go at it.  Still, St. Augustine’s is currently the conference’s worst performer on offense.  The Falcons are dead last in scoring average in the country and there’s just so much to figure out.  VSU is doing VSU things, and that includes finding ways grit out a win when needed.  Look out below in this game – it shouldn’t be close. Advantage: VSU

#18 Virginia Union (2-0) at Livingstone (0-2): There’s no love lost between these two clubs.  The problem right now is that Livingstone just doesn’t have the same skill level and depth that VUU possesses.  Livingstone’s offense is lining up against a really talented VUU defensive line that leads the conference in tackles for loss.  I’m not sure whether Livingstone’s defense will be able to contain the various weapons that VUU has either.  Advantage, VUU