October 19th, 2023 12:00pm
With division races tightening up, there's alot to discuss. Lets talk about it.
Game of the Week: Johnson C Smith (4-1, 5-2) at Fayetteville State (5-0, 5-2): In a game where both mascots are capable of stampeding, both offenses go into Saturday stumbling. JCSU has only managed a total of 24 points in the last two games, and FSU is slightly better at 26 points. Its gets even more interesting given that JCSU leads the conference in total defense, and both schools are top three in the conference in scoring defense. In a game like this, one cant help but wonder if JCSU can rise to the occasion to not only challenge JCSU but close out the game in a way that Livingstone and Lincoln could not. Its hard to see that happening, especially given how FSU has been rather resilient over the current five game winning streak. A JCSU win throws the southern division race into disarray, while a FSU win solidifies the Broncos' grip on the division crown yet again. Advantage: FSU, but you may fall asleep if you’re expecting a high scoring affair.
Lincoln PA (3-2, 4-3) at #20 Virginia Union (4-1, 6-1): Another fun game looms for the Lincoln Lions, having won more games in a single season since joining the Division II ranks. VUU still leads the country in passing yards allowed, but has been susceptible to the pass game. VUU’s defensive line is tops in the country, and could pose significant problems for the pass game. Here, Lincoln has an offense that can exploit that weakness. But, is it enough to keep up with a full strength Jada Byers and company? I don’t think so. Advantage: VUU
Shaw (2-3, 2-5) at Livingstone (2-3, 2-5): One teams is trending up, the one sinking towards the ocean bottom. Livingstone has really stepped up lately, and looks poised to continue their march to a possible .500 season. Both teams have serviceable passing attacks, but the Blue Bears just seem to have a little more of an edge on offensive production when compared to the plain ol’ Bears. One item for Shaw is just the lack of offensive stability, especially at the quarterback position. Advantage: Livingstone
Bowie State (2-3, 3-4) at Bluefield State (0-5, 1-6): This game feels like an upset special given Bowie State’s offensive struggles. Neither team passes the ball well, but Bowie State’s commitment to the run just feels like watching someone running through quicksand – slow moving and sinking. Bluefield State does have a passing attack that could challenge the Bulldogs’ defense. Here, it just feels like a mild upset is coming. Advantage: Bluefield State
St. Augustine’s (0-5, 0-7) at Winston-Salem State (3-2, 3-4): This game won’t be as easy for the victors as the records indicate given how stingy SAU’s defense has been lately. Its offense has had rather meager results. WSSU’s RJ Mobley has scored a touchdown in the last five games. The Rams offense is average 25 points a game, and is the best scoring average in a season (so far) since its 6-4 campaign in 2017. If SAU wants to get their first win, they could do so by finding success against the porous WSSU pass defense. The Rams are dead last in passing yards allowed in the conference. Advantage: WSSU
Elizabeth City State (0-5, 1-6) at #24 Virginia State (5-0, 7-0): ECSU is a team that’s better than its 1-6 record indicates, having three losses decided by 8 points or less. Still, an upset is a tall order against a VSU team that has many weapons on both sides of the ball. ECSU has thrown 15 interceptions so far this year, and VSU is second in the conference in interceptions with 10. Plus, ECSU may end up being one dimensional on offense against the VSU defense, and a one-dimensional ECSU reliant on the passing game is a bad omen. On the other side, ECSU’s defensive line may be enough to slow down VSU’s rushing attack. Special teams certainly favors VSU, as returners like Roy Jackson III have been dangerous setting up favorable field position for the Trojans. Advantage: VSU