SWAC Championship a True Championship Game
A record-setting 95-yard touchdown pass from Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Benjamin Anderson to Willie Young with two minutes left in regulation forced overtime, and the Lions came from two touchdowns behind to beat Jackson State 24-2 in the Toyota SWAC championship game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday, December 8. It was the first SWAC title for UAPB (10-2) since 1966. TSU beat both teams on the field in September.
Tyler Strickland’s 26-yard field goal in overtime capped off 17 unanswered points for UAPB, who had trailed 21-7 in the first half. Jackson State (7-5) had the ball first in overtime, but Ryan Deising’s 43-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Jackson State led 21-14 at halftime. Clayton Moore threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Rico Richardson and rushed for another score. Moore was hit from behind by linebacker Xavier Lofton, linebacker Bill Ross scooped up the fumble and raced 73 yards for a touchdown with four seconds left in the half.
JSU scored first on a 40-yard touchdown strike from Moore to Rico Richardson and five minutes later, Rakeen Sims broke loose for a 37-yard touchdown run to give JSU a 14-0 lead. UAPB cut the lead in half on a 1-yard plunge on the first play of the second quarter. But, Moore gave the Tigers a 14-point lead with a 1-yard run with 2:29 left in the half.
Winston-Salem State in Division II Championship Game
Undefeated CIAA and Super Region I champ Winston-Salem State gave up a touchdown in the first 20 seconds of the game but not much else as they rolled over West Texas A&M, 41-18 to advance to the NCAA Div. II championship game Saturday, December 15 in Florence, Alabama. Head coach Connell Maynor and WSSU (14-0) face Valdosta State (11-2), a 35-19 winner over Minnesota-Mankato in the other Div. II semifinal game. WSSU is the first black college team to make it to the NCAA Div. II title game since Billy Joe’s Central State Marauders played in the 1983 final.
TSU to play Central State, Bethune Cookman, and Jackson State in 2013?
While the 2013 football schedule has not yet been finalized or released, some things are being circulated about which HBCU teams the TSU Tigers will face in the fall. Various sources confirm three September Saturday Classic matchups. The Tigers will host the Bethune Cookman University Wildcats in the John Merritt Classic Labor Day weekend; and they face the Jackson State Tigers in Memphis for the Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 14. From the Gateway Classic Foundation website: “2013 marks the 20 year anniversary for the St. Louis Gateway Football Classic and the beginning of new traditions. Two highly anticipated collegiate teams that will join us for 2013 are Tennessee State University and Central State University. The 2013 Gateway Football Classic will be held in the Edward Jones Dome on September 28, 2013 at 2pm.”