Christmas Sports Report

TSU Senior Guard Marcus Roper

TSU Senior Guard Marcus Roper

Titans destined for another number one draft pick.
The Tennessee Titans lost 33-16 at New England Sunday, faring much better than the last time, when they lost 59-0 to the Patriots. The Titans (3-11) host the AFC South leading Houston Texans (7-7) Sunday for their final home game, and then finish the season at Indianapolis (currently 6-8) on Jan. 3. Each game is at 12 Noon CST and airs live on CBS, locally NewsChannel 5 in Nashville.

TSU men’s basketball off to 9-2 start
Senior Marcus Roper scored a season-high 26 points off the bench to help the Tennessee State men’s basketball team defeat Alcorn State 81-76 last Saturday. The Tigers improved to 9-2 with their seventh-consecutive victory. The nine non-conference regular season victories are the most for TSU at the Division I level since joining the Ohio Valley Conference prior to the 1987-88 season. The next Tigers home games are Jan. 9th (SIU-E), 14th (Austin Peay), and 16th (Murray State). Each game is at approximately 7:30, following a 5:30 pm Lady Tigers (5-6) women’s basketball game as part of an OVC doubleheader against teams from the same schools as the men’s team faces, at Gentry Center.

SWAC and MEAC champions meet in Celebration Bowl
The inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl was played on Saturday, Dec. 19, and televised on ABC from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game pitted North Carolina A&T, the champions from the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) and Alcorn State, the SWAC champions (Southwestern Athletic Conference) in what winning North Carolina A&T coach Rod Broadway calls the “black college national championship” since both conferences are comprised of HBCUs. NCA&T won in a thriller 41-34.
Alcorn State (9-4, 7-2 SWAC) earned its berth by defeating Grambling State 49-21 in the SWAC championship game Dec. 5 with 40,352 in attendance at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. North Carolina A&T (10-2, 7-1) won a three-way tiebreaker with Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central atop the MEAC. The Celebration Bowl is the first attempt at reviving a MEAC-SWAC postseason game since 1999, but a welcome one for the two leagues, who don’t have automatic bids to the FCS playoffs. Saturday’s game was the third attempt at a MEAC-SWAC bowl — The Pelican Bowl in 1972, 1974 and 1975, and The Heritage Bowl from 1991 – 1999.

Jacksonville State in the FCS Championship game
Speaking of the FCS playoffs, Troymaine Pope ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns to punch Jacksonville State’s ticket to the FCS Championship game, leading the Gamecocks (13-1) in a 62-10 drubbing of Sam Houston State on Saturday. JSU will play in the FCS Championship January 9 in Frisco, Texas against four-time defending champion North Dakota State. The NDSU Bison (12-2) rolled to a 33-7 victory over Richmond in a semifinal game last Friday night before more than 18,000 roaring fans.