The Bulldogs of South Carolina State had a very good weekend, and it didn't end with the final whistle in Saturday's 62-21 home conference win against Howard.
Once they learned of other scores across the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference landscape, players and coaches for SC State (6-3 overall, 4-2 in MEAC play) realized that winning out the season could mean a conference title.
Currently, with conference unbeaten Florida A&M ineligible for a championship or a postseason game, the Bulldogs could be outright MEAC champions.
SC State owns the tiebreaker against Bethune-Cookman, while North Carolina A&T owns the tiebreaker against SC State. All three teams are 4-2 entering this weekend.
A Bethune-Cookman win at NC A&T on Saturday, coupled with an SC State win at NC Central (4-6, 3-3 in MEAC), would have the Bulldogs atop the MEAC standings with just a road game at Norfolk State (4-6, 3-3) left on the schedule.
"We had a good game on Saturday for senior day," SC State head coach Buddy Pough said during Tuesday's MEAC coaches teleconference call. "It was a neat deal for our seniors, getting a chance to play most of those guys, getting as many of those guys on the field as we possibly could.
"It ended up being a good day for us. These guys (across the MEAC) beat up on each other this weekend in a way where it gave us a chance to at least get a piece of the conference lead back. We were really surprised that some of the things happened in a way that, as I was hearing the scores, realizing how that affected us."
NC A&T lost on the road at Morgan State, by a 22-16 score, while Bethune-Cookman lost 16-13 at Delaware State, and NC Central lost 38-21 at home against Norfolk State.
"It's good for the kids and for us coaches to know you've got at least some of your own destiny in your own hands," Pough said. "That's exciting for us again, to have an opportunity at this time of the year, in the latter part of the season to be in the race. That's always a good thing.
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"The motivational effect of that situation is so good that it should make our job easier for getting ready for this game with a good North Carolina Central team this Saturday."
Repeating this past Saturday's record performance against Howard might not be possible against NC Central. But, the fact that freshman quarterback Corey Fields passed for a program record 7 touchdowns, while senior wide receiver De'Montrez Burroughs hauled in a program record 5 touchdown receptions, shows promise that SC State could put up points in bunches in their final two road games.
The Howard Bison, leaving Orangeburg with a 1-9 record, 1-5 in conference play, noticed how the Bulldogs could turn up the intensity on the offense.
"It certainly is frustrating, at times, when you give up the big play in the pass game and you can't slow the other team down that way," Aaron Kelton, Howard's director of football operations and the interim coach for the Bison as of last week, said on Tuesday. "They (SC State) had two guys who had career days, you know, kudos to them.
"South Carolina State did a great job in their pass game. We played to the last play of the game, which was a good deal for us. But, also, we could see that they were playing really well on offense, being able to run the football and move it with the passing game."
Fields named National
Player of the Week
FUQUAY-VARINA, NC - South Carolina State quarterback Corey Fields was named BOXTOROW National Player of the Week on Tuesday, a day after being named the MEAC Rookie of the Week and the STATS FCS National Freshman of the Week.
Fields, a redshirt freshman from Hollywood, S.C. and Baptist Hill High School, completed 18 of 29 passes for 333 yards and seven touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 62-21 victory over Howard.
Fields will be highlighted on the nationally-syndicated sports talk show FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW w/ Donal Ware which airs on radio stations across the country including WVCD 790-AM/96.5-FM in the Orangeburg area.
BOXTOROW also airs on Satellite Radio on SiriusXM Channel 142 on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET.