Despite the tropical storm rains brought in from the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, SC State football and Bulldogs head coach Buddy Pough couldn't have asked for a much better weekend.
A 24-10 homecoming win against conference foe Morgan State secured the Bulldogs a 4-2 record, including a 2-1 record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings. The victory also gave Pough the all-time wins record, with 129 victories, at the helm of the Bulldogs' program.
"We didn't turn the ball over all game, ...and our defensive front was outstanding on Saturday against Morgan," Pough said Monday. "We had a (redshirt) freshman quarterback (Corey Fields) out there and he played well enough for us to win the football game.
"Getting the record on Saturday was great. If there was one negative to it all, it's that we had a pretty sparse crowd. But, what can you expect when you play at 10:30 in the morning and it's raining."
If that was the main course for the weekend, the sweet dessert came on Sunday, when Florida A&M won 34-31 in overtime against defending MEAC champion North Carolina A&T.
Not only are the Bulldogs still fully in the race for the MEAC championship and a trip to the Celebration Bowl this season - with FAMU not eligible to win the title, but SC State now plays at the last unbeaten conference team with a chance to win the title. This Saturday's game at Bethune-Cookman (6-1 overall, 4-0 in MEAC) will determine a lot in the conference race.
And a win for the Bulldogs in Daytona Beach would have them at home on Saturday, Nov. 2 hosting N.C. A&T, with the chance to be in the driver's seat in the MEAC standings.
"It's Bethune's homecoming, and they tell me it's all but sold out," Pough said. "We are trying to find tickets any kind of way we can.
"That's a good thing with a crowd coming in for that game. What I'm really looking forward to is us going down there and trying to beat Bethune. It would be great to come back home and play A&T with us still in the race that way. We are now about the task of staying in this conference race. We want to win it all."
Starting redshirt junior quarterback Tyrece Nick, who didn't suit up for the Morgan State game while in concussion protocol, will possibly be able to practice some this week and be available for the game against the Wildcats.
"We like to think that we can play with the top teams in our league," Pough said. "And there's nothing else to distract us."
Bulldogs earn MEAC
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NORFOLK, Va. – South Carolina State defensive tackle Tyrell Goodwin was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Defensive Player of the Week, while senior offensive lineman Alex Taylor earned Offensive Lineman of the Week honors the league announced Monday.
Goodwin (DL, 6-0, 265, Sr., Columbia) led the Bulldogs defense with seven total tackles in a 24-10 win over Morgan State on Saturday. He was a force in the backfield, racking up four tackles for a loss of 22 yards and three sacks for a loss of 19 yards.
Taylor (OL, 6-9, 310, Redshirt Sr., Moncks Corner) graded out at 94 percent and spearheaded a Bulldogs offense that amassed 333 yards of total offense, including 198 yards rushing. He didn’t yield any sacks and recorded four pancake blocks with no penalties in the win over Morgan State.
This is Taylor’s third Offense Lineman of the Week honor by the MEAC this season.
Other’s earning honors were Bethune-Cookman quarterback Akevious Williams as Offensive Player of the Week, Norfolk State freshman tailback Kevin Johnson as Rookie of the Week, and Florida A&M kicker Chris Faddoul as Specialist of the Week.
OTHER TOP MEAC PERFORMERS:
Graduate student Cliff Benjamin, Jr. (SCSU) posted eight punts for 333 yards, averaging 41.6 yards per punt with two inside the 20 and one touchback against Morgan State. Benjamin played at nearby Lake Marion High School.
LaBron Morris (SCSU) led the Bulldogs in rushing with 125 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown against Morgan State.
Marquis Ford (B-CU), Xavier McDonald (B-CU), Corahn Alleyne (DSU), Bryant Dallas (DSU), Terry Jefferson (FAMU), Xavier Smith (FAMU), and Rico Kennedy (MSU) who collected a game-high 12 tackles, including nine solo tackles in the loss at South Carolina State.
FAMU jumps to No. 1; SCSU No. 6
And with the FAMU 34-31 overtime victory in Tallahassee on Sunday, the Rattlers now sit atop both the BOXTOROW Coaches and Media Polls. It is the first time FAMU has ever been atop either poll.
In the coaches poll, the Aggies and the Rattlers flip-flopped spots, with the Aggies coming in at No. 4. The Rattlers and No. 2 Bethune-Cookman each received nine first-place votes. The Aggies and No. 3 Alcorn State each received a first-place vote. Bethune-Cookman, Alcorn State and No. 5 Southern retained their spots, as did South Carolina State at No. 6.
In the media poll, the Rattlers received less first-place votes (six) than No. 2 Alcorn State (nine). No. 3 Bethune-Cookman received the other two. No. 5 Bowie State remains undefeated and continues to move up, trading places with now-No. 6 S.C. State.