1. ALABAMA A&M
Looking good enough to give Auburn trouble on Nov. 17.
2. ALABAMA STATE
RB Isaiah Crowell might be finding his groove. Uh oh.
3. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
At this point, Golden Lions might walk to a West title.
4. ALCORN STATE
Kings of Louisiana after wins over SU and Grambling.
5. JACKSON STATE
Looks like the Tigers’ ceiling might be third in the East.
Jaguars really need a homecoming win to stay positive.
7. TEXAS SOUTHERN
Tigers are allowing 42.8 points per game. Yikes!
8. PRAIRIE VIEW
Panthers finally on the board but a long way from fixed.
9. MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
Ready for the Battle of the Cellar against Grambling.
Might actually be underdogs against the Delta Devils.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Jackson State at Alabama State, 1 p.m.
Alcorn State at Alabama A&M, 1 p.m.
Grambling at Mississippi Valley State, 2 p.m.
Texas Southern at Southern, 5:30 p.m.
GAME OF THE WEEK
at Alabama State
1 p.m. Saturday
Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.
Alabama A&M’s smoking hot start has made the Bulldogs the favorites in the East, and this is a matchup of two teams who have the best chance to catch them. A loss would put JSU (2-2 SWAC) in a tough spot, while the Hornets (4-1 SWAC) are looking like contenders. Both teams have found their groove in the rushing game, as ASU’s Isaiah Crowell comes in off of two 100-yard games, and the Tigers accomplished the rare feat of having three players rush for 100 yards in last week’s loss to UAPB.
AROUND THE SWAC
- It was hard to come up with negatives from Alabama A&M’s 35-0 steamrolling of Mississippi Valley, but if there was a troubling moment, it was star running back Kaderius Lacey suffering an injury and leaving the game. Lacey returned and then left again, finishing with six carries. But coach Anthony Jones said Lacey’s light workload was just precautionary. “Kaderius is fine,” Jones said. “He just kind of bumped legs with (quarterback Deaunte Mason). Not being disrespectful, but at that stage we didn’t really need to risk any further injury with him.”
- Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell had his best game of the year Saturday, running for 149 yards and two touchdowns against Texas Southern. Crowell now leads the conference in rushing yards, and coach Reggie Barlow attributed Crowell’s emergence to his improved conditioning and knowledge of the offense since transferring in from Georgia this summer. Barlow said he has also inserted more plays to suit Crowell’s style, such as following a lead blocker like he often did at UGA. “We’re still running our offense, but we have added a couple of play that allow him to have success,” Barlow said.
- Prairie View’s 31-14 win over Grambling — the Panthers’ first of the year — was sparked by Johnta Hebert’s 75-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff. PVAMU coach Heishma Northern said it almost never happened. “Actually, this is the first game all year that we wanted to defer and kick off to them because of the wind and some other things,” Northern said. “The referees had a mix-up with the coin and we ended up receiving. We already had our kickoff team out there.”
- The divide between divisions is looking large, as the SWAC East has a cumulative record of 14-7 in league play while the West is 6-13. In head-to-head matchups, the East is 11-4.
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