Here are 5 games to watch this Saturday

The HBCU football season enters its third week, continuing to produce interesting matchups that deserve fans’ attention.

Most notably, in the CIAA, teams begin their path to championship contention as this will be the first week of all conference play.

Elsewhere, a number of teams will make their conference debuts and we see a rematch of what was a Game of the Year contender last season.

Here are the five games to watch in week three of the HBCU football season.

1. Grambling State at Jackson State

In their first home game of the season, the Jackson State Tigers put their undefeated record on the line when they welcomed Hue Jackson and the Grambling State Tigers.

This is the first time these two teams will face each other since Jackson State beat Grambling 33-28 in the 2021 spring season.

Both teams come into this game on the back of non-conference wins. Jackson State defeated Tennessee State at Southern Heritage, while Grambling State beat Northwestern State 47-21 in Shreveport, La.

Despite the fact that Grambling and Jackson State are members of the Southwest Athletic Conference, Saturday’s contest will not count toward the conference standings. It will officially be considered a non-conference matchup.

GSU’s offense will have its hands full against a defense that has allowed just six points in its first two outings. Meanwhile, this is the first time Grambling’s defense has faced JSU’s high-powered offense, led by quarterback Shedeur Sanders.

2. Texas Southern at Southern

Photo: MyArlingtonTexas

The SWAC West favorite Southern Jaguars look to start their conference schedule with a bang when they host the Tigers of Texas Southern.

Not only is this season the Southern SWAC debut, it’s the Jags’ first game against an FCS opponent since playing Florida Memorial in their opener and against LSU on the road last week.

Although Texas Southern hasn’t gotten into the win column, the Tigers got great output from their offense in TSU’s previous game against North Texas, recording 458 total yards of offense.

Quarterback Andrew Boddy shined, throwing for 239 passing yards on 19-of-29 passing, scoring a touchdown, while adding 45 yards rushing.

The body will have its hands full with a loaded southpaw defense. He’ll have to contend with top pass rushers Jordan Lewis and Jason Dumas and the latter, who recorded two interceptions against LSU, including one that was returned 94 yards for a touchdown.

3. Hampton in Norfolk

Norfolk State Football
Photo: NSU Athletics

In a rematch of their classic meeting from last season, bitter rivals Hampton and Norfolk State square off in the Battle of the Bay.

Last year, these two played in an overtime thriller that ended with the Spartans winning 47-44 on the road. There were over 1,000 yards of total offense gained in the game, with each team combining for 11 offensive touchdowns.

Both teams enter this outing with different quarterbacks (Juwan Carter and Jett Duffy) who have accounted for nine of the game’s 11 total touchdowns. However, there are still a number of playmakers for fans to keep an eye on on both sides.

Among them are Hampton receivers Jadakis Bonds and Romon Copeland along with running backs Darran Butts and Elijah. The Spartans, on the other hand, will be out linebacker Marquis Hall as well as defensive backs Brandon Savage and RJ Coles.

4. Bowie State at Shaw

The defending CIAA champion Bowie State Bulldogs make their conference debut when they hit the road to take on the Shaw Bears.

Bowie State is currently on an 18-game conference winning streak (not including their three CIAA Championship wins). However, Shaw came very close to ending that streak in their last meeting in which the Bulldogs won 26-21.

In a game two weeks into the 2019 season, Shaw led 21-12 on its home court with three minutes left in the game.

Bowie State scored on a fumble return to make it a one-score game, then sealed the victory on a five-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left to seal the victory.

Shaw will look to end the Bulldogs’ long winning streak while securing their first win of the season in the process.

5. Livingston at Virginia Union

Coming off a historic win over the Valdosta State Blazers, the Virginia State Trojans look to keep their momentum going as they begin their CIAA schedule against the Livingston Blue Bears.

All eyes will be on Panthers running back Jada Byers, who played a huge role in her team’s victory last weekend. Byers set a CIAA record against the Blazers by rushing for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

However, he is not guaranteed to have a similar performance in this game, as he faces a Livingston team that is coming off a solid game against the Elizabeth City State Vikings.

The Blue Bears outscored the Vikings 19-0, with the defense shining, forcing four fumbles, including three fumbles. If they are able to have similar defensive production in this matchup with the Panthers, it could make for a fun, competitive game.

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