Week 5 of HBCU football's regular season is near the midway point, but it's also when Homecoming season starts.
Homecoming is a hallmark of HBCU culture, where alums make their way back to campus for a week of community activities, celebrating, and of course, the football game.
Football is a game that evolves week to week as new teams and players emerge to challenge the rankings on their chase to the post-season.
HBCU Legends' featured football games across the conferences to watch this weekend.
Livingstone (1-3; 0-2 CIAA) vs. Bowie State (2-2; 1-1 CIAA)
Bowie State Homecoming
Bowie State is a well-balanced team with playmakers on both sides of the ball, contributing to their current success. Defensively, they are led by Keith Williams who has two interceptions to go along with 20 tackles on the season. On the defensive line, they've got Jordan Ellison with two sacks on the season that have caused a loss of 16 yards for opposing offenses.
They're also coming off their best game offensively, having 503 yards of total offense and scoring 36 points, led by Corey Johnson who had 11 yards. The Bulldogs currently touts the CIAA's second-ranked passing offense.
Livingstone is looking to bounce back against big opponent Bowie State and gain their first conference win of the season. The Blue Bears started with a win over Elizabeth City and have not found their footing since. The Blue Bears have vital pieces they need to put together to be effective.
There is potential with players like Lazarus Anderson, who had 115 yards of total offense with 99 passing and 16 rushing in the team's loss against Virginia State. On the other side of the ball, Jaden Echols has been having a productive season with 27 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss.
Kick-off is Oct. 1 at 2 PM ET, you can watch the game here.
Players to watch:
- Keith Williams (DB, Bowie State): Has two interceptions and 20 tackles on the season.
- Lazarus Anderson (QB, Livingstone): Has 115 yards of total offense with 99 passing yards and 16 rushing against Virginia State.
Benedict (4-0; 2-0 SIAC) vs. Fort Valley State (4-0; 1-0 SIAC)
Fort Valley State Homecoming
Benedict and Fort Valley State are among some of the only unbeaten HBCU teams as they go head-to-head in a homecoming matchup.
Benedict has the second-best offense in the conference averaging 34 points a game. At the helm is quarterback Eric Phoenix, who has completed 46 of 73 pass attempts for 562 yards and six touchdowns. On the ground, Noah Zaire-Scotland has been dominating with 322 yards and three touchdowns on the season so far. Benedict also leads the conference defensively, only holding their opponents to 8.50 points and 201.5 yards per game on the season. John Hannibal and Lane Bryant each have over 20 tackles, with 25 and 24, respectively, with each player having more than half of those tackles solo.
Fort Valley also has a gritty defense that allows 276.2 yards per game, ranking third in the conference in total defense. Tim Alderman has 17 tackles on the season, accompanied by four sacks that have resulted in a loss of 22 yards for offenses. Jaylen Brown is also a defensive weapon with 27 tackles and a sack that resulted in a 7-yard loss. Offensively, they have the SIAC's third-best offense, with quarterback Kelvin Brown throwing for 770 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Running back Emmanuel Wilson has contributed to Fort Valley's success rushing for 563 yards and five touchdowns.
Benedict has never beat Fort Valley at home.
Kickoff is 2 PM ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Players to watch:
- Noah Zaire-Scotland (RB, Benedict): Has amassed 322 yards and three touchdowns on the season so far.
- Tim Alderman (DE, FVSU): Has four sacks that has resulted in a loss of 22 yards and 17 total tackles.
North Carolina Central (4-0; 0-0 MEAC) vs. Campbell (1-2; 0-0 Big South)
The Week 5 game will be the first meeting between North Carolina Central and Campbell.
North Carolina Central has had a solid start to the season, beating in-state rival North Carolina A&T in the season opener and remaining perfect ever since. The Eagles are No. 1 in the MEAC in scoring defense and total defense, allowing 13.5 points and 259.8 yards per game, led by Khalil Baker has four interceptions obtaining one in each game. Offensively, they lead the conference averaging 43.2 points per game, led by Davius Richard passing for 755 yards and seven touchdowns and rushing for 249 yards and five touchdowns.
Campbell is looking for their first win against the undefeated North Carolina Central Eagles at home. Led by Hajj-Malik Williams, who has completed 59 percent of his passes, 220.3 yards per game, and three touchdowns. Defensively, CJ Tillman has a team-high 16 tackles, a forced fumble, and a forced fumble recovery.
Kickoff is at 12:00 PM ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Players to watch:
- Khalil Baker (DB, NCCU): Has recorded an interception in each game this season.
- Hajj-Malik Williams (QB, Campbell): Completed 59 percent of his passes, averages 220.3 yards per game and has thrown three touchdowns.
Alabama State (2-2; 0-1 SWAC) vs. Texas Southern (1-3; 1-1 SWAC)
Texas Southern plays at home for the first time this season against Coach Eddie Robinson Jr. and the Alabama State Hornets. Alabama State has won 9 of the last ten games over the Tigers.
The Tigers' offense is led by quarterback Andrew Body who has 708 yards and four touchdowns, completing 59 percent of his passes. TSU has third-ranked receiver Derek Morton, who leads with 291 receiving yards and one touchdown this season.
Defensively, they've got three players with over 20 total tackles on the season, including Demontario Anderson, who has a sack and quarterback hurry.
Alabama State is coming off back-to-back losses and looking to bounce back on the road to win. The Hornets must take care of the ball better, having four turnovers against Prairie View A&M.
ASU will have to lean on running back Jacory Merrit-Croskey with 152 yards and one touchdown this season. La'Vontae Shenault leads the receivers with 193 yards. Defensively, three Hornets have over 20 tackles, including Colton Adams, who has 36 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. and the game will broadcast on AT&T Sportsnet.
Players to watch:
- Demontario Anderson (DE, TXSO): Has 23 tackles on the season with one sack and tackle for loss.
- Colton Adams (DE, ASU): Has 36 tackles on the season and 3.5 sacks.
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