HBCU Legends 'Game of the Week': MEAC/SWAC Challenge

HBCU Legends Game of the Week preview and update for MEAC/SWAC Challenge football game scheduled on Aug. 28.
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HBCU Legends Game of the Week preview and update for MEAC/SWAC Challenge football game scheduled on Aug. 28.

MEAC/SWAC CHALLENGE 2021

The kick-off game for the major conference HBCUs will be on Saturday, Aug. 28.  ESPN will broadcast the Cricket MEAC/SWAC between North Carolina Central University (MEAC) and Alcorn State University (SWAC) at 7 PM ET from Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, GA.

ESPN's College GameDay and Good Morning America covered the game yesterday morning for today's matchup.  

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THE GAME

Alcorn State University "Braves" vs. North Carolina Central University "Eagles"

GAME FYI

644 days... That's how long it will be between games for NCCU when the Eagles take the field on Saturday against Alcorn State in the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
• This will be NCCU's and Alcorn State's second appearance in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. NCCU suffered a 40-24 defeat to Prairie View A&M in 2018, while the Braves' contest at Bethune-Cookman was suspended in the second quarter due to weather conditions.
• Alcorn State has won all five meetings with the NCCU Eagles between 1970-76. The last match-up was on Sept. 25, 1976, a 23-17 home victory by the Braves.

THE KICKOFF

Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 – Kickoff at 7 PM ET

THE VENUE

Center Parc Stadium (24,333 capacity/FieldTurf) - Atlanta, GA

Originally built for the 1996 Summer Olympics as Centennial Olympic Stadium.  The stadium currently serves as the home field for the Georgia State University football team.

THE EVENT

The 16th edition of the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge will air live on ESPN, while ESPN's College GameDay Built by the Home Depot pregame show will broadcast live from outside Center Parc Stadium from 9 AM-12 PM. 

The MEAC holds a 10-4 record in the event. 

HOW TO WATCH & LISTEN

  • TV/Video: ESPN (live). Booth: Mark Jones, Jay Walker, Robert Griffin III. Sidelines: Tiffany Greene, Quint Kessenich.
  • Audio: NCCU Sports Network at NCCUEaglePride.com (internet stream). Jonathan Duren (play-by-play).

THE TEAMS

Team Facts

THE RECORDS
2019: N.C. Central (4-8 overall, 3-5 MEAC); Alcorn State (9-4, 6-1 SWAC)
Note: Neither program played during the 2020-21 season.

This will be the sixth meeting between the Eagles and Braves, with Alcorn State winning all five previous match-ups, which were held between 1970-76.

  • 9/25/1976 - Alcorn State 23, NCCU 17 (Lorman, Miss.)
  • 9/27/1975 - Alcorn State 54, NCCU 7 (Durham, N.C.)
  • 9/28/1974 - Alcorn State 14, NCCU 12 (Lorman, Miss.)
  • 9/22/1973 - Alcorn State 10, NCCU 8 (Durham, N.C.)
  • 9/26/1970 - Alcorn State 27, NCCU 0 (neutral site)
Alcorn

ALCORN BRAVES (SWAC)

  • The two HBCU teams return to action after Alcorn State was the 2019 SWAC Champions but opted-out of last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   
  • The Braves' head coach Fred McNair want to keep his stranglehold on the SWAC with his program winning the conference seven times in eight seasons.
  • Although Alcorn received top preseason honors to win SWAC's Western division in 2021, the Braves did not have a single player voted to the "Preseason All-SWAC Football" in 2021.
NCCU Eagles

NC CENTRAL EAGLES (MEAC)

  • NCCU's head coach Trei Oliver features offensive linemen Robert Mitchell and running back Isaiah Totten on offense will be led by quarterback Davius Richard.   
  • The Eagles look to return to prominence in the MEAC this season when could only notch four victories and nine losses in 2019.
  • Eight NCCU Eagles were named to the 2021 Preseason All-MEAC Football Teams. NCCU senior running back Isaiah Totten, senior defensive back Stephen Stokes and sophomore return specialist Brandon Codrington were voted to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team, while senior offensive lineman Robert Mitchell, sophomore offensive lineman Corey Bullock, junior defensive lineman Jessie Malit, sophomore defensive back Manny Smith, and sophomore placekicker Adrian Olivo were selected to the Preseason All-MEAC Second Team.

THE COACHES

NCCU: Trei Oliver (N.C. Central, 1998) is in his second season as a college head coach. With 22 years of college coaching experience that includes five conference championships and three black college football national titles, Oliver returned to his alma mater as North Carolina Central University's 24th head football coach in December 2018. A native of Yorktown, Virginia, Oliver earned all-conference and all-region honors as a defensive back and punter during his four-year playing career at NCCU from 1994-97. The 1998 graduate later returned to NCCU as an assistant coach from 2003-06, helping the Eagles to back-to-back Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championships in 2005 and 2006.

Fred Air McNair

Alcorn State: In four seasons, Fred "Air" McNair (Alcorn State, 1992) has coached the Braves to four SWAC East Division titles and a pair of SWAC Championships. The two-time SWAC Coach of the Year winner brought the Braves to the Celebration Bowl in both 2018 and 2019. He is the original "Air McNair" and the older brother of the late Tennessee Titans quarterback and 2003 Co-Most Valuable Player, Steve "Air II" McNair. McNair hoists a 22-8 SWAC record after four seasons, and 30-19 overall. He became the first SWAC Coach of the Year winner at Alcorn since Cardell Jones in 1992.

Information on the teams provided the SWAC and MEAC.


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