THE RATING GAME
1. ALABAMA STATE
With four SWAC games to go, Hornets haven’t lost. Wow.
2. JACKSON STATE
Tigers look good now. Too bad it doesn’t count for much.
3. PRAIRIE VIEW
Panthers won four of their past five. Well done, Mr. Northern.
4. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
Lions have lost two straight. Think it’ll be three after SU?
5. ALABAMA A&M
Yes, the team lost at SU. Since then, A&M won four straight.
Oh ... if the offense ever played a great game from start to end.
7. TEXAS SOUTHERN
Tigers might be dangerous if they can execute a punt. Yikes.
After open date, Tigers have a cake walk vs. Concordia.
9. ALCORN STATE
Braves have second straight open date. Odd, but needed.
10. MISS. VALLEY STATE
Still searching ... and searching - Devils are on 16-game slide.?
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
at Alabama A&M, 6:30 p.m.
at Alabama State, 1 p.m.
at Mississippi Valley State, 2 p.m.
at Grambling, 4 p.m.
at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 6 p.m.
GAME OF THE WEEK
at Alabama State
1 p.m. Saturday
Check this out: It’s a matchup of the two division leaders. Alabama State has a perfect record in Southwestern Athletic Conference play, while Prairie View has won four of its past five games. ... The Hornets have done a nice job in all phases: they rank third in the SWAC in scoring offense and scoring defense. Wide receiver Nick Andrews leads the league with 45 catches, 651 yards and eight touchdowns. ... The Panthers are a SWAC-best 20-for-22 in the red zone, scoring 13 touchdowns and seven field goals. They were 3-for-3 last week against Southern.
AROUND THE SWAC
• Two weeks ago, Texas Southern botched a handful of first-half punts that turned a scoreless game into a 58-13 laugher. Last week against Alabama State, the Tigers had two more high snaps, helping the Hornets prevail 43-29. “We had to play a near-perfect ballgame to overcome those woes,” interim coach Kevin Ramsey said. “But special teams is crucial for us, and we’ll keep making adjustments until we get it fixed.”
• Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones said that in a way, the Bulldogs’ stunning 21-6 loss at Southern on Sept. 10 might have been a blessing. Since then, A&M has won four straight games. “I think that was kind of an eye-opener for us,” Jones said. “I think the guys started to understand what I meant by focusing all the time.”
• Coming off an open date, Grambling will look to snap a four-game slide with homecoming against Concordia on Saturday. If any good news came out of the first five weeks, Doug Williams, said, it was the emergence of running back Dawrence Roberts. The sophomore has 378 yards on 56 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per attempt. So is Roberts the clear-cut starter? “As of right now, it’s his (job) to lose,” Williams said. “He can give it away if he wants to, but right now, it’s his.”
• Don’t be mistaken: Jackson State is still a pass-happy group, and Casey Therriault leads the SWAC with 1,789 yards and 13 touchdown passes (along with a league-high 12 interceptions). But the Tigers also have developed a run game, with three players - Tommy Gooden, B.J. Lee and Rakeem Sims - sharing the load. Together, they have run for 644 yards on 114 carries, an average of 5.6 yards per attempt.