2012 MEAC/SWAC Challenge: Bethune-Cookman University vs. Alabama State

Recently dismissed runningback Isaiah Crowell has found a home with Alabama State, but his first game as a Hornet will be the MEAC/SWAC challenge. MEAC has owned this challenge but can Isaiah Crowell help the tables turn? Make sure you check out what players to watch for.

The eighth instalment of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney features Bethune-Cookman of the MEAC against Isaiah Crowell and his newest team Alabama State of the SWAC. The game will be held Sunday, Sept. 2, at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando (noon ET on ESPN). The yearly event features teams from two prominent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Conferences. The game marks the first time that one school, Bethune-Cookman, which beat Prairie View 63-14 in 2011, has appeared in back-to-back years. Alabama State (led by Coach Reggie Barlow) returns having last played in the event in 2005.

Since 2005, when ASU coach Reggie Barlow played for the team he is now coaching, the MEAC conference has dominated the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. MEAC has won 5 of the last 7 meetings. Here is a look at the past MEAC/SWAC Challenges were several NFL Prospects have had the opportunity to play. Players like Adrian Hamilton (PVAMU) and Ryan Davis (B-CU) both played the game last season, and I will compile a list of players that you should keep an for this year’s game presented by Disney.

Year

MEAC Team

SWAC Team

Attendance

Location

2005

*SC State-27

Alabama State-14

18,452

Birmingham

2006

*Hampton Univ-27

Grambling-26

19,175

Birmingham

2007

Florida A&M-27

*Southern Univ-33

30,106

Birmingham

2008

*Hampton Univ-17

Jackson State-13

10,723

Orlando

2009

*SC State-34

Grambling-31

21,367

Orlando

2010

Delaware State-27

*Southern Univ-37

16,327

Orlando

2011

*Bethune-Cookman-63

Prairie View-14

17,337

Orlando

2012

Bethune-Cookman

Alabama State

N/A

Orlando

Who will win the 2012 MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney? Alabama State or Bethune-Cookman?

Bethune-Cookman’s offense is something serious this year, led by Junior quarterback Jackie Wilson, who was pretty accurate in the games he did start last season. The running game will be a two headed monster this year with junior Isidore Jackson and senior Rodney Scott (Mississippi Transfer). These running backs should be nicknamed "Thunder and Lightning" because Jackson is a bigger back who has tons of lower body power and will put his head into you, while Scott is a cutting back, who has the speed to take it to the house on any play, so watch out for them in 2012. When you go to the wide receivers, get ready for another big unit for the Wildcats, 2 Rutgers senior transfers are on the roster in K.J. Stroud and Eddie Poole and let’s not forget Maurice Francois who is also a senior this year. All three have good size, and good hands, I am a big fan of Eddie Poole, who is 6’3 and was the leading receiver for the B-CU offense last season. The Offensive line has a few big hogs who love to open some holes, Marquell Rozier, Terrance Hackney and Alex Monroe will all be very good this year on the line. On the defensive side of the ball, big Anthony Woodard will be a guy who has some big shoes to fill in Ryan Davis who is currently on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster. The senior Woodard has good size and moves, he was able to accrue 3.5 sacks last year, and will need a big year to keep this defense improving. Harold Love III is a big boy on the B-CU line, and is very good clogging the middle of the field. He has a good motor and can create problems for opposing team’s interior line. Linebacker Jarkevis Fields is a special player, and is a tackling machine. He should be the leading tackler this year for the Wildcats defense. C.J Wilson who is the son of former NFL player Charles Wilson and his brother DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson a few years ago is a kid that will continue to get better. I like Wilson and I highly doubt he will be a guy that is targeted a lot this season, because he has the potential to take one to the house.

While everyone thinks I will talk about Isaiah Crowell first, I think I will pass and talk about the defensive first, who I think is a very solid group. The defensive backs are a special unit, with KeJuan Riley at Safety, who I believe is a draftable player. It will depend on his play this year, but I can see the senior defensive back getting a flier in the late rounds as a player that can play both Safety spots. Saeed Lee, the cornerback is another one that is not afraid to jump a route. He does a very good job at breaking up the passes and getting his hands up. He led the team with pass break ups last year, and will be looking to keep on pace this year. The Defensive line will miss big Kyjee Cotton from last year, but they do have Carlton Jones and Ray Heningburg returning, who were both a problem for opposing signal callers last year. Both are very strong individuals who have good speed and power. The linebacker unit is a pretty good one, with guys like Brandon Slater, Leland Baker, and Demarques Taylor all will be expected to have a huge year this year at ASU. Demarques Taylor is one of the guys that I like a lot on the defense. He is a very hard hitter and does a good job at getting to the point of attack. When we go to the offense you have to start with the running ability of Dade County quarterback Greg Jenkins. Jenkins is a dual threat QB, who is pretty accurate, last year he was awesome for the Hornets. With his favorite target Nick Andrews leaving as a senior last year, look for Landon Jones the senior wide out to step up. He has good size and is very capable of putting up huge numbers in the Alabama State offense. Up front people say that the Isaiah Crowell will not be able to rush the way he was able to do at Georgia, but oh contraire BIG TERREN JONES is here. At 6’7, 320 pounds, big Terren Jones is another player that I can see getting drafted in the later rounds. Jones is such a special kid, with great movement and good footwork. His punch is good, and I am sure he would love to pave a way for the explosive new running back. I can see sophomore Isaiah Crowell getting tons of yards off the left side this year, because Jones will make sure that there is a clean lane in front of him. Don’t get me wrong, having Isaiah Crowell is going to be a great feeling for the ASU team, but there was a team here before he came. They finished the season last year at 8-3 and they will be ready to make that a perfect season, so get your popcorn ready.

This game is going to be very good, so if you are in the Orlando, Florida area around September 2nd, 2012, make sure you stop in to the Florida Citrus Bowl and watch these two teams clash. If you can’t make it to sunny Florida, at least you will be able to catch the game on ESPN, this year. I encourage every football fan to watch this game, because there is nothing better than a good HBCU classic game to start the season off.

Make sure you follow me on twitter @drocksthaparty for more information on the HBCU and small schoolers.

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