North Carolina A&T Defeats Alcorn State 24-22 to Win Second Straight Celebration Bowl

ATLANTA, GA – North Carolina A&T quarterback Lamar Raynard passed for 292 yards and two scores to lift the Aggies to a 24-22 win over Alcorn State in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Saturday before a crowd of 31,672 at Mercedes Benz Stadium and a national ABC television audience.

The Aggie win gave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) a 3-1 advantage in the bowl, which annually pits the MEAC champion against the winner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The victory also gave NC A&T back-to-back wins in the event and its third triumph in three appearances in the four-year old bowl.
The 11th ranked Aggies and first-year head coach Sam Washington, finished the campaign at 10-2 and will claim their second straight National Black College Championship and their third title in four seasons.

Saturday’s contest was a rematch of the 2015 inaugural Celebration Bowl in which the Aggies defeated the Braves 41-34 behind a 295-yard rushing, three touchdown performance by running back Tarik Cohen, in his second season with the Chicago Bears.

Raynard, a 6-4, 195 redshirt senior out of High Point, NC, connected on 18-30 attempts, with one interception, in the game and had scoring tosses of 17 yards to Zachary Leslie on the game’s opening drive, staking his team to a 7-0 lead and 27 yards to Elijah Bell with less than a minute left in the half for a 17-3 Aggie edge.

It was Raynard’s best passing performance of the season, and NC A&T needed it as the Aggies were limited to just 38 net yards rushing in 31 attempts for 324 total yards in the contest.
Noel Ruiz added a 36-yard field goal and Malik Wilson returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to round out the Aggie scoring.

The Braves, despite the loss, rolled up 451 yards total offense, including 328 yards on the ground. Alcorn quarterback Noah Johnson completed 12-21 passes for 123 yards, while suffering one interception. De’Shawn Waller led the Alcorn running attack with 167 yards. Johnson was also a factor in the Braves’ running game, gaining 120 yards on 14 attempts with two touchdowns.
Coach Fred McNair’s team also got three field goals from Corey McCullough, two from 29 yards away and one 25-yarder in the loss.

North Carolina A&T limited the Braves to two McCullough field goals in taking a 17-6 lead at the half but Washington’s team had trouble stopping Alcorn’s potent rushing attack in the second half.
“In the first half, I thought we played well on both sides of the football,” Washington stated in the postgame news conference. “We kept them out of the end zone, but they started running that zone seal on us in the second half and our eyes were in the wrong place and we gave up to big ones (scoring runs).

“We could have done things better, made some earlier adjustments but we made the critical stop when we needed to near the end when we forced a three-and-out and got the ball back to run out the clock. We also stopped the two-point conversion and got the kickoff return for a score.

“It was a great win for us,” he continued. “It’s very important to get an opportunity to play in the postseason and getting to play in a bowl game is really great.”
The Aggies opened the scoring on Raynard’s scoring toss to Leslie, who had six catches for 119 yards, with 12:38 left in the first quarter, staking the MEAC kingpin to a 7-0 lead, following the first of Noel Ruiz’s three extra points.

McCullough’s first field goal, the first 29-yard, pulled the Braves to within 7-3 with 2:52 left in the period. Ruiz, following an interception by the Aggies’ Timadre Abram, nailed 36-yard field goal to increase the NC A&T lead to 10-7 with 8:33 on the second period clock,

Raynard, named the Offensive Player of the game, found Bell from 27 yards away to stake his team to a 17-3 advantage with 53 seconds left in the half, but the Braves drove 67 yards in eight plays and got a 25-yard field goal from McCullough, his second of the game, to reach the half down 17-6. Bell, who had six catches for 68 yards and a scored tied a school record with for career touchdowns with 25.

With 4:29 left in the third, Alcorn pulled to within 17-13 when Johnson broke a 30-yard scoring run, culminating a four-play, 86-yard drive. The Braves pulled to with 17-16 when McCullough was good on a 29-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the third.

But just as the Braves appeared to have momentum after scoring 10 unanswered points, The Aggies’ Malik Wilson took the kickoff at his 12, got to the outside and raced untouched for 88 yards and a touchdown that put his team ahead 24-16 following the extra point by Ruiz with 38 seconds in the period. It was Wilson’s fourth kickoff return for a touchdown this season, setting a school single-season record.

Johnson got his second, long scoring run, from 59 yards out, with 11:55 left in the final period to culminate a nine-play, 92 yard march to pull his team to with 24-22 and put the Braves in a position to tie with a successful two-point conversion.

On a run-pass option, Johnson rolled out and found Alcorn’s Chris Blair for what appeared to be the tying conversion, however, it was called no good as he juggled the ball while going out of bounds. After the ensuing kickoff, the Braves forced a punt by the Aggies but were unable to move the ball and had to punt themselves. The never got the ball back as NC A&T picked up three first downs to run out the clock.

Despite the loss, The Braves’ Fred McNair praised his team, which concluded a 9-4 campaign.

“I’m proud of these young men and the effort they gave in the game and how they competed throughout the season,” he said. “I told them that the game of football like life has it obstacles, but life goes on. It was a tough loss for our seniors. The kickoff return for a touchdown and the missed two-point conversion were the difference in the ball game.”

Alcorn State University Heads to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl for the Second Time

ATLANTA – The second invitation to the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl – to be played on Saturday, Dec. 15, at noon ET from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and aired live on ABC – has been extended to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) college football champion, Alcorn State University. The Alcorn Braves defeated the Southern Jaguars 38-27 in Saturday’s SWAC Championship Game.  Executive Director of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, John Grant, was on-site in Lorman and presented Alcorn State University Coach Fred McNair with the official invitation.

“Congratulations to SWAC champion Alcorn State for punching their ticket to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl,” said Grant. “We are excited for the Braves to join us in this championship matchup against the North Carolina A&T Aggies.”

The Braves, after winning their fifth consecutive SWAC West division title, were able to secure their spot in Atlanta by defeating Southern University in the SWAC Championship game.  North Carolina A&T comes into the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl with a record of 9-2 after winning last year’s coveted Celebration Bowl trophy for the second time in three years.

Entering its fourth year, the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl has established itself as a premier bowl game and celebrates the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It is a championship-style game between the MEAC and SWAC champions and will be televised on ABC. ESPN Events collaborates with 100 Black Men of Atlanta to organize the game’s ancillary events which include a youth symposium, robotics showcase, gospel night, fan experience and more. The MEAC leads the overall Celebration Bowl series 2-1 after three years. North Carolina A&T defeated Alcorn State 41-34 in the inaugural game in 2015. In 2016, Grambling State defeated North Carolina Central 10-9.  As in previous years, last year’s Celebration Bowl was a tight battle with North Carolina A&T beating Grambling State 21-14.

Fans can purchase tickets to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl online at thecelebrationbowl.com or ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Prices range from $15 to $155 including taxes and fees.  A full list of events surrounding the game are available on the event’s website.

For MEAC fans, a special rate of $110/night is being offered at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and is available for December 15-16.  Please visit the Celebration Bowl website for more details.

For SWAC fans, a special rate of $97/night is being offered at the Hilton Atlanta, and is available for December 15-16.  Please visit the Celebration Bowl website for more details.

Additional hotel rooms are available at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Atlanta Downtown for $105/night.  Please visit the Celebration Bowl website for more details.

Air Force Reserve

There are many exciting part-time Air Force Reserve jobs which allow Reserve Citizen Airmen to advance their civilian careers or continue their educations while serving close to home. College Tuition Assistance and signing bonuses up to $20,000 are available for specific jobs. Go to AFReserve.com or call 800-257-1212 for more information on how you can Start Your Adventure with the Air Force Reserve.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 32 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Texas); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau);  MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Myrtle Beach BowlNew Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth);  SoFi Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (South Bend, Ind.); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

Collegiate Softball

St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Clearwater, Fla.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

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ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com.

Hope-Beckham Inc. Media Contacts: Wendy Hsiao at 404-604-2192 or Whsiao@hopebeckham.com or Victoria Croft at 404-604-2491 or VCroft@hopebeckham.com

PRIMESPORT, ESPN Events Renew Sponsorship

ATLANTA – October 17, 2018 – PRIMESPORT, a leader in providing direct access to some of the biggest events in sports and entertainment, today announced a renewed and expanded partnership with ESPN Events as the Official Gameday Experience Provider.  PRIMESPORT will offer fans the chance to buy and sell tickets through an Official Ticket Exchange service for numerous ESPN Events such as college basketball pre-season tournaments and college football games. PRIMESPORT is a division of On Location Experiences, a premium experiential hospitality business.

As part of the renewed partnership, PRIMESPORT will continue to offer premium ticket packages for all of ESPN Events’ collegiate games, which includes game tickets and VIP Experiences such as pregame field passes or exclusive pregame party access.  Select Fan Travel Packages will also include hotel accommodations, game tickets, official souvenirs and other exclusive amenities.  PRIMESPORT will further offer college football fans an officially designated and approved Ticket Exchange marketplace to buy and sell tickets in a convenient, secure and protected environment.

PRIMESPORT will provide the Official Ticket Exchange and VIP Ticket Packages for the AdvoCare Invitational, Charleston Classic, Champions Classic, Diamond Head Classic, Jimmy V Classic, Myrtle Beach Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off and the Wooden Legacy.  In addition, PRIMESPORT will provide VIP Ticket Packages for many of the college football bowl games including the Birmingham Bowl, Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl, SERVPRO First Responders Bowl, Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl and the DXL Frisco Bowl.

For full details on official tickets, gameday experience packages or the fan-to-fan ticket exchange visit PRIMESPORT.com.

About On Location Experiences

On Location Experiences is a leader in premium experiential hospitality business, establishing a new industry standard to serve iconic rights holders with extensive experience in ticketing, curated hospitality, live event production and travel management in the worlds of sports and entertainment. On Location is a partner to over 150 rights holders including the NFL, NCAA, the PGA of America and the United States Tennis Association, and provides unrivaled official access for both corporate clients and fans looking for immersive experiences at marquee events including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Draft, NCAA Final Four, PGA of America events, numerous College Football Bowl Games and the Tennis Majors.  On Location through CID Entertainment also partners with numerous artists and music festivals across genres, including Imagine Dragons, Metallica, Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa and Electric Daisy Carnival.

On Location’s operations include: Anthony Travel, the nation’s largest provider of collegiate sports travel management services; CID Entertainment and Future Beat, hospitality leaders in the live music and festival industry; Kreate Inc, a full service live creative concept and production firm with a focus on the customer experience; PrimeSport, a leader in providing direct access to some of the biggest events in sports and entertainment; Steve Furgal’s International Tennis Tours, a leader in developing world-class tennis experiences for more than 40 years.

On Location Experiences is a privately held company, owned by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital, 32 Equity and the Carlyle Group. For more information about On Location Experiences, please visit www.onlocationexp.com.

Air Force Reserve Renews Its Title Sponsorship of the Celebration Bowl

ATLANTA – The Celebration Bowl announced today that the Air Force Reserve has renewed its title sponsorship of the game. Operated by ESPN Events, the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl is a championship-style game between the division champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).  The game will once again be televised on ABC at noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“We are thrilled to have the Air Force Reserve join us again as the title sponsor of the Celebration Bowl,” said John Grant, Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl executive director. “The theme of this year’s Celebration Bowl is all about the celebration of service. Partnering with the Air Force Reserve allows us to truly honor and commemorate those who volunteer and serve to protect both for the community and the country.”

The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl features tradition, legacy and values of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and has established itself as the very first bowl game of the season.  Entering its fourth year, the game will once again open the college football bowl season.

“We are excited to be the title sponsor of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl,” said CMSgt Michael Johnson, AFRCRS.  “This year’s bowl game celebrating service lines up perfectly with what the Air Force Reserve does every day serving our nation at home and abroad as part of this nation’s national defense. We are looking forward to telling the great story of the Air Force Reserve, its mission and the benefits of serving to a national audience.”

Fans can purchase tickets to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl online at thecelebrationbowl.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Prices range from $15 to $155 excluding taxes and fees.  A full list of events surrounding the game are available on the event’s website.

The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. For more information, visit www.TheCelebrationBowl.com, and follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

Air Force Reserve

There are many exciting part-time Air Force Reserve jobs which allow Reserve Citizen Airmen to advance their civilian careers or continue their educations while serving close to home. College Tuition Assistance and signing bonuses up to $20,000 are available for specific jobs. Go to AFReserve.com or call 800-257-1212 for more information on how you can Start Your Adventure with the Air Force Reserve.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); DXL Frisco Bowl (Texas); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau);  MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada);   New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth);  The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (South Bend, Ind.); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

Collegiate Softball

St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Clearwater, Fla.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

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Hope-Beckham Inc. Media Contacts: Wendy Hsiao at 404-604-2192 or Whsiao@hopebeckham.com or Victoria Croft at 404-604-2491 or VCroft@hopebeckham.com

ESPN Media Contact: Anna Negron at 860-766-2233 or anna.m.negron@espn.com.

Black College Football Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2019 Finalists

At a glance:

  • Finalists have been selected from over 150 nominees.
  • Player Finalists represent 17 Super Bowl Rings, 11 NFL All-Pro selections and 36 Pro Bowl selections. Coach Finalists represent 11 Black College Football National Championships and 28 Conference Championships.
  • The Class of 2019 Inductees will be announced on October 25, 2018.
  • Inductees will be honored during the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on February 16, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

ATLANTA, GA (October 4, 2018) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced today the 25 Finalists for induction into the Class of 2019 Black College Football Hall of Fame. The list includes 22 players and three coaches.

The Finalists were selected from a field of over 150 nominees by a 12-member Selection Committee composed of prominent journalists, commentators, historians, former NFL General Managers and football executives.

“We congratulate the Finalists for the Class of 2019,” said James “Shack” Harris, Black College Football Co-Founder and 2012 Inductee. “Each of these Finalists made a significant impact on the game of football, both in college and the professional ranks.”

The committee will meet again in the coming weeks to select the six members (five players and one coach) who will be inducted as the Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

“The talent that has come from Black College Football programs is incredible,” said Committee Chairman Roscoe Nance, “and that makes selecting the honorees incredibly difficult. Thanks to our Selection Committee for its dedication and commitment and for the tremendous amount time and effort that the members put into making these decisions.”

This year’s inductees will be announced on October 25, 2018. They will be honored during the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, on February 16, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org.

PLAYER FINALISTS (22 Players)

• Joe “747” Adams (QB, Tennessee State University, 1977-1980)

• Coy Bacon (DL, Jackson State University, 1964-1967)

• Dwaine Board (DE, North Carolina A&T State University, 1975-1978)

• Emerson Boozer (RB, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 1962-1965)

• Greg Coleman (P, Florida A&M University, 1972-1975)

• Kevin Dent (S, Jackson State University, 1985-1988)

• Hugh Douglas (DE, Central State University, 1991-1994)

• Donald Driver (WR, Alcorn State University, 1995-1998)

• Earl “Air” Harvey (QB, North Carolina Central University, 1985-1988)

• James Hunter (DB, Grambling State University, 1972-1975)

• Richard “Tombstone” Jackson (DE, Southern University, 1962-1965)

• Henry Lawrence (OL, Florida A&M University, 1970-1973)

• Frank Lewis (WR, Grambling State University, 1967-1970)

• Robert Mathis (LB, Alabama A&M University, 1999-2002)

• Tyrone McGriff (OL, Florida A&M University, 1976-1979)

• John “Big Train” Moody (RB, Morris Brown College, 1939-1941)

• Timmy Newsome (RB/KR, Winston Salem State University, 1976-1979)

• Nate Newton (OL, Florida A&M University, 1979-1982)

• John Taylor (WR, Delaware State University, 1982-1985)

• Johnny Walton (QB, Elizabeth City State University, 1965-1968)

• Erik Williams (OL, Central State University, 1987-1990)

• Roynell Young (DB, Alcorn State University, 1976-1979)

COACH FINALISTS (3 Coaches)

• Willard Bailey (Head Football Coach, Virginia Union 1971-1983 and 1995-2003; Norfolk State 1984-1992; St. Paul’s 2005-2010; Virginia-Lynchburg 2011-2013)

• Arnett “Ace” Mumford (Head Football Coach, Jarvis Christian 1924-1926; Bishop College 1927-1929; Texas College 1931-1935; Southern University 1936-1961)

• Joe Taylor (Howard University 1983; Virginia Union 1984-1991; Hampton University 1992-2007; Florida A&M University 2008-2012)

About the Black College Football Hall of Fame

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 by African-American pioneers, quarterbacks James Harris and Doug Williams to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 77 Inductees since inception, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.

www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org
www.Twitter.com/BCFHOF
www.Facebook.com/BCFHOF

2018 Black College Football Player of the Year Watch List Announced

**Courtesy of the Black College Football Hall of Fame**

Atlanta, GA (August 15, 2018) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced today the 2018 Watch List for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University. Former North Carolina A&T, and current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2016; and Bowie State sophomore quarterback Amir Hall was the 2017 recipient.

The winner of the 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be honored with the Deacon Jones Trophy during the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which takes place on February 16, 2019 in Atlanta. Four finalists will be unveiled on November 29.

“HBCU football has outstanding talent, as evidenced in this year’s NFL Draft,” said Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams, a BCFHOF co-founder and 2011 inductee. “This Award is a way that the Black College Football Hall of Fame is is able to recognize these talented student-athletes.”

“The Deacon Jones Trophy is the most prestigious football award for HBCUs,” said BCFHOF co-founder and 2012 inductee James Harris. “Deacon Jones was a pioneer and an icon, and still to this day represents the very best of Black College Football.”

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2018 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by a Selection Committee.

ABOUT THE BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 by African-American pioneers, quarterbacks James Harris and Doug Williams to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 77 Inductees since inception, including Mel BlountJames HarrisWillie LanierArt Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees. Its permanent home is currently being constructed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

ABOUT DEACON JONES

David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. He won unanimous All-NFL honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones is an inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2010) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org
www.Twitter.com/BCFHOF
www.Facebook.com/BCFHOF
www.Instagram/BlackCollegeFootballHOF

Celebration Bowl Set for December 15, Will Open 2018 Bowl Season on ABC

ATLANTA – The Celebration Bowl will be televised live on ABC  to open the 2018 bowl season for the fourth consecutive year. The postseason college football bowl game will kick off at noon ET, on Saturday, Dec. 15, from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The Celebration Bowl, which showcases the heritage, legacy, pageantry and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), features the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The MEAC leads the series 2-1 with both wins coming from North Carolina A&T, whose last minute 21-14 win over Grambling State in 2017 capped the first unbeaten season in MEAC history. Grambling won the SWAC’s first title in 2016 with a thrilling 10-9 victory over North Carolina Central.

The average margin of victory in the event’s history has been just five points, making the Celebration Bowl one of the most exciting games of the bowl season. The event has also performed well with television viewers as one of the most watched pre-Christmas bowl games in each of its three years of existence.

Three bowl alumni have gone on to be selected in the NFL Draft, including three-time MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year Brandon Parker (North Carolina A&T – Oakland Raiders) just last week. 2015 Offensive MVP Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T – Chicago Bears) and 2016 champion Chad Williams (Grambling State – Arizona Cardinals) were both chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft.

“We are proud that once again the Celebration Bowl will kick off the college football bowl season on ABC in Atlanta, Georgia,” said John Grant, Celebration Bowl Executive Director. “We are pleased to feature the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) verses the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in this nationally televised championship game. Each of the past three years we have presented exciting games that went down to the wire in determining who would claim the coveted Celebration Bowl trophy.”

“I would like to thank ESPN for their vision and dedication to establishing the Celebration Bowl as one of the top collegiate bowl games,” said SWAC Interim Commissioner Edgar Gantt. “We are excited and look forward to participating in this year’s bowl. Our student-athletes, coaches and fans have enjoyed this first class event.”

“We are elated to know that the 2018 Celebration Bowl will be on ABC again,” said MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas. “The exposure for our conference and institutions on a national level is tremendous for our branding. To start the 2018 bowl season is an excellent opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches and institutions as they play on a national platform. ESPN continues to be a great partner and should be commended for providing this avenue of exposure for the MEAC and SWAC football champions.”

Tickets for the game, a full ancillary event schedule and discounted rates at downtown Atlanta hotels will be available this summer. To stay up to date on Celebration Bowl announcements, sign up for updates on www.TheCelebrationBowl.com and follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, also manages the season-opening MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Labor Day weekend, another game that showcases these two conferences. The 2018 Challenge will be contested in Atlanta for the first time, featuring Prairie View A&M University from the SWAC and North Carolina Central University from the MEAC. The game is set for Sunday, Sept. 2, at Georgia State Stadium, and will be televised on ESPN2 at noon.

The Celebration Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 12 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan (Atlanta) and Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (TBD); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

Two-Time Celebration Bowl Champion Brandon Parker Selected in NFL Draft

Two-time Celebration Bowl champion Brandon Parker was selected with the 65th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The former North Carolina A&T tackle led the way up front for the A&T’s Celebration Bowl victories in 2015 and 2017. Aggies running backs earned Offensive MVP honors in both years, with current Chicago Bear Tarik Cohen running for 295 yards and 3 TD in the inaugural 2015 game and rising senior Marquell Cartwright going for 110 and 1 TD in 2017.

Parker earned MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year honors for three consecutive years from 2015-2017. He was also named to the STATS FCS All-America First Team in both 2016 and 2017.

Parker is the third Celebration Bowl champion to be selected in the NFL Draft. Cohen and current Arizona Cardinal WR Chad Williams (Grambling State) were both chosen in 2017. Cohen made an immediate impact in his rookie season with the Bears, logging 723 total yards (rushing + receiving) while also returning kicks.

NC A&T Scores Late To Beat Grambling 21-14, Win 2nd Celebration Bowl

ATLANTA — Lamar Raynard scored on a 1-yard sneak with 38 seconds left and unbeaten North Carolina A&T won its second Celebration Bowl in three years, defeating Grambling State 21-14 on Saturday.

N.C. A&T (12-0) won its fourth Historically Black College and University national championship. The Aggies claimed titles in 1990 and 1999 in addition to 2015, when they defeated Alcorn State 41-34 in the first Celebration Bowl.

Raynard, one of four finalists for the Black College Hall of Fame player of the year, completed 23 of 43 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown and had 17 yards on eight carries.

The junior quarterback drove the Aggies 56 yards in seven plays for the winning touchdown, shaking off nearly throwing his third interception. Grambling (11-2) challenged, but the pass was ruled incomplete.

Grambling was trying for a second straight HBCU national title as the Tigers edged North Carolina Central 10-9 last year.

Grambling quarterback DeVante Kincade, also a finalist for player of the year, completed 19 of 36 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns while also scrambling for 93 yards on the ground.

Franklin McCain III ended a Grambling drive following the second-half kickoff with an interception at the goal line and N.C. A&T marched down the field to go ahead 14-7 on Marquell Cartwright‘s 30-yard run.

Grambling tied it early in the fourth quarter as Martez Carter teamed with Kincade on a 29-yard TD pass to cap an 80-yard drive.

N.C. A&T’s Lyndemian Brooks recovered a fumble at the Grambling 8 in the fourth quarter, but the Aggies came up empty when Cartwright tried to punch it in from a yard out on fourth down and was stopped by defensive end Brandon Varner.

Grambling went six plays on its final drive of the game but Kincade’s pass over the middle was incomplete as time expired.

THE TAKEAWAY

N.C. A&T: The Aggies became the first MEAC team to go undefeated for an entire season as they continued their run of success under coach Rod Broadway. N.C. A&T is 40-8 with two HBCU national titles in four seasons under Broadway.

Grambling State: The Tigers are back despite failing in their bid for consecutive HBCU national title. Grambling is 38-11 in four seasons under head coach Broderick Fobbs, a former Tigers captain who was hired after the team went 2-21 over two years amid player turmoil.

COACHING CONNECTIONS

Both head coaches have a deep connection with the other team. A&T’s Broadway spent four years at Grambling, leading the Tigers to the 2008 HBCU national championship. Grambling running backs coach Lee Fobbs, the father of coach Broderick Fobbs, was A&T’s head coach from 2006-08.