SWAC Announces 2019 ESPN Football Schedule

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced the upcoming ESPN line-up for the 2019 season highlighted by a total of 13 games that will be featured across ESPN’s networks.

“When we began scheduling the upcoming lineup of ESPN games we sought match-ups that would give viewers and the average fan that may not get to attend our games a strong representation of our brand of football,” said SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland.

“This upcoming slate of games highlights several annual classics, traditional conference rivalries, and matchups that feature teams that played highly competitive games last season, while also providing viewers a unique look at the excitement and pageantry found on display any given day at a SWAC football game,” added McClelland.

“Overall the relationship we have with ESPN along with this 2019 lineup games, provides our league with national exposure, marketing, brand recognition, and visibility that will be on par with many of the football conferences at the FBS level.”

ESPN’s season coverage of the SWAC will begin on Saturday, August 31, with the Labor Day Classic as Prairie View A&M travels to face rival Texas Southern at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

The 2019 edition of the Celebration Bowl which features the champions of the MEAC and SWAC will once again bring a fitting close to the national broadcast schedule for the league on December 21 at 12:00 pm EST on ABC at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

A full listing of the upcoming lineup of games set for broadcast on ESPN can be found below.

DATE TIME GAME WATCH
August 31 5:30 pm Prairie View A&M at Texas Southern ESPN3 (5:30 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
September 1 2:00 pm Bethune-Cookman vs. Jackson State ESPN2 (2:00 pm live)
September 21 5:00 pm Prairie View A&M at Alcorn State ESPN3 (5:00 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
September 28 6:00 pm Southern at Arkansas-Pine Bluff ESPN3 (6:00 pm live)
October 5 6:00 pm Grambling State at Jackson State ESPN3 (6:00 pm live)
October 12 6:00 pm Prairie View A&M at Southern ESPN3 (6:00 pm live)
October 19 2:00 pm Jackson State at Mississippi Valley State ESPN3 (2:00 pm live) ESPNU (*12:15 am tape delay)
October 24 6:30 pm Jackson State at Prairie View A&M ESPNU (6:30 pm live)
October 26 2:30 pm Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State ESPN3 (2:30 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
November 2 4:00 pm Alabama A&M at Southern ESPN3 (4:00 pm live)
November 9 2:00 pm Alcorn State at Grambling State ESPN3 (2:00 pm live) ESPNU (*9:30 pm tape delay)
November 23 2:00 pm Alcorn State at Jackson State ESPN3 (2:00 pm live)
December 7 3:00 pm 2019 SWAC Football Championship ESPNU (3:00 pm live)

               
*ESPNU tape delay times are subject to change

All games will be available on the ESPN App 

About the SWAC:  
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is considered one of the premier HBCU conferences in the country and currently ranks among the elite in the nation in terms of HBCU alumni playing with professional sports teams.

Current championship competition offered by the league includes competition for men in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field and Tennis.

Women’s competition is offered in the sports of Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball.

Follow the SWAC
For complete coverage of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, please follow the SWAC on social media at @TheSWAC (Twitter), @TheSWAC (Facebook), and @TheSWAC (Instagram) or visit the official home of the Southwestern Athletic Conference at www.swac.org.

Tarik Cohen, Darius Leonard… is Darryl Johnson up next?

Why Darryl Johnson is ready to be the NFL’s next HBCU sensation.

By Will Dean
June 18, 2019

ATLANTA – With OTA’s and Mini Camps in the rearview mirror and NFL Training Camps across
the country fast approaching, former North Carolina A&T defensive end and two-time
Celebration Bowl Champion Darryl Johnson is prepping for a breakout rookie season with the
Buffalo Bills. In addition to being a part of two consecutive Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
winning teams, Johnson added a Defensive Player of the Year award and a nomination for
Black College Football Player of the Year to his long list of accolades in the 2018/19 season.

So how does Johnson plan to translate his success in the college game to a career in the NFL?

In an exclusive interview with The Undefeated’s Mark W. Wright, Johnson emphasized the
importance of setting goals. He remembers telling coaches and media about his plans to lead
the MEAC in sacks, make first-team all-conference, and win Defensive Player of the Year.
Johnson accomplished each of these goals in his standout junior season, and now he has
similarly lofty goals for his rookie season in the NFL. “I want my name to be right there as a guy
who left A&T early, went to the NFL, and being (in the) Rookie of the Year conversation”.

Johnson cites Chicago Bears running back and 2015 Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP Tarik
Cohen along with Indianapolis Colts linebacker and 2017 MEAC SWAC Challenge Defensive
MVP Darius Leonard as key role models for himself and other aspiring NFL Players who
choose to attend Historically Black Colleges & Universities. “When guys like Tarik and Darius
win, we all win — and it’s nice to see the NFL Players Association recognize that by selecting
them as the 2019 recipients of the Black College Football Pro Players of the Year.”

Fascinatingly, in his senior year of high school Johnson almost found himself without any
options at all. According to Nate Mendelson of the Buffalo Bills, Johnson suffered an injury his
senior year that scared off most Division I college football programs. By signing day, North
Carolina A&T was the only scholarship offer still on the table.

“Man, without A&T, I really don’t know where I’d be right now,” Johnson said. “I’d be in college
somewhere, but I probably wouldn’t be playing football.”

Johnson promised to repay North Carolina A&T’s trust in him, and with all the aforementioned
accolades in mind, it’s fair to say the university’s investment in Darryl Johnson was met with
more than a healthy return. Now Johnson is taking that same grit and perennial chip on his
shoulder to the NFL.

After making all the college scouts who lost interest in him look silly by taking off at A&T,
Johnson faces a new set of doubters at the next level. In spite of all his accomplishments,
some NFL scouts expressed concerns over his size and strength, as he slipped into the
seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But Johnson points towards a couple of other undersized
and underrated HBCU stars who proved all their “haters” wrong:

“I know the [NFL] scouts will label me as small and below average in size for a defensive end
(at 6-5, 232 pounds) they told that to Tarik Cohen (and) Darius Leonard too…”

With each of these “undersized” HBCU alumni receiving Pro Bowl and Defensive Rookie of the
Year honors respectively last year, Darryl Johnson feels he is primed to follow in their footsteps.
The Buffalo Bills will hope that Johnson can do just that, by replicating his odds-defying
production and extending his cinderella story at the NFL level. At this point, don’t bet against it.

 

Celebration Bowl Set for Saturday, December 21 on ABC

The Celebration Bowl, in its fifth year, will be televised live on ABC for the fifth consecutive year, kicking off at noon ET, on Saturday, Dec. 21, 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 3-1 with all three wins coming from North Carolina A&T, who  held off Alcorn State to win the 2018 Celebration Bowl 24-22. The Aggies also captured their last minute 21-14 win over Grambling State in 2017 capping 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.

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 2019 Challenge will be played in Atlanta, featuring Bethune Cookman from the MEAC and Jackson State from the SWAC. The game is set for Sunday, Sept. 1, at Georgia State Stadium, at 3 p.m.

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

ESPN Events
ESPN Events
, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 34 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 15 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event, an esports 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 Tampa, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

For more information, visit the official websiteFacebookTwitter or YouTube pages.

 -30-

BEYONCES HOMECOMING IS AN ILLUMINATING TWO-WAY STREET

The superstar uplifts HBCU culture — and her own journeys home

2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival – Weekend 1 – Day 2
Beyonce performs onstage during the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 in Indio, California, on April 14, 2018. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

BY KELLEY L. CARTER

April 17, 2019

Beyonce, yet again, has gifted us all.

This time, she’s bringing a culture that’s so very important to African Americans to a global, mainstream stage. Her latest present is a Netflix documentary, Homecoming (streaming now), and it’s a dive into the inspiration for her game-changing 2018 Coachella performance.

Beyonce not only takes us behind the scenes of the making of that particular set of shows, she takes us home with her. We see her at her most vulnerable: dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, figuring out how to be a mother of a 6-year-old and a set of newborn twins, as well as a wife, and an international superstar who is ready to come back home. Home, for Beyonce, is the stage. Her film’s title is a double entendre, as Beyonce plays to actually coming home to the live stage and to the rich tradition of historically black college and university (HBCU) halftime culture as she brings it to a festival that was stridently white until recently.

Beyonce was the festival’s first African American female headliner — “Ain’t that about a b—-?” she sneers at one point — and in 2018 she collaborated with her team to craft a show that would show the world something that those of us who grew up in Montgomery, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and Hampton, Virginia, were quite familiar with.

Interwoven with footage of the Coachella concert are homemade, never-before-seen rehearsal videos of the creation of one of the greatest shows to grace a festival stage, with Beyonce sharing insights about her body, her babies and her home life. The day she delivered babies Rumi and Sir via an emergency cesarean section, she topped out at 218 pounds. And Coachella was months away.It’s about the never forgetting. It’s about making sure that everyone is connected and educated and inspired by African American culture.


ITS ABOUT THE NEVER FORGETTING. ITS ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT EVERYONE IS CONNECTED AND EDUCATED AND INSPIRED BY AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE.

From there, she takes us on a journey: hitting SoulCycle hard, yes, but also dance rehearsals and other work that helped her burn up to 2,000 calories a day while cutting carbs, dairy, meat, sugar and alcohol from her life. Her discipline is to be as marveled at as the final product: Beychella.

We see the moment she’s able to fit back into a revealing costume — she FaceTimes her husband, Jay-Z, and revels in the accomplishment. It’s one of the very human moments in the film, reminding us that the woman we’ve crowned a deity is actually, well, one of us.


BEYONCE IS A HUMAN BEING? YEP.

Yep. She shares her breakneck schedule, the breastfeeding, the babies, the meetings with her team, the sheer perfectionist that she is while working on something as important as this show, which will both introduce a culture and give visibility to those who feel unseen by the world at large.

Beyonce, who directs and produces this film, flashes inspirational go-get-’em quotes from dignitaries such as Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman, all of them esteemed HBCU grads. She sees us — sees black folks, and black women specifically. In her show, we see black women with various body types; big girls move in bright leotards, and she says in a voice-over that she wants the world to see our curves. Beyonce’s father, of course, is an HBCU alum, and she talks about growing up with and being inspired by battle-of-the-band performances.

Perhaps the most significant moment of this documentary is near the end. The Carters’ daughter Blue Ivy is standing next to her mother, swaying side to side and singing the words of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Her mother had sung the song earlier in the show. At times, Blue Ivy couldn’t quite remember the words, and her mother would lean over and whisper them in her ear. When Blue Ivy gets to the end of the song, she excitedly tells her mother that she wants to sing it again.Beyonce is a human being? Yep.

And that is what this whole experience is about.

It’s about never forgetting. It’s about making sure that everyone is connected and educated and inspired by African American culture. On a global stage. Across generations.

And, of course, it’s about getting to see one of the world’s most dynamic performers at her most authentic and open and at her very best. In one of her closing voice-overs, she says, “If my country a– can do it …,” anyone can.

That’s motivating. And inspiring. But respectfully, I beg to differ. Because we might never see anything — or anyone — like this again.

Tarik Cohen and Darius Leonard Named 2018 Black College Football Pro Players of the Year

Atlanta, GA (February 13, 2019) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced today that Chicago Bears running back and return specialist Tarik Cohen and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard have been named recipients of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Award, Presented by the NFLPA. The Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player from a Historically Black College and University. Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea was selected as the inaugural recipient in 2017.

Cohen attended North Carolina A&T State University, from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2017. During the 2018 season, Cohen rushed for 444 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also had 71 catches for 725 yards and five touchdowns, along with a league-leading 411 punt return yards. He was named to the 2019 Pro Bowl roster and First Team All-Pro as a return specialist.

The 6-foot-2, 234-pound Leonard played for Coach Buddy Pough at South Carolina State University, and was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He finished his rookie season with 163 combined tackles (111 solo), eight pass deflections, seven sacks and one interception. His 163 tackles led the NFL and broke the Colts’ franchise record. Leonard was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl.

The formal presentation of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Award will be made at the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on February 16, 2019.

“This award was established to shine a light on the immense talent of current Black College Football players at the highest level,” said James “Shack” Harris, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2012 inductee.

The Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Award was voted on by a Selection Committee, composed of media members D. Orlando Ledbetter (Atlanta Journal Constitution), Jay Walker (ESPN), John Williams (The Undefeated) and Steve Wyche (NFL Network); NFL front office members Doug Williams (Washington Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Personnel) and former NFL scout Charles Bailey.

“Today, there are about 30 players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities on active NFL rosters,” said DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA Executive Director. “Some of the best players in NFL history are from HBCUs, and it’s exciting to honor today’s stars.”

The 2019 Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by the Atlanta Falcons, takes place at the College Football Hall of Fame on February 16. The 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year will also be announced during the Ceremony. Tickets and sponsorships are still available at www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org.

“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees and Selection Committee, we congratulate Tarik and Darius on this historic accomplishment,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “These men are great role models and an inspiration for youth across the country.”

About the NFLPA

“We, The National Football League Players Association … Pay homage to our predecessors for their courage, sacrifice, and vision; … Pledge to preserve and enhance the democratic involvement of our members; … Confirm our willingness to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of our membership — To preserve our gains and achieve those goals not yet attained.”

About Black College Football Hall of Fame

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 by African-American pioneers and quarterbacks, Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP 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 70 Inductees since inception, including Mel BlountJames HarrisWillie LanierArt Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.

Air Force Reserve Returns as Title Sponsor of the 2018 Celebration Bowl

By Master Sgt. James Branch, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published December 19, 2018

ATLANTA — After a year break, the Air Force Reserve returned as the title sponsor of the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, the championship game for Historically Black College and University football.

The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, took on the Alcon State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference champions Dec. 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The game marked the first time the two teams met since they battled each other in 2015, at the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

John Grant, Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl executive director, expressed his gratitude on behalf of ESPN Events to the Air Force Reserve for joining the Bowl Committee as this year’s sponsor, and stated its commitment is vital to the success of the event.

“The theme of this year’s Celebration Bowl is all about the celebration of service,” he said. “Partnering with the Air Force Reserve allows us to truly honor and commemorate those who volunteer and serve to protect our communities and country”

In addition to increasing its brand recognition to a broad national audience, the Air Force Reserve seized the opportunity to highlight its many education and career benefits, and showcase the nearly 74,000 Citizen Airmen who are part of the communities they serve. They study in colleges and universities, support local community programs, maintain civilian careers, and make an impact each and every day.

Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, believes it’s incredibly significant the Air Force Reserve uses the Celebration Bowl platform to honor and promote its legacy of culture and diversity.

“Diversity takes on all forms, whether it’s ethnicity, gender, or thought,” he said. “The fusion of varied cultures creates a strong military that can respond whenever America needs us. Serving our country is important, and exciting. The more we can get that word out, the better the Air Force Reserve will be.”

Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, AFRC command chief, said coming back as the title sponsor after a year off re-affirms Air Force Reserve’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“For me, the chance to showcase the Reserve to college students who are looking for advancement opportunities is beyond words,” she said. “Being a woman from the Hispanic community, I can testify to the opportunities the Air Force Reserve offers.”

Scobee flipped the coin, and the Aggies received the first kick-off, and put the first touchdown score of the game on the board in just three downs. The Braves trailed them for the entire game, with a half time score of 17-6. Although they scored 18 points in the second half of the game, they would never catch up, and the Aggies won 24-22, becoming the 2018 National HBCU football champions.

Scobee presented the Championship Trophy to Sam Washington, N.C. A&T head coach, Richie Kittle, Defensive MVP with nine tackles, and Lamar Richard, Offensive MVP with 292 passing yards and two touchdowns.

During the postgame press conference, Richard, a senior, said it felt good win the championship, and go out on top. He thanked the Air Force Reserve, bowl committee, and the city of Atlanta.

Commercials and announcements throughout the game highlighted the many opportunities the Air Force Reserve offers to individuals who want to serve their country part-time while pursuing an education or advancing their civilian career.

“The Air Force Reserve is more than proud to once again sponsor the premier college bowl game of the season,” said Col. Timothy H. Martz, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service commander. “Although the game is a vehicle for us to reach a number of demographics, the event is beyond recruiting for us. It gives AFRC the ability to leave a positive impression on not only HBCUs but the entire country.”

According to Meltwater Media Monitoring Service, the sponsorship garnered nearly $127 million in advertising value equivalent and recorded nearly 13.7 billion positive impressions through television broadcasting and print and online media reporting in addition to nearly 32,500 fans reached in the Mercedes Benz stadium during the game.

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.”

Black College Football Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year Award Finalists

At a glance:

  • Four Finalists have been selected from a Watch List comprised of over 50 players.
  • The Finalists will be honored during the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia on February 16, 2019.
  • The winner will be announced during the Induction Ceremony and presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy.

Atlanta, GA (November 29, 2018) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced today four Finalists 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 (HBCU) that embodies the rich tradition of athletic excellence and integrity associated with HBCUs. Former North Carolina A&T State University, and current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen was the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2016, and Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall was selected as the recipient in 2017.

The 2018 Finalists include QB Amir Hall (Bowie State University), DL Darryl Johnson (North Carolina A&T State University), QB Noah Johnson (Alcorn State University) and QB Caylin Newton (Howard University).

The Finalists were chosen by a five-member Selection Committee, which is composed of Black College Football Hall of Fame founders James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams, longtime SBN Broadcaster and Director of News and Sports for the Power News Radio Network Ty Miller, former USA Today sports writer Roscoe Nance, and ESPN College Football Analyst Jay Walker.

“The Black College Football Player of the Year Award showcases the immense talent of our HBCU student-athletes today,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “Each finalist has had an incredible season and we are excited to celebrate their success.”

The winner of the 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on February 16, 2019 at the 10th Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy, named in honor of the football legend and inaugural BCFHOF inductee.

“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees, we congratulate the Black College Football Player of the Year Finalists,” said James “Shack” Harris, Co-Founder and 2012 Inductee. “These student-athletes represent the very best of HBCU football.”

The Finalists will also be recognized at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on December 15th, along with the BCFHOF Class of 2019, which will be televised on ABC.

 

2018 Finalists

Amir Hall

Quarterback … Bowie State University … Senior … 2018 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year … Three-time 1st Team All-CIAA … Led conference in passing yards (4,152), passing touchdowns (31) and total offense (4,597) … Also had 445 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns … The CIAA’s all-time career passing touchdown leader (102) and all-time career passing yards leader (11,358) … Candidate for The Harlon Hill Award (Division II College Football Player of the Year) … 2017 Black College Football Player of the Year (Deacon Jones Trophy).

Darryl Johnson, Jr.

Defensive End … North Carolina A&T State University … Junior … Two-time 1st Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) … Led MEAC in sacks (10.5) and tackles-for-loss (18.5) … Had 47 total tackles and three pass breakups in 2018 … His 18.5 TFL ranked #10 nationally in FCS Football … In season-opening upset victory over nationally ranked Jacksonville State, Johnson’s strip sack sealed the game for the Aggies … Finalist the Buck Buchanan Award for FCS Defensive Player of the Year … Named to 2017 AFCA and BoxToRow All-American Teams.

 

 

 

Noah Johnson

Quarterback … Alcorn State University … Sophomore … Led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in passing efficiency (137.7) and completion percentage (63.4), and #2 in total offense (2,757) … Ranked #5 in SWAC in rushing yards (813) and touchdowns (7) … Led Alcorn State to East Division title and the SWAC Championship game … Led Alcorn’s offense to #1 in the SWAC in yards per game (471.3) … Finalist the Walter Payton Award for FCS Offensive Player of the Year … Finalist for the Cspire Conerly Award as the top collegiate player in Mississippi.

Caylin Newton

Quarterback … Howard University … Sophomore … 1st Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) … Led MEAC in passing yards (2,629), passing touchdowns (22) and total offense (3,133 yards), and ranked #2 in efficiency (136.7) … Ranked #7 nationally in FCS Football in total offense … Added 504 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns … Led Howard’s offense to #1 in the MEAC in points per game (33.6) and yards per game (470.8) … Finalist the Walter Payton Award for FCS Offensive Player of the Year.

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