HBCU Football Week 7: Struggling Bethune-Cookman Faces North Carolina A&T and Tarik Cohen

While it has been exciting, the first six weeks of HBCU football have been fairly predictable.

While far from being over, the usual suspects in the SWAC, MEAC, SIAC and CIAA are at the top of the heap. And players like North Carolina A&Ts Tarik Cohen and Southerns Lenard Tillery are having big seasons, as was expected.

But beneath the surface there have been a few suprises.

Bethune-Cookman has been one of, if not the most, consistent programs in HBCU football for more than half a decade. Theyve won all or a share of the last four MEAC titles, and five in the last six years. But that four-year streak is in jeopardy as BCU has gotten off to an 0-2 start in conference, putting them behind FAMU and Savannah State at this point. And things dont get any easier as they welcome North Carolina A&T and the MEACs all-time leading rusher, Cohen, to Daytona Beach on Saturday. There is a very real chance that BCU could be headed for an 0-5 start.

Tuskegee has also developed into a power in the Division II level over the last couple of years, making three consecutive playoff appearances and winning two postseason games last year. The Golden Tigers have traditionally been a run-first team under head coach Willie Slater, but that isnt the case this year. Quarterback Kevin Lacey is a big reason why.

The senior has seen time under center since he was a freshman, and while the 6-6 quarterback has shown flashes during his career, consistency has been an issue. Lacey threw 13 interceptions and 14 touchdowns last year. Through six games this season hes already thrown 13 touchdowns and been picked off just three times. His play, along with receiver Desmond Reece, are a big reason why Tuskegee is currently 6-0 and ranked fifth in D-II heading into this week.

Bowie State was expected to compete for the CIAA Championship again in 2016 after winning the Northern Division title in 2015 and making the playoffs. And they are doing just that, just not with the quarterback who finished the year with them.

Quarterback Nyema Washington was expected to be the starter for Bowie State, but a preseason injury pushed Amir Hall into the starting spot. He responded with five touchdowns in his first game as a starter and is currently throwing for over 330 yards per game. This week he and his team will try to improve to 5-2 as they face Northern Division rival Virginia State, who comes in at 5-1. The game will take place on national television on Aspire.

Who knows what surprises the next month of the season will bring.

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