What In The HBCU? Prairie View And Southern University Football Teams Brawl Before The Game

The HBCU football landscape is getting heated, and not just because Deion Sanders is bringing the swag to the Black college ranks. Heated interactions between coaches and players before and after games are starting to become a thing this season. Although the charged energy is intoxicating and exciting for the under-exposed HBCU sports scene, it’s also an unwelcome occurrence.

On Saturday, famed college football teams Southern University and Prairie View A&M started with the fireworks only a little ratchet competitiveness could ignite. Before the two HBCU teams took the field, pushes, shoves, and players putting their paws on others occurred between the two programs.

The negative energy seems to come from the coaches’ lineages. During the offseason, Southern University hired Eric Dooley as its next head coach. Dooley, who got his advanced collegiate degree at the school, also began his coaching career there from 1997-2010, returning as the head coach last December. However, before that, Dooley spent the previous four seasons of his career as the head coach of Prairie View.

It was the first time the two division rivals matched up since Eric Dooley left Prairie View A&M to take over at Southern.

The bad blood was thick from losing the head coach to a rival program and spilled over on the field Saturday when the two teams finally saw each other on the green. Before kickoff, as the teams were walking back into the locker room after their warm-ups, the coaching staffs of each program began mouthing off at each other, and Dooley was vocal during the impromptu interaction.

Not long afterward, the staffs and players were mixing when a punch was thrown, and a melee ensued, with Jaguars and Panthers getting up close and personal. Eventually, local police stepped in to break up the incident and attempted to cool the scene down.

However, Southern would get its revenge.

Prairie View A&M had a lead of 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but the Panthers couldn’t get it together for the remainder of the game. Prairie View’s defense also was demolished by Southern University’s running game, giving up 5.2 yards per carry. Prairie View’s Trazon Connley went 16-for-28 for 160 yards in the failing effort.

Prairie View A&M won the last time the two teams met. Southern University gave the Panthers a wake-up call on Saturday evening, running away with a 45-13 win over its SWAC West rival.

Southern improves to 3-2 ahead of its next test against Alcorn State back at home in A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Oct. 15. The beef showed that Dooley was an asset that is missed at the Texas school.

The incident came on the heels of the lack of a gentleman’s hug at the end of the Jackson State University vs. Alabama State game. The Alabama State Hornets hosted defending SWAC champion Jackson State Tigers for their annual homecoming game on Saturday. While the JSU Tigers won the game on the field 26-12 to improve to 5-0 this season, when the two head coaches met at the 50-yard-line, Hornets head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. pulled away from head coach Deion Sanders as the coach tried to give him a “bro-hug” after the brief handshake.

The HBCU ranks are turning up with visibility; now energy is also veering into the toxic zone.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.