Conference Opener Highlights Week 2 Football Lineup
• Week two of MEAC football action kicks off this week with a total of eight games. Nine of the league’s 11 teams will be in action with the first conference match-up of the season scheduled to take place on Friday night featuring Delaware State at Hampton. Florida A&M is the lone team not in action this weekend as the Rattlers are off after playing the past two weekends.
• Friday’s MEAC opener is the earliest MEAC conference start since Bethune-Cookman and SC State played on Sept. 8, 2012.
• Only two MEAC teams are playing FBS opponents this week as Savannah State opens at Appalachian State while Howard travels to Kent State. Outside of North Carolina Central , the remaining teams will play FCS opponents. The Howard-Kent State match-up marks the second consecutive year Kent State will face a MEAC team as they fell to North Carolina A&T State last year.
• Howard’s win over UNLV Saturday night marked the second straight year the conference has earned an FBS win. Last year’s North Carolina A&T State’s win over Kent State on Sept. 10, 2016 was the Aggies’ first FBS win in school history and the first MEAC FBS win since Bethune-Cookman defeated C-USA’s Florida International 14-12 in 2014.
• Both Howard and North Carolina A&T State both picked up a pair of non-conference wins as the Bison defeated UNLV of the Mountain West while North Carolina A&T State knocked off Gardner-Webb of the Big South. As a result of the contest, Howard freshman Caylin Newton was named STATS National FCS Freshman of the Week.
• In a sport defined by the success of the quarterback, several teams are hanging its hats on the unknown entering the season as seven quarterbacks in the MEAC made their first career start last weekend.
• The MEAC is coming off a successful 2016 campaign as the league produced a pair of postseason participants in North Carolina A&T State and North Carolina Central. NCAT earned an at-large bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs while NCCU was crowned league champion and participated in the second annual Celebration Bowl.
• The South Carolina State versus Charleston Southern football contest, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9, has been canceled. Both institutions will work together to reschedule the game at a later date. The game was postponed due to the weather threat posed by Hurricane Irma and the State of Emergency issued by the state of South Carolina.
• North Carolina Central was picked to defend its MEAC Football Championship as the Eagles topped the league’s annual preseason poll. The Eagles have won three consecutive MEAC Championships as the 2016 title was their first outright title since returning to the MEAC.
• Howard University running back Anthony Philyaw was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason
Offensive Player of the Year, while South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard was selected as the Preseason Defensive
Player of the Year. A 2016 All-MEAC First teamer, Philyaw was the MEAC’s second-leading rusher last fall with 1,230 yards and nine touchdowns on 222 attempts. Leonard continues South Carolina State’s strong tradition of defensive play as last season’s MEAC Defensive Player of the year honor marked the fourth consecutive season a SC State defender has earned the postseason award.
• The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced a partnership with the MEAC to reveal the league’s offensive and defensive players of the year as part of the festivities surrounding the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5 at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. This marks the second consecutive year the players will be honored in New York.
• At stake once again for the MEAC Champion is a postseason berth to the 3rd annual Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Ga. on Dec. 16 at the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium. North Carolina Central fell to Grambling State 10-9 in 2016. The all-time bowl series featuring the MEAC and SWAC Champions stands at 1-1.