Written by Thomas Scott
December 15, 2017
Initially, the decision for SWAC and MEAC teams to abandon the FCS Playoffs in favor of the Celebration Bowl sent shockwaves throughout the HBCU sports community. Today, any opposition of the Celebration Bowl should finally be laid to rest. North Carolina A&T Coach Rod Broadway said it best:
Saturday marks the third annual Celebration Bowl and fans will finally have the matchup they’ve all been waiting for. Both North Carolina A&T and Grambling State are the only two winners in Celebration Bowl history, but have yet to face each other in the championship game. This year’s championship will solidify the winner as the most dominate program in modern HBCU bowl history.
Grambling State |8-0 SWAC, 11-1 Overall
The Grambling State Tigers punched their ticket to the Celebration Bowl on December 2nd with a victory over Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship game. The Tigers dominated the SWAC this season going undefeated in conference play. Overall the Tigers enter the Celebration Bowl on a 11 game winning streak.
Offensively Grambling State is lead by quarterback, Devante Kincade. Devante Kincade has been a tremendous leader for the G-Men since transferring from Ole Miss. In his first season as a starter, Kincade helped Grambling win the 2016 Celebration Bowl. This season, Kincade lead the SWAC in passing efficiency, passing touchdowns, passing yards, passing yards per game, yards per passing attempt, and points responsible for en route to being named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. One of Kincade’s favorite targets is dual threat running back Martez “Mr. Excitement” Carter. Carter lives up to his nickname and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He ranked third in the SWAC in rushing yards and fourth in all-purpose yards.
North Carolina A&T | 8-0 MEAC, 11-0 Overall
The Aggies were picked in the preseason to win the MEAC, but few thought they would dominate in this fashion In addition to going undefeated during the regular season, North Carolina A&T had a whopping 12 players named first team All-MEAC. That’s half of the entire conference’s first team selections. Simply put this team is talented on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback, Lamar Raynard was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Year. The 6-4, 200 pound Raynard broke North Carolina A&T single season records in passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, touchdowns responsible for, and total offense. Nationally, Raynard ranks third in passing efficiency (171.6) and fourth in yards per attempt (9.5).
Defensively, the Aggies have two lock down corners. First team All-MEAC selection, Franklin McCain III has been extremely impressive as a red shirt freshman. During his first four games he had 27 tackles, five interceptions, and three pick-6’s.
How To Watch
The 2017 Celebration Bowl will take place Saturday, December 16th in Atlanta, Georgia at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Television Coverage begins at noon on ABC. Click here to purchase tickets.