Written by Thomas Scott
September 1st, 2018
Georgia State Stadium |Atlanta, Georgia- Prairie View A&M and North Carolina Central are set to face off in the 14th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Both squads are loaded with enough talent to legitimately win a championship in their respective conference. How far each team will go this season will likely depend on the performance of each school’s new head coach.
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge will be the perfect opportunity to see how Coach Eric Dooley (PVAMU) and Coach Granville Eastman (NCCU) team’s will fare against elite HBCU competition.
PVAMU Panthers|0-1 Overall, 0-0 SWAC
Last week, Prairie View A&M began their 2018 season with a narrow loss to FBS opponent, Rice. PVAMU gave Rice all they could handle before losing 31-28 on a last second field goal. Despite the loss, PVAMU offense looked potent. Coach Eric Dooley seems to have implemented the high powered offense he ran the past four seasons as Grambling State’s Offensive Coordinator.
Quarterback, Jalen Morton had a solid start to the season. Morton completed 16 of 28 passes for 244 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also seems to have found a new favorite target in Tristen Wallace. Wallace is a wide receiver transfer from the Oregon Ducks. In his Panthers debut, Wallace caught 5 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.
I will be interesting to see how the Panthers offense matches up with the tough North Carolina Central defense.
NCCU Eagles | 0-0 Overall, 0-0 MEAC
NCCU Head Coach, Granville Eastman, has the exact opposite pedigree as Coach Dooley. Eastman was the former assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, and safeties coach under Jerry Mack. Ironically, Mack is now the offensive coordinator at Rice (PVAMU’s first opponent).
The Eagles are led on defense by the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year, Davanta Reynolds. The 5’10, 206 pound defensive back has a nose for big plays and creating turnovers. Last season, Reynolds landed on SportsCenter Top Ten plays for his 81-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against South Carolina State.
The defense will definitely be a strong suit for the Eagles, but don’t sleep on their offense. The Eagles offense is led by sophomore quarterback, Chauncey Caldwell. Chauncey is a poised leader who started 8 games last season as a true freshman. He ended the season with 1,411 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. Caldwell is a duel threat at quarterback; last season he a team high five rushing touchdowns. Look for Caldwell to make a major leap forward this season.
How to Watch
The 2018 MEAC/SWAC Challenge will be be broadcast live on ESPN 2. Coverage begins at noon on September 2nd. Follow @BlackBallSports on Twitter for live updates and analysis.