MEAC matchups to watch this weekend

The teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will begin conference play this weekend, and besides the Florida A&M game against the Delaware State University Hornets, there are two noteworthy matchups on the slate for Saturday.

The Howard Bison will take on the Hampton Pirates in Greene Stadium, the Bison’s home field, at 1 p.m. Neither team won its season opener last week, but they both have the opportunity to pick up an early conference win.

Hampton failed to score in a 33-0 shutout at the hands of the Central Michigan University Chippewas. Howard lost its season opener to the Holy Cross Crusaders 38-7 on Holy Cross’ home field.

The Bison’s junior wide receiver Willie Carter scored Howard’s lone touchdown of the season last week and racked up a total of 130 yards on six catches. His quarterback, sophomore Terry Bradden, went 8-for-15 passing and rushed for a team-high 31 yards on seven carries in his first colligate start.

The Pirates accumulated 129 yards of total offense in the loss to the Chippewas, and they allowed three rushing touchdowns.

It is tough to say how the Howard game against Hampton will go. The playmaking capability Bradden should cause problems for a Hampton defense that struggled to stop the run in week one. Howard should win the matchup, but do not be surprised if the game is close.

The second MEAC game that fans should pay attention to Saturday afternoon will be the North Carolina A&T Aggies going against the Norfolk State Spartans. This game will start at 4 p.m. at Price Stadium, the Spartans’ home field.

The Aggies suffered a 21-14 loss to the Winston-Salem State Rams last week, while the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights blew out the Spartans 33-0.

The Aggies distributed the ball fairly well in its first game, and virtually ran for as many yards as they passed. North Carolina A&T gained a total of 85 yards on the ground and had 99 yards through the air with their passing game.

The Spartans will try to keep the Aggies one-dimensional in this game by denying any big passing plays downfield. The Aggies had six different receivers catch a pass in their season opener.

As long as the Spartans can keep the Aggie revivers in check, Norfolk State will be all right in this game. The Aggies appear to be a much bigger passing threat than they are a running threat early in the season.

Barring a strange twist of events, Norfolk State should win this game fairly comfortably.

The MEAC will be interesting this season, and this is the best time of the year because every school is still in the picture. The greatest aspect in college football is parody, and every game truly matters for those involved.

These games matter for the schools, the players and the fans. So keep up with the games this weekend and root for the Rattlers.