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Miles College hosts Albany St. on Sat. for the SIAC championship

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Donte Edwards has been one of the top running backs in the SIAC, averaging 5.5 yards a carry and with eight touchdowns this season.(MILES COLLEGE)

By Donald Hunt

When Miles College hosts Albany State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Fairfield, it will be for all the marbles. The Golden Bears (4-2 SIAC, 6-4 overall) will battle the Golden Rams (5-0 SIAC, 8-1 overall) for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championship.

Both teams are playing their best football right now. Albany State has won seven consecutive games and Miles is on a four-game winning streak. Albany State is ranked No. 18 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll.

This is Miles’s third straight SIAC West Division title and will face a nationally-ranked team they lost to earlier this season 31-3.

It’s going to be important for the Golden Bears to get off to a good start and Miles head coach Reginald Ruffin will lean on his key players to lead the way.

Offensively, Donte Edwards has been one of the top running backs in the SIAC. Edwards has 976 yards on the season. He could go over the 1,000-yard mark against Albany State. He’s averaging 5.5 yards a carry and has scored eight touchdowns this season.

The ground attack should help the passing game. Miles College quarterback Claude Newell, III has been able to throw the football down the field on a consistent basis, completing 76-of-131 passes for 1,211 yards with 10 TDs and only two interceptions.

He does a good job of spreading the ball around to receivers – Marcus Lodge (17 catches for 279 yards and 2 TDs), Christopher Brown (12 for 227 yards and 4 TDs) and Jaih Andrews (12 for 201 yards and 4 TDs).

On defense, linebacker Andrew Gaylor leads the team in tackles with 54. Gaylor has 29 solo stops, too. Up front, defensive lineman Jaylun Thomas has 35 total and 19 solo tackles. Thomas plays quite well against the run.

A lot of times championship games are determined by turnovers. If Miles College can take care of the football and make some timely plays, this could be a very exciting conference title game.

In the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Alabama A&M (3-3 SWAC, 5-3 overall) will visit Texas Southern (2-4 SWAC, 2-6 overall) on Saturday. The kickoff will be at 2 p.m.

A&M has been playing at a high level in its last two victories. The high scoring Bulldogs are led by star quarterback Aqeel Glass who continues to throw the football extremely well. Glass has completed 200-of-329 passes for 2,656 yards with 25 TDs and just seven interceptions.

He has been connecting with wide receiver Dee Anderson, a 6-6, 220-pound senior, who gives Glass a big target in the passing game. He has 27 catches for 442 yards and 11 TDs. Look for Alabama A&M to continue to move the football through the air.

In other action in the SWAC, Alabama State will go on the road to face Mississippi Valley State. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Defensive back Irshaad Davis has been a major player on defense for the Hornets with 51 total and 29 solo tackles. He also has two sacks and one interception.

 

SIAC Standings

SIAC East

Conference                           Overall

Albany State                      5-0                8-1

Savannah State                 5-1                 8-2

Morehouse                        4-2                 4-6

Fort Valley State                3-2                 5-4

Benedict                           2-4                 5-5

Clark Atlanta                    0-6               2-8

 

SIAC West

Conference                           Overall

Miles College                    4-2                   6-4

Kentucky State                 4-2                   6-4

Lane                               3-3                    6-4

Tuskegee University         2-4                    3-7

Central State                    0-6                  1-9

 

Allen University 0-0 conference; 4-4 overall

Edward Waters 0-0 conference; 3-7 overall

 

SIAC Schedule

Championship Game

Albany State at Miles College 2 p.m. Fairfield, AL

 

 

SWAC Standings

SWAC East

Conference                           Overall

Jackson State                      6-0                   8-1

Florida A&M                         5-1                  7-2

Alabama A&M                      3-3                  5-3

Alabama State                      2-4                 3-5

Mississippi Valley State          1-5                 2-7

Bethune-Cookman                 1-5                1-8

 

SWAC West

Conference                           Overall

Prairie View A&M              6-0                              7-1

Alcorn State                     4-2                              5-4

Southern                          3-3                              4-5

Grambling State               2-4                              3-6

Texas Southern                 2-4                              2-6

Arkansas-Pine Bluff          1-5                                2-7

 

SWAC Schedule (Nov. 13, 2021)

Bethune-Cookman at Grambling State 11 a.m. Grambling, La.

Alabama State at Mississippi Valley State 1 p.m. Itta Bena, Miss.

Florida A&M at Arkansas-Pine Bluff 2 p.m. Pine Bluff, AR

Alabama A&M at Texas Southern 2 p.m. Houston, TX

Prairie View A&M at Alcorn State 2 p.m. Lorman, Miss

Jackson State at Southern 6 p.m. Baton Rouge, La.

 

Matchup of the Week

SIAC Championship

Albany State at Miles College 2 p.m. Fairfield, AL