By Donal Ware
College Sports Journal
NASHVILLE, TN. — The first marquee matchup of the 2013 HBCU football season lived up to its billing.
Bethune-Cookman defeated Tennessee State 12-9 in Nashville and was a unanimous selection in the Boxtorow coaches’ poll.
The game was a battle of defenses, without a touchdown being scored until B-CU quarterback tossed a six-yard pass to tight end Jordan Murphy with five minutes left to give the Wildcats a three-point lead.
Jamin Godfrey missed a 49-yard field goal on the final play of the game that would have tied the game for Tennessee State and sent the John Merritt Classic to overtime. Godfrey had hit field goals from 21, 44 and 26 yards earlier in the game to give the Tigers the lead at 9-6.
This is the third year in a row the Wildcats have been atop the poll in its first week.
Despite the loss, the Tigers remained third.
It wasn’t a great weekend as only four of the teams ranked in the poll won games.
Alcorn State, who defeated Edward Waters 63-12, did not rank in the top 10.
Alabama A&M defeated Grambling 23-9 on the road and was rewarded, moving up seven spots from No. 9 in the preseason to No. 2 this week.
The only other two teams to win games last week were Florida A&M and Prairie View A&M.
FAMU defeated Mississippi Valley State 27-10 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Sunday and Prairie View defeated Texas Southern 37-13 in the annual Labor Day Classic in Houston.
Both teams were unranked during the preseason but made the rankings this week; FAMU tied for No. 8 with South Carolina State and Prairie View slid in at No. 10.
North Carolina Central who lost to Duke 45-0 and Howard who held a lead for most of the game over Eastern Michigan before falling 34-24 both dropped out of the poll.
Key matchups on Saturday include No 3 Tennessee State at No. 8 Florida A&M and No. 6 Alabama State at Jackson State.
The Boxtorow HBCU FCS coaches’ poll is administered by FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW and is voted on by the HBCU Football Championship Subdivision coaches.
2013 Boxtorow FCS HBCU Football Coaches Poll
(Records through September 1, 2013
Rank School W-L Pts. Previous
1. Bethune-Cookman (16) 1-0 160 1
2. Alabama A&M 1-0 103 9
3. Tennessee State 0-1 87 3
4. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 0-1 84 2
5. North Carolina A&T 0-0 77 T-5
6. Alabama State 0-1 69 4
7. Jackson State 0-1 53 T-5
T-8 South Carolina State 0-1 52 10
T-8 Florida A&M 1-0 52 NR
10. Prairie View A&M 1-0 45 NR
Others receiving votes: Howard (0-1) 43, Alcorn State (1-0) 17, North Carolina Central 0-1) 13, Morgan State (0-1) 8, Norfolk State (0-1) 8, Savannah State (0-1) 6, Delaware State (0-0) 3.
Donal Ware hosts interviews with sports and entertainment figures on his weekly From The Press-Box To Press Row broadcasts each week and also writes regular columns on HBCU sports for Jet Magazine and College Sports Journal. You can find out more here: