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MEAC/SWAC Challenge: Alabama State Starts The Eddie Robinson Jr. Era With A Huge Win

The 2022 version of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge will go down as one of the longest games in the series history after three weather delays that totaled two hours and pushed the conclusion of the game to 1:18am/ET. Despite the weather, Alabama State started the Eddie Robinson Jr. era with an impressive 23-13 win over Howard.

The Hornets were led by the MEAC/SWAC Challenge MVP QB Dematrius Davis in his first career start for Alabama State. Davis led the Hornets with 224 yards of total offense (187 passing, 1 TD, 1 INT, 37 rushing) and completing over 70% of his passes on the night. 

The Alabama State rushing game struggled to find consistency early, but Jacory Merritt broke the game open with a 21-yard rushing touchdown late in the 3rd quarter. Merritt led the Hornets with 55 yards on the ground and 1 rushing touchdown, while also contributing 48 receiving yards. 

The Howard defense gave the Bison offense every chance to win this game by forcing three Alabama State turnovers, but the Howard offense struggled to capitalize on the opportunities. Jevin Jackson was named the MVP of the game for the Bison after totaling 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and a blocked punt. Preseason All-MEAC DB Kenny Gallop also had a big night for the Bison defense with 8 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack. 

The MEAC now leads the overall series 11-5, but Alabama State’s victory was the first victory for the SWAC since 2018 when Prairie View A&M defeated North Carolina Central. The 2023 MEAC/SWAC Challenge will feature South Carolina State facing Jackson State in a highly anticipated rematch of last season’s Celebration Bowl.

Alabama State moves to 1-0 on the season and will host Miles College in the Labor Day Classic next weekend, while Howard falls to 0-1 and will travel to face Hampton next week in a must-win game for the Bison. 

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