■ 24 October 2012 | 1:46 PM
Week 8 Player of the Week Awards
Offensive Player of the Week – Jalen Simmons, RB, South Carolina State. Rushed for 144 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown, helping SCSU right the ship in a 27-20 overtime win against Florida A&M. Runner-ups – Terrence LeFall (RB, Howard) and Nick Elko, (QB, Delaware State).
Defensive Player of the Week – Tazmon Foster, LB, North Carolina Central – Against Hampton he had an interception return for a touchdown (80 yards), eight tackles, and a fumble recovery.
Runner-ups – Ryan Smith (DB, NCCU) and Devan Roberts (LB, FAMU).
Special Teams Player of the Week – Arthur Goforth, KR, North Carolina Central – Returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown against Hampton.
Runner-ups – Branden Holdren (P, FAMU) and Marco Kano (P, DSU)
Week 8 Award Projections
Offensive Player of the Year – Damien Fleming (QB, FAMU). Other contenders – Travis Tarpley (WR, DSU) and Nick Elko (QB, DSU)
Defensive Player of the Year – Davon Moore (DB, DSU). Other contenders – Keith Pough (LB, Howard) and LeBrandon Richardson (DE, Bethune-Cookman)
Newcomer of the Year – Lynden Trail (LB, NSU). Other contenders – Travis Champion (QB, Hampton) and Zach Cimiglia (P/K North Carolina A&T).
Freshman of the Year – Cimiglia (P/K North Carolina A&T). Other contenders – Brendon Riddick (RB, NSU) and Jonathan Pillow (LB, FAMU).
Coach of the Year – Henry Frazier (NCCU). Other contenders – Brian Jenkins (Bethune-Cookman) and Gary Harrell (Gary Harrell, Howard).
Week 8 MEAC Power Poll
1. Bethune-Cookman (5-2, 4-0) – The Wildcats are the new class of the MEAC and put their official stamp on it with a 48-3 win over Norfolk State, the defending MEAC champs. Brian Jenkins is the new king of coaches. All hail the Wildcats – at least until this weekend, when they play North Carolina Central for the conference title. Jenkins would also probably win in a fight between the league’s coaches. He loves MMA. Previously 1.
2. North Carolina Central (5-2, 4-0) – I don’t give the Eagles much of a chance in their showdown against Bethune-Cookman despite the 37-20 win over Hampton. I do give their head coach, Henry Frazier, the MEAC Coach of the Year Award. He may deserve his second Eddie Robinson Award in the past four seasons for the masterful job he’s done turning around this program. You've finally won me over, Eagles. You are No. 2. Previously 3.
3. Howard (5-2, 4-1) – The Bison are going to regret their letdown against North Carolina A&T all offseason. Howard needs help to have a chance at tying Bethune-Cookman for the MEAC championship and is unlikely to get it. Still, the Florida Classic is a rivalry game where anything can happen. The Bison saw that against Morgan State, surviving 21-20 on key special teams plays and mistakes by the Bears. Coach Gary Harrell’s emphasis on giving scholarships to specialists is paying off. He’s turned the program around, and the first win over Morgan State in seven years is further proof of that. Next up? Potentially the 10-game losing streak to South Carolina State. Here’s the Washington Post on that pesky suspension situation. Previously 4.
4. Delaware State (4-3, 3-1) – How wacky is the MEAC? If not for that flag on Xavier Boyce, the No. 3 team would have lost to the No. 10 team. There’s more parity in the MEAC than anywhere outside of the NFL. Shutting down North Carolina A&T 24-0 is very impressive for a defense that looked shaky against NSU and probably the Hornets most impressive win of the year to tiw South Carolina State for the biggest move up this week. Previously 7.
5. South Carolina State (3-5, 2-3) – Probably the toughest team in the MEAC to figure out. The Bulldogs, with little offense, took it to Florida A&M 27-20 in overtime last weekend in Tallahassee. South Carolina State had looked lifeless coming in. Instead, it’s the Rattlers title chances that died. The Bulldogs displayed what a good defense can do if the offense limits turnovers. Cough, hint, hint Norfolk State, cough. Previously 8.
6. Florida A&M (3-5, 3-2) – You can’t lose to a team with no championship hopes at home when you're trying to stay in the race. No clue how that could happen to the Rattlers in overtime at home. Florida A&M makes the biggest move of the week, falling four spots. Previously 2.
7. Morgan State (3-4, 2-2) – The Bears lose close to everyone. Morgan State followed a four-point loss to North Carolina Central with a one-point loss to Howard. Morgan State may have the most talent with the fewest results that the MEAC has seen over the last five years. Previously 5.
8. North Carolina A&T (3-4, 1-3) – The Aggies’ only league win was a beatdown of a Howard team that suffered a letdown after beating Florida A&M. If the Spartan defense shows the heart it has for most of the season, NSU may have a chance at an upset this weekend. Not predicting it, but not counting it out. Previously 6.
9. Hampton (1-5, 1-3) – The Pirates remain here courtesy of their win over NSU two weeks ago. Given their practice-hour restriction, and the rivalry aspect, that’s a big deal for Hampton, and you have to wonder if it’s enough to keep Donovan Rose around another year. Turning around and playing a team with title aspirations with short rest after the Battle of the Bay is a tough task. The Spartans found that out last year against Bethune-Cookman, and they didn’t even have to go on the road. No shame in losing to North Carolina Central for the Pirates this year. Previously 9.
10. Norfolk State (2-6, 0-5) – I didn’t get to see the loss to Bethune-Cookman, but it sounds like the Spartans finally played down to their Power Poll ranking. You look at the play-by-play and it reads like the Spartans were dominated physically and probably threw in the towel after their typical early miscues. Norfolk State has now earned the No. 10 spot. On the plus side, NSU doesn’t have to play a team in the top half again this year. Previously 10.
11. Savannah State (1-6, 0-4) – The Tigers got their first win of the season. Unfortunately it was by a touchdown against NAIA team Edward Waters. There is a passionate debate about whether NAIA or Division III provided a better level of football. *Resists urge to say more about 42-35 win over Edward Waters because of last week's promise.* Previously 11.