NSU, HU may have rough going in MEAC football season
Fred Jeter | 8/12/2016, 4:05 p.m.
After dominating CIAA football, coaches Latrell Scott and Connell Maynor have found MEAC a tougher nut to crack.
Coach Scott, 41, is in his second year at Norfolk State University following two banner seasons as the head football coach at Virginia State University.
Coach Maynor, 47, is starting his third season at Hampton University after a brilliant four-year run at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.
At last week’s MEAC Media Day in Norfolk, Hampton University was picked to finish fifth this season and Norfolk State sixth in the 11-school FCS conference. Voting was among MEAC coaches.
North Carolina A&T State University was picked to finish first after tying with Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central universities in last year’s final standings.
Coach Scott’s first Spartans’ edition was 4-7 overall and 4-4 in MEAC a year ago.
Coach Maynor’s Pirates were 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the conference. Coach Maynor’s two-year, HU record is 9-14, 7-9.
Before taking over at NSU, Coach Scott’s VSU Trojans were 19-3 overall and a spotless 15-0 in the CIAA. Coach Scott’s 2014 squad won the CIAA championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Coach Maynor posted a 45-6 overall record from 2010 to 2013 at Winston-Salem State and was 26-2 against CIAA foes. In 2012, he guided the Rams to the NCAA Division II finals.
NSU may rise or fall on the right arm of quarterback Greg Hankerson. The transfer student from Florida Atlantic University passed for 2,052 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015, while also leading the team with 423 rushing yards.
HU’s top threats include receiver Twarn Mixson, who snagged 59 passes for 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns a year ago.
Mixson is a first team, preseason All-MEAC pick, while NSU’s Hankerson is a second-team pick.
NSU opens 2 p.m. Sept. 3, against the CIAA’s Elizabeth City State University at Dick Price Stadium in Norfolk.
HU will make the short trip to Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk on Sept. 3 to meet the FBS’ Old Dominion University at 6 p.m.
This year’s MEAC champion will play the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champion Dec. 17 in the second annual Celebration Bowl at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. Because of their Celebration Bowl commitment, MEAC and SWAC schools are now long-shots for making the NCAA FCS playoffs.