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Sports

SCSU's Pough sees silver lining in money games
 
Published Friday, September 20, 2019
by Bonitta Best

Like most HBCU football coaches, South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough has played his share of “money games.”

Over the years, the Bulldogs have lost 59-0 and 73-7 to Clemson. And while the debate continues over whether these games help or hurt HBCUs, Pough sees a silver lining – outside of that paycheck.

S.C. State has the most HBCU players in the NFL: Darius Leonard (Colts), Justin Evans (Bengals), Antonio Hamilton (Giants), Javon Hargrove (Steelers) and Joe Thomas (Cowboys). All told, 57 players have been drafted in SCSU history.

Pough says it’s those money games that give the players an opportunity to shine on a bigger stage.

Case in point: in their 59-0 loss to Clemson in 2016, Leonard amassed 19 tackles (8 solo). Although he already was on the scouting radar, that performance raised his stock tremendously.

Leonard was drafted in 2018 by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round and is rewriting the Colts record books. He led the NFL in tackles and was named a first-team All-Pro and defensive rookie of the year. And, after just one season, he was voted into the NFL Top 100.

Now, another Bulldog is getting that attention. Senior wide receiver De’Montrez Burroughs caught 6 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in last weekend’s 55-16 loss at South Florida.

Although a few scouts were already checking out Burroughs, Pough said that number has doubled since his performance against USF.

“If you want to play the game at the highest level, you’ve got to play through to the highest level in your college career,” Pough said on Tuesday’s MEAC teleconference. “You’ve got to play your best.”

Take away the eight turnovers and S.C. State was right there with the Knights. But you can’t fumble the ball five times and throw three interceptions against any team and expect to win.

Pough admits the players were starting to believe their own press clippings.

“Not to take anything away from South Florida, but they didn’t get our best game,” he said. “We got the big head being 2-0. The loss will make us focus on our next game.

The Bulldogs have an unusual two-week bye. They open their conference schedule on October 5 at Delaware State.

Flip the script

Alabama A&M forgot to read the memo.

Usually it’s the HBCU that goes up big in the first half against a power non-HBCU team, only to blow the lead in the second half.

This time, AAMU erased an 18-0 halftime lead to upset North Alabama 31-24 – its first win over UNA in 31 years. But Bulldogs fans better enjoy this one ‘cause coach Connell Maynor says it will be the last.

According to a report by WAAY 31 in Alabama, Maynor announced at his Monday press conference that AAMU will never play UNA again as long as he is coach.

Maynor claimed shabby treatment to the team and coaching staff by UNA such as his coaching staff being made to wear their credentials around their necks while UNA coaches were allowed to wear theirs on their belt. He didn’t like that the team wasn’t allowed on the field until two hours before the game. And he claims there was an altercation between one of his assistants and a police officer.

“This ain’t 1959. We don’t have to put up with that type of stuff,” Maynor said according to WAAY 31.

UNA issued a statement in response saying no opponent is allowed on the field until two hours before the game, and that there were no restrictions on how AAMU assistants wore their credentials. As far as the alleged officer altercation, UNA said no police officer recalled the incident.

Not to make light of Maynor’s concerns, but after their comeback win, he didn’t have to worry about playing UNA again.

 

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