The Matchup: Virginia Lynchburg (0-5) at Prairie View (2-4)
Day/Time/Where: Saturday, 2 p.m., Panther Stadium
What’s At Stake: As much as Eric Dooley says Homecoming is not about the football program, it really is about the football program and a chance to show how dominant the Panthers can be. They have an easy enough opponent in Virginia Lynchburg. The small private school Dragons have lost all five of their games and are allowing an average of 50 points while scoring only 13 points a game themselves.
What To Watch For: PV quarterback Jalen Morton is coming off a monster game in which he passed for 287 yards and a touchdown while running for 133 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort to Southern. The Panthers have to focus on cleaning up the penalties, they were flagged 12 times for 107 yards while Southern committed just four penalties for 33 yards. Prairie View also has to fix its failures in the red zone where the offense was just 2-of-6 last week while allowing the Jaguars to go 5-for-5 in the crucial scoring area.
The Bottom Line: Given the Panthers explosiveness and the weakness of the opponent this game shouldn’t even be close. If Prairie View doesn’t win by at least three touchdowns then something is seriously wrong.
The Matchup: Southern University (3-3, 2-0 SWAC) vs Texas Southern (0-6, 0-2 SWAC)
Day/Time/Where: Saturday, 2 p.m., Cotton Bowl (Dallas)
What’s At Stake: Time is running out on the Texas Southern Tigers to get this season turned around. They have played well in spurts but are still winless during coach Clarence McKinney’s first season at the helm. It only gets harder as now the Tigers face the SWAC West-leading Southern Jaguars in a neutral site game during the State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl.
What To Watch For: There is still a cloud of mystery around the injury that has kept quarterback DeAndre Johnson sidelined the last two games and may keep him off the field again this week. Junior Devin Williams has performed admirably in his absence, positioning the Tigers to have a chance to win in the fourth quarter the last two games. But TSU needs the consistent performance of Johnson to have a chance against the Jaguars.
The Bottom Line: The best chance the Tigers have to win this game is to stop Southern running back Devon Bend and the Jaguars’ clock-draining ground game and make quarterback Ladarius Skelton have to win with his arm. Short of that, Southern wins this one in close contest.