HAMPTON—Hampton University's chances of getting back to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) playoffs took a hit with their 35-30 loss to Winston-Salem State, but the Pirates' odds of winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference didn't change.
The Rams are not yet an official member of the MEAC, so while Hampton dropped to 5-3, their conference record still is 4-1.
"Technically this is not a conference game. It really doesn't matter," said sophomore quarterback Herb Bynes, who was 26-for-45 passing for 348 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. "It matters because we lost. ... But there's still a chance (to make the playoffs)."
The Pirates' string of three straight playoff appearances was snapped with last year's 6-5 record.
If Hampton wins its next three games, against Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and Morgan State, the Pirates will finish 8-3 and 7-1 in the MEAC.
BYNES' BARRAGEBynes, named the Pirates' starter in the preseason when T.J. Mitchell was declared academically ineligible, is on pace to make his first season as Hampton's No. 1 quarterback a memorable one.
Bynes, who's thrown for at least 200 yards in every game except his debut against Jackson State, is third on the school's all-time single-season passing list with 2,191 yards. Mitchell holds the record with 2,309. Bynes also moved into fifth place on Hampton's all-time single-season list of total yardage leaders with 2,082 and needs 21 more completions to set the school record for most passes completed in a single season.
GRIFFIN GETS CALLRedshirt sophomore running back Gerard Griffin, whocame into Saturday's game with just 53 yards in two games played, had 84 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Griffin, who had 4 yards on two carries last season, shouldered the Pirates' rushing load with leading rusher LaMarcus Coker, averaging 70 yards a game, and Dennis Mathis, second with 29 yards a game, both on the bench. Coker didn't practice all week with an ankle injury, while Mathis was benched by HU coach Jerry Holmes for missing practice during the week.
"At the beginning of the week, I knew all my guys were down and I was going to have to step up," Griffin said. "I've been stepping up all week, every week. I come to play, I come to practice. That's why I was able to step up today."