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Hampton hosts Battle of the Bay

Hampton, VA (Sports Network) - Saturday's Bethune-Cookman at South Carolina State matchup in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is one of the more anticipated games of the season.

It's offense versus defense. Bethune-Cookman's upstart team leads the FCS in both points and yards per game. Meanwhile, South Carolina State's MEAC power leads the nation in total defense.

What shouldn't be overlooked with this big matchup is that Hampton could hold first place all by itself come late Saturday afternoon.

Heading into the big day, Bethune-Cookman (5-1, 3-0) and Hampton (4-1, 3-0), which is on a four-game winning streak, are the MEAC's early leaders, a half- game ahead of South Carolina State (4-1, 2-0).

Hampton will look to continue its roll in the MEAC by hosting Norfolk State (2-3, 1-2) in the annual Battle of the Bay at Armstrong Stadium. It's a tight series with the visiting Pirates holding a 24-22-1 all-time lead.

Hampton features a solid defense which is ranked third in the MEAC. Senior defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis is among the top players in the FCS and senior safety Ricardo Silva was this week's MEAC Defensive Player of the Week after a dominant effort against North Carolina Central last Saturday.

In addition, middle linebacker Darius Johnson is tied with Ellis for the team lead in tackles (45) and defensive end Brandon Peguese has six sacks.

The Hampton defense will face a formidable threat in Norfolk State running back DeAngelo Branche, who is averaging 95.6 rushing yards per game and has scored five touchdowns.

10/15 16:00:28 ET