After the North Carolina Central loss to the South Carolina State Bulldogs most believed that the HBCU world would see a rematch of last year’s Celebration Bowl, but the Bulldogs started to slide. The Bulldogs loss games against Morgan State, Delaware State, and Howard University. While the Bulldogs were free falling, the Eagles were soaring going 3-0 and averaging 42 points a game. Howard and Norfolk State were no match for the Eagles, as the Eagles scored over 47 points on both teams, while holding both teams to under 22 points. This is not uncommon for this NC Central team, scoring 40 points in six games.
NC Central should prove to be a great test for any team that will emerge from the SWAC.
The seventh annual Cricket Celebration Bowl – to be played Saturday, Dec. 17 at noon ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and televised live on ABC – has extended its first invitation to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) college football champion North Carolina Central University. The Eagles defeated rival Norfolk State 48-14 on Saturday to earn the invitation. They will play the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
“Congratulations to MEAC champion North Carolina Central for punching their ticket to the Cricket Celebration Bowl,” said Executive Director John Grant, who was on-site at the game in Norfolk, Va., to present North Carolina Central Head Coach Trey Oliver with the official invitation. “We are excited for the Eagles to make their second appearance and join us in this championship matchup.”
North Carolina Central last played in the Cricket Celebration Bowl in 2016 when they faced Grambling State. ZNow in its seventh year, the Cricket Celebration Bowl has established itself as a premier college football bowl game, celebrating the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The championship-style game between the MEAC and SWAC champions is broadcast nationally on ABC. ESPN Events collaborates with its sponsors and Divine Nine Greek organizations to organize the game’s ancillary events, which includes a fan experience, community service projects, and more.
North Carolina A&T won the inaugural Celebration Bowl game in 2015. In all, the Aggies have captured four of the six Celebration Bowl titles, including the three straight from 2017-19. After a one-year absence due to the pandemic, the Celebration Bowl returned in 2021 with a sellout crowd of 48,653.