Doggone Good Year

12Kyle's Favorite sports moment from 2009?

Was it seeing my Yankees win the championship? No...but it was a close second

Was it seeing the Flakers win the NBA Title? Um...NOT!

My favorite moment happened over an entire football season. It was a season that started in the brutal heat of the summer of 2009. While I sat at my desk under the cool air conditioning, this team sweat and pushed their bodies to the limit during "unsupervised team workouts. " While I sat on the couch and watched ESPN, this team pushed themselves through their summer school classes.

I got a chance to see them play their first game. The game was played in the Citrus Bowl before a nationally televised audience on ESPN. It was 95 degrees that day in Orlando. I know...because I was there! I had to see for myself if this team was as good as people said they were. And they were.

The team that I came to see was the South Carolina State University Bulldogs.

My alma mater.

Not only did I go to school there, I played football there from 1991-1995. In 1994, we won our conference title (10-2; undefeated in conference play)...the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and were crowned the Black College National Champions. This year's team was trying to do something that teams that I played on could do...repeat as conference champions. SC State had won the MEAC title last season and was picked to win it again. People said that we had the talent to do it. I had to see the team for myself. Could they achieve greatness???

The season began on that hot day in Florida on Sept 5. We were facing the Grambling Tigers. Grambling had won the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) the previous year. Both teams were squaring off in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Both teams were ranked nationally and were #1 (SC State) and #2 (Grambling) in the black college polls.

SC State beat Grambling that day in a close game 38-35. It was the beginning of a record breaking season for SC State. The Bulldogs went on to win the MEAC conference title again by going undefeated. SC State has a record 19 consecutive victories versus conference opponents. SC State's only regular season loss came at the hands of the University of South Carolina in a hard fought loss.

If you went to an HBCU (historically black college and university), you know about the PRIDE that we have in our schools. The pride runs very deep. To say that I am proud of my alma mater would be an understatement. I love South Carolina State University. I'm a Bulldog for life. I will always be a Bulldog. So, my allegiance to my school is deeper than pride.

SC State finished the season by advancing to the FCS Championship Playoffs (formerly Division I-AA) for the second straight year. And for the second straight year we played Appalachian State. And for the second straight year, we lost to them. This year we lost a heartbreaker 20-13.

Nevertheless, I am happy as well as proud of my alma mater. They have done things that many people didn't believe that they could do. We are slowly becoming a dynasty.

If you don't think we'll be champions again next year...bet against us!

Kyle Dowling



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