DOVER, DEL. - Minutes after Delaware State handed North Carolina A&T a 24-0 loss at Alumni Stadium Saturday afternoon, the word of the day for A&T head Rod Broadway was "change."
Inconsistency crept back into the Aggies offense a week after being effective against Howard a week ago. A&T's three turnovers resulted in 14 Delaware State points. The Aggies also dropped several passes and their longest drive in the first half was 29 yards. As a result, they were shutout for the first time since S.C. State came away with a 55-0 win on Nov. 22, 2008.
The Aggies did create two prime scoring opportunities, but were derailed by field goal misses of 47 and 20 yards.
"I've got to take some responsibility," said A&T head coach Rod Broadway. "I didn't think we were ready to play, nor did we play the way we're capable of playing. It's up to me to get us ready. Therefore, I know we've got to make some changes in a lot of areas."
"Whenever you keep playing the same guys and they keep making the same mistakes, it's time for change," Broadway said. "We keep pointing out their mistakes and they keep making the same mistakes."
It was a tough day offensively for A&T. Quarterback Lewis Kindle had to escape the Hornets pass rush on two separate occasions in order to pick up rushing yardage of 10 yards or more. Senior running back Mike Mayhew did not have his first run of 10 or more yards until the fourth quarter.
Mayhew's 16 yard run in the fourth quarter occurred during the a 17-play, 88-yard drive by the Aggies.
The drive took almost six minutes off the clock and included a 13-yard completion to Donta Prince and a 16-yard completion to Marquis Gorham. But on 3rd-and-4 from the DSU 6-yard line, Kindle completed a 3-yard pass to Ricky Lewis. With the Aggies trailing 17-0 and in need of three scores, the Aggies decided to attempt a 20-yard field goal.
Zach Cimaglia's kick sailed wide left with 8:55 remaining in the game. The missed field goal hampered the Aggies chances at a comeback. Five minutes later, Delaware State defensive back Jermond Colston sealed the Aggies fate with an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown.
"I thought for the most part, our defense played well," Broadway said after seeing the Hornets had 305 yards of offense to the Aggies 298. "We gave up a couple of big plays, but I think for the most part, they played well. We just couldn't get anything going offensively. They got a couple of back-to-back scores, and we never responded."
After a scoreless first quarter, the Hornets took advantage of good field position and drove 53 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on a Nagee Jackson 1-yard run. Two plays into A&T's next drive, Leroy Bradford broke open for a 10-yard run. But as he went to the ground, the ball popped out and landed in Herman Hinton's hands. He returned the fumble recovery 22 yards to the A&T 31.
Senior Travis Tarpley gave the Hornets a 14-0 edge on a 13-yard touchdown receptions from Nick Elko. Tarpley finished with nine catches for 128 yards receiving and a touchdown. Tarpley's touchdown reception was the fifth of his career versus A&T. Mitchell Ward added a 23-yard field goal before halftime to give DSU a 17-0 lead.
"We just keep going through the same thing over and over again," Broadway said. "We've got to get this fixed. We're going to move some people out who haven't been producing."
After missing two games with an injury, free safety Isaiah Martin returned to record 12 tackles. A&T linebacker Tony Clodfelter also had 12 tackles. The Aggies will play in The Greatest Homecoming on Earth against Norfolk State 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Aggie Stadium.
Game Notes: Delaware State's shutout of A&T was its second in five years...The Aggies' last win in Dover came in 2002....Saturday marked just the third shutout of Rod Broadway's 10-year head coaching career. His last one came on Oct. 25, 2003 in a loss Winston-Salem State as N.C. Central's head coach.