North Carolina A&T (3-3, 1-3 MEAC) at Florida A&M (2-5, 1-2 MEAC)
Date: October 26, 2013
Time: 2 p.m.
Facility: Bragg Stadium
Series: Florida A&M leads 44-14-3
Radio: WNAA 90.1 FM, Campus Radio Station: Spencer Gwynn (play-by-play); Billy Covington (color); Al Swann (analysis)
A&T OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Tarik Cohen (5-8, 170, Fr., 6.3 yds per carry, Aggies leading rusher) RB Dominique Drake (5-9, 202, Sr., 73 att., 261 yds, 3 TDs); RT Nathan Isles (6-5, 324, Sr.); QB Lewis Kindle (6-1, 205, Sr., 73-for-138, 895 yds passing,5 TDs, 4 INTs); WR Desmond Lawrence (28 rec., 339 yds., 3 TDs); LT William Ray Robinson III (6-3, 305, R-Jr., MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week (9/16-9/22).
FLORIDA A&M OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Damien Fleming (6-3, 205, Jr., 80-for-142, 11 INTs, 5 TDs); RB James Owens (5-9, 180, R-Sr., 36 att., 132 yds); RB Al-Terek McBurse (48 att., 264 yds, 2TDs); RB Lemond Buice (6-1, 225, R-Jr., 47 att., 197 yds, 2TDs); WR Lenworth Lennon (19 rec., 282 yds, 2TDs); C Kevin House (6-3, 300, Sr., preseason All-MEAC); LT Zerrie Patterson (6-2, 340, R-So., preseason All-MEAC).
A&T DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: SS Travis Crosby (5-9, 189, Sr., leads the team with 58 tackles); CB D’Vonte Graham (5-7, 157, Sr., preseason All-MEAC, preseason All-American, 6 PBU, 1 INT); LB D’Vonte Grant (5-10, 208, Sr., 53 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 1 INT return for TD, 1 BLK); LB Brian Houston (5-11, 235, Sr., 47 tackles, 6.0 TFLs, 1 INT return for TD). .
FLORIDA A&M DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: CB Devontae Terry Johnson (6-0, 183, So., 26 tackles, 3 PBUs, 1 INT); FS John Ojo (6-3, 212, Gr., 49 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 2 PBUs, 1 INT); Michael Ducre (6-2, 230, Sr., 30 tackles, 2.5 TFLs); William Smalls (6-2, 205, Jr., 30 tackles, 4.5 TFLs).
Aggies Overview: The Aggies are trying to ignite their offense after converting only one third down in 14 tries. Part of the Aggies problems from last week were bad snaps that led the Aggies to lose 80 yards. They return to the field this week trying to beat Florida A&M at Bragg Stadium for the first time in 13 years. A&T will look to put the ball in the hands of freshman Tarik Cohen, who has emerged as the Aggies leading rusher with 6.3 yards per carry. A&T will also look to get the ball back in the hands of junior Desmond Lawrence. Lawrence came into last week’s the leading receiver in the conference, but he came away with only one reception, a 7-yard touchdown pass from Lewis Kindle. Senior middle linebacker Brian Houston is starting to make himself an important piece to the Aggies defense. He had a career-high 17 tackles in the Aggies 12-7 loss to Delaware State
Florida A&M Overview: After an impressive 27-10 win over Mississippi Valley State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Florida A&M has lost five out of its last six, including a 21-10 loss to Howard at home last week. Preseason All-MEAC quarterback Damien Fleming may be a problem for A&T, considering passing games have been effective against A&T this season. Fleming has completed 56 percent of his passes with five touchdown passes. But Fleming has also thrown 11 interceptions, which should benefit the Aggies. Defensively, the Rattlers rank eighth in the conference in rush defense. Akil Blount leads the way with 7.5 tackles for loss. Free safety John Ojo leads the team in tackles with 49 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss.
Potential Star: Brian Houston has been a vital part of the Aggies defense over the past two weeks. He had a pick-6 against Hampton on Oct. 12 and he made 17 tackles last week against Delaware State. He is now third on the team in tackles. Another big game from Houston could help the Aggies end their three-game losing streak.
News & Notes:
Freshman running back Tarik Cohen is closing in on breaking the Aggies freshman rushing record. Cohen leads the Aggies in rushing with 400 yards on 63 carries. Cohen needs just 157 yards to break Barry Turner’s 23-year old freshman rushing record. Cohen made his run at the record on Oct. 12 at Hampton. Cohen rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He was 63 yards shy of breaking the freshman rushing record at A&T, which is held by Charlie Sutton, who set the record in 1978. Cohen does now hold the freshman record for all-purpose yards in a game thanks to his 119 yards receiving, where he also scored a touchdown. Cohen also became the first A&T player to rush for 100 yards and have 100 yards receiving in the game. The last time an Aggie freshman rushed for more than 100 yards came on Oct. 20, 1990 when Barry Turner rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway has earned a lot of success over the years by making sure his teams play well at home. Broadway coached at N.C. Central from 2003-06, where he compiled a 33-11 record. At N.C. Central’s O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, Broadway compiled an 18-6 record, including winning streaks of seven and six games. Broadway also coached at Grambling from 2007-10. While there, he went 15-0 at Grambling’s Eddie Robinson Stadium. Broadway went 35-12 in four years at Grambling. At North Carolina A&T over the past three seasons, the Aggies are 12-3 at home under Broadway with losses only to Coastal Carolina, Morgan State and Delaware State. In all as a head coach, Broadway is 45-9 when his teams play at home.
From the Coach
“A lot of it has to do with personnel. We’re down a little bit from where we were three weeks ago as far as players are concerned. So we have to find a way to get our freshmen to play a lot better than what they’re playing. I think our upperclassmen did a decent job, but at our level, the team that is in this thing at the end of the year is the team that can stay healthy. We haven’t been able to do that.”
A&T head football coach Rod Broadway on the Aggies injuries