EAST GREENSBORO – It was another successful weekend for the North Carolina A&T Aggies, and they reaped the benefits again on the national and conference level. The Aggies rushed for 410 yards and compiled 594 yards of offense in a 58-19 win over Norfolk State at Norfolk State’s Dick Price Stadium on Saturday.
The offensive outburst helped right guard Lawrence Lagrone (6-foot-2, 356, R-FR, Douglasville, Ga.) earn Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) offensive lineman of the week honors. It marked the third time this season an Aggie lineman has earned the award after left tackle Marcus Pettiford (6-4, 286, R-SR, Durham, N.C.) was named offensive lineman of the week twice.
On the national level, running back Jah-Maine Martin (5-10, 214, R-JR, Conway, S.C.) had another superb outing with 199 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 10 carries. For his efforts, he was named honorable mention national offensive player of the week by FCS STATS.
Lagrone was one of five Aggie offensive linemen who were dominated at Norfolk State on Saturday. Offensive lineman coach Ron Mattes said the Aggie quarterbacks were not touched on Saturday in pass protection. Lagrone graded out at 92 percent while Pettiford posted a 91, left guard De’jour Simpson (6-3, 290, R-JR, Charlotte, N.C.) had a 90 and right tackle Dontae Keys (6-4, 300, R-JR, Fayetteville, N.C.) and center Dacquari Wilson (6-2, 280, R-SO, Greensboro, N.C.).
Mattes said it was the best performance from an overall unit he has ever graded as a coach.
Martin is taking advantage of the great play by his o-line. Martin leads the nation in rushing (742), yards per carry (9.28) and rushing touchdowns (11). He is eight touchdowns shy of breaking Tarik Cohen’s single-season rushing touchdowns record and nine touchdowns away from breaking the school’s total touchdowns record also held by Cohen.
The Aggies have earned 10 MEAC weekly honors this season. They have one national player of the week honor and two honorable mentions on a national level. N.C. A&T has a bye week before traveling to Tallahassee, Fla., to face Florida A&M 6 p.m., Saturday, October 19.
IN THE POLLS
The Aggies keep climbing in the national FCS polls. N.C. A&T has its highest ranking in both the FCS STATS media poll and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) coaches’ poll this season.
FCS STATS had N.C. A&T move up two spots after the win over Norfolk State to No. 13. AFCA has the Aggies ranked No. 14 after being ranked No. 16 last week. The Aggies have been ranked in the coaches’ poll 55 straight weeks.
Once again, the Aggies are the top-ranked team in the BoxToRow black college football poll. It was another week where the Aggies secured all 19 first-place votes. They have been ranked 76 straight weeks in the BoxToRow poll.
In the other black college poll, the Power News Radio Network, the Aggies are No. 1. They did not, however, garner all the first-place votes. The Aggies received 16 of the 30 first-place votes. Second-ranked Florida A&M received six first-place votes, No. 3 Alcorn State received six and No. 4 S.C. State earned two. Southern rounds out the top-5.
The Aggies are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the MEAC. They have won 16 of their last 17 conference games including the last six.
RING THE BELL
Wide receiver Elijah Bell (6-1, 225, SR, Wheeling, WVa.) did break the Aggies school record for most receptions. He broke the mark early in the Norfolk State game on a quick out that went for six yards.
Bell had three catches for 65 yards including a 53-yard reception that was the longest completion of quarterback Kylil Carter’s career. Bell has 175 career receptions for 2,513 yards and 26 touchdowns, all school records.
Bell, who won MEAC rookie of the year in 2016, is 29th in the nation in receptions per game (5.6). He is third in the MEAC in receiving yards (388) and receptions per game. Bell is fourth in the MEAC in receiving yards per game (77.6).