WEST VIRGINIA STATE (1-0) at NORTH CAROLINA A&T (0-1)
Date: September 8, 2012
Time: 6 p.m.
Stadium: Aggie Stadium
Series: A&T leads, 3-2
Radio: WNAA 90.1 FM; Campus Radio Station: Spencer Gwynn (play-by-play), Al Swann (color); Billy Covington (color), Mel Swann (halftime host).
CHIT CHAT: North Carolina A&T will play its home opener 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept.8 at Aggie Stadium. The Aggies are 21-10 in home openers since Aggie Stadium opened in 1981. Their opponent is Division II West Virginia State. The Aggies have been dominant against Division II foes at Aggie Stadium. Their last lost to a Division II school at home came on Nov. 11, 1995 when they lost to Lane College 12-4. A&T has only played six Division II opponents at home since. The number of Division II opponents the Aggies play has decreased significantly over the past 15 years, partly because many of their former Division II opponents such as N.C. Central, Hampton and Norfolk State are now Division I-FCS schools. Even Winston-Salem State flirted with Division I for a few years. A&T is 46-17-1 overall against Division II schools and 22-8-1 at home against Division II foes. The last time the Aggies played WVSU was a 46-0 A&T win on Oct. 23, 1943.
It's A "Lock": The Aggies defense did not play up to head coach Rod Broadway's standard Saturday at Coastal Carolina. The coach admitted he was disappointed that the Chanticleers were so effective running the ball. There is a good chance the A&T defense will come out seeking redemption after allowing the Chanticleers to compile 437 yards of offense. Opponents averaged just 33.2 yards rushing against the Aggies defense at home last season. The Aggies hope to continue the trend and get their defense back on track after last week's setback.
Potential Gameday Star power: North Carolina A&T: Senior wide receiver Larry Raper is going to get Lewis Kindle back under center on Saturday. Raper and Kindle have a little more chemistry than Raper has with freshman quarterback Kwashaun Quick. He still caught a touchdown pass last Saturday with Quick at the controls. With the more experienced Kindle back, it could be a nice senior opener for Raper. West Virginia State: There is no question that West Virginia State would like to get the ball into the hands of Aubura Taylor. Taylor will see action as the Yellow Jackets' main threat in the backfield. He will also get the ball on punt and kickoff returns. Last week against Johnson C. Smith, Taylor rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. If the Yellow Jackets have a chance at an upset, the ball will have to be in Taylor's hands.
The Magic Number For A&T: 116: Mike Mayhew has rushed for more than 100 yards 11 times in his career. A 100-yard type performance on Saturday could result in history being made. Mayhew needs just 116 yards on Saturday to become the Aggies all-time leading rusher. Former A&T running back James White was the Aggies' leading rusher when he left in 1993. He will be in attendance on Saturday as one of the newest inductees into the A&T Sports Hall of Fame. He may have to watch as Mayhew passes him for No. 2 on the all-time rushing list.
Fantasy League Pick: If this were a fantasy football league, a solid guy to play may be freshman Marquis Gorham. Gorham made six catches for 48 yards. He tied Buster Cooper for the freshman school record for receptions in a game. He showed signs of being a player maker last week against Coastal Carolina. A guy who can make that many catches in his first collegiate game, may be someone who can score a lot of points for A&T.
FROM THE NOTES
At Home On Broadway
North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway is tough to beat when he plays at home. In four years at N.C. Central, Broadway was 18-5 at O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium. He was even better at Grambling, where he went 15-0 at Grambling's Eddie Robinson Stadium. A year ago, Broadway went 4-1 at Aggie Stadium to give him a 37-6 all-time record when he plays at home as a head coach.
North Carolina A&T quarterback Lewis Kindle missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL. He returned in 2011 and had one of the best quarterbacking seasons in school history. Kindle threw for 2,020 yards, becoming just the fourth Aggie in school history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season. This season, Kindle has a chance to do something not even the great Alan Hooker accomplished. He could become the first quarterback in school history to have consecutive 2,000-yard passing seasons.
Junior defensive back D'Vonte Graham had a superb 2010 season. He led the MEAC in interceptions before having to sit out for personal reasons. Graham defended 15 passes and intercepted seven two seasons ago. His return his vital because the Aggies loss 2011 All-MEAC cornerback Justin Ferrell to graduation. Graham starts opposite University of Colorado transfer Ayodeji Olatoye at the cornerback position. The formidable duo should cause problems for teams.