GREENSBORO - North Carolina A&T's 16-3 win over Florida A&M on Saturday marked the Aggies first win over the Rattlers in nine tries dating back to 2003. But the win was especially gratifying for the Aggies' Tallahassee Three. Cornerback D'Vonte Graham, a junior out of Tallahassee Lincoln High School, has one more season. But for senior defensive end Tony Mashburn and senior linebacker Brandon Hover, this was the last chance to beat the school they grew up following.
"It means a lot to me," Mashburn said. "I can talk trash when I go back home. I have some bragging rights now. It's a big accomplishment for our team. It means we're taking steps in the right direction to rebuild this program."
It was a frustrating previous three years for the Tallahassee Three. The Aggies had lost their previous three games against the Rattlers by a total of 13 points, including a 22-19 overtime loss at Aggie Stadium in 2010. All three Tallahassee natives play on the defensive side of the ball, which was this year's deciding factor. The Aggies defense did not allow an offensive touchdown for the fourth time this season.
Mashburn, also a graduate Tallahassee Lincoln, had seven tackles and a sack. Hover, a graduate of Tallahassee Godby High School, finished with five tackles.
ONE MORE LEFT: From the moment North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway stepped into the press room, you could tell S.C. State was on his mind. The Aggies ended a nine-game losing streak to Florida A&M on Saturday. It leaves S.C. State, next week's opponent, as the only MEAC team (that has been on the Aggies schedule) the Aggies have failed to beat during the Broadway two-year era. The losing streak to the Bulldogs is an astounding 11 games, dating back to the 2000 season.
"It's going to be a big game for us this week," Broadway said. "We've got to enjoy this one for the next two or three minutes and then move on to South Carolina State and figure out how to win that one."
The Aggies have not played conference newcomer Savannah State or Hampton over the past two years. Those two teams will rotate onto the schedule next season while Norfolk State and Bethune-Cookman will rotate off. But at this point in his tenure as head coach of A&T, he is not picking and choosing what wins are more important than others.
"Let me say this, all wins are big wins," Broadway said. "From where we are to where we're trying to go, we'll take them all. I think we're on the right path in terms of trying to build our program, and trying to get to the point where we can compete for championships. (Our first win over FAMU in nine years) was a step in the right direction, beating one of the premier teams in our league."
TIDBITS FROM THE FAMU GAME: Before Saturday's game, Florida A&M head coach Joe Taylor announced his retirement. In 30 seasons as a head coach, Taylor has won more than 230 games. Twelve of those wins have come against A&T. In fact, Saturday marked the first time the Aggies have beat a Taylor-coached team since 2003 when the Aggies beat Hampton 38-28. Taylor is 12-5 all-time versus A&T. ..Florida A&M's three points were the fewest points scored by the Rattlers in the series since 1975 when they game ended in a scoreless tie...A&T kicker Zach Cimaglia kicked three field goals on Saturday. He has made 13 field goals this season, which is two shy of the school record held by Yonnick Matthews who had 15 in 2003. He is also four field goal attempts shy of tying Matthews' single-season record of 24. Cimaglia already holds the single-season school record for field goals made by a freshman.