NORTH CAROLINA A&T
(6-4, 4-3 MEAC) AT N.C. CENTRAL (6-4, 5-2 MEAC)
Date: November 17, 2012
Time: 2 p.m.
Stadium: O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium
Series: A&T leads, 47-31-5
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 and N.C Central will fight over which program can finish 7-4 in 2012. A 7-4 season will be a boost for each program. The Eagles, who are recent converts to Division I, would love to show such progress so early in their return to Division I life. Meanwhile, the Aggies have had many troubles since winning the MEAC Championship in 2003. Prior to the 2012 season, the Aggies were 17-61 since 2003. A 7-4 season would put a lot of those bad memories behind them as they look forward to a brighter future. Winning programs at A&T and NCCU would look favorably on the MEAC.
From the coaches:
North Carolina A&T
head coach Rod Broadway
"I'm extremely proud of our coaches and our players for getting us to this point. But we still have a big game left, and we need to prepare our butts off because we've got a tough opponent ahead of us. We've got to go to Durham and play a North Carolina Central team that is playing well at this time. This is a big game for us because it will be a big win for this team and this program."
North Carolina Central head coach Henry Frazier
"It's going to be an electric atmosphere. We're looking forward to the showdown. Both teams have had some success this year, so it's going to be a dogfight. They're a very disciplined team defensively. They're going to be exactly where they're supposed to be. They're making no mistakes on defense."
It's A "Lock": Mike Mayhew will be playing in his final collegiate football game. It will be debated about where he stands among the great running backs in A&T's history, but there is no doubt he belongs in the conversation. He is the only back in school history to rush for more than 3,000 yards in a career and just the 12th back in MEAC history to accomplish the feat. He has also been amazingly durable, which is going to make any pro scout notice. He has carried the ball a school-record 721 times, but has missed only one game in his career and that occurred during his first season. The Aggies are currently 17-24 over his four years. Imagine where the program would have been without his contributions.
Potential Gameday Star power: North Carolina A&T: D'Vonte Graham heads up an opportunistic A&T defense. Graham is also a weapon on special teams as the Aggies kickoff and punt returner. Graham has scored touchdowns four different ways this season - punt return, missed field goal return, interception return and fumble recovery return. Could there be a kickoff return for touchdown in his near future? NCCU: N.C. Central has a pretty good do-it-all gentleman on its team as well. Geovonie Irvine has three touchdown receptions and one punt return for touchdown. Irvine also handles the kickoff return responsibilities for the Aggies. It will be interesting to see these two playmakers do battle.
The Magic Number For A&T: 3: A North Carolina AT win will place the Aggies in a third-place tie in the MEAC standings. It's not first, but considering how long the program has been down, a third-place finish from a team that wasn't expected to be in the upper portion of the standings is tremendous.
FROM THE NOTES
North Carolina A&T has several streaks going heading into their game against N.C. Central Saturday. The Aggies are on a three-game winning streak. The last time the Aggies finished with a four-game winning streak or better was in 1968 when the Aggies close the season with wins over Winston-Salem State, Morgan State, Florida A&M, Virginia State and N.C. Central. The Aggies have also gone 14 straight quarters without surrendering an offensive touchdown and the Aggies have not thrown a touchdown pass in five games. The last touchdown pass thrown was a 24-yard completion to Marquis Gorham.
Players of the Week
William Robinson became the latest MEAC Player of the Week. Robinson, the Aggies starting left tackle, earned MEAC Offensive Lineman Player of the Week honors for the week ending Nov. 11. Robinson helped the Aggies compile 401 yards of total offense, while not allowing either Lewis Kindle or Kwashaun Quick to be sacked. The Aggies rushed for 250 yards led by Mike Mayhew's 141 yards. Robinson joins D'Vonte Graham and Zach Cimaglia as recipients of MEAC weekly accolades during the 2012 season. Cimaglia won MEAC Rookie of the Week for the week ending Sept. 18 after he connected on four field goals against Virginia University of Lynchburg. Graham secured MEAC Special Team Player of the Week honors for the week ending Oct. 28 after he returned a missed field goal 100 yards for a touchdown against Norfolk State.
A&T secured its first winning season in nine years on Saturday with its 17-7 win over S.C. State. It is the Aggies 46th winning season in 89 years of football. If the Aggies are able to beat N.C. Central on Saturday, they would have put together the school's eighth seven-win season. The Aggies eight-season drought without a winning season was the longest in program history.
North Carolina A&T has scored 30 touchdowns this season. Seven of those touchdowns were non-offensive. The Aggies have found all sorts of ways to score this season, including a 100-yard missed field goal return by D'Vonte Graham against Norfolk State on Oct. 27. The Aggies have also scored on a blocked punt by Dequan Swann. Demonta Brown recovered the ball in the end zone. The Aggies have also returned four interceptions for touchdowns, including two by D'Vonte Grant, one by Graham and another by Jeremy Days.