Elon (1-1) at North Carolina A&T (1-0)
Date: September 14, 2013
Time: 6 p.m.
Facility: Aggie Stadium
Series: Tied, 4-4
Radio: WNAA 90.1 FM, Campus Radio Station: Spencer Gwynn (play-by-play); Billy Covington (color); Al Swann (analysis)
Webstream: www.ncataggies.com, Walter Johnson (play-by-play)
A&T OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Dominique Drake (5-9, 202, Sr., 84 yds rushing, 2 rec., 18 yds); WR Desmond Lawrence (5-10, 181, 5 rec., 43 yds, 1TD); QB Kwashaun Quick (6-0, 185, So., 12-for-21, 1 INT, 1 TD); LT William Ray Robinson III (6-3, 305, R-Jr., first-team All-MEAC in 2012, surrendered only 1 sack); RT Nathan Isles (6-5, 324, Sr., will clear the way in the running game).
ELON OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Ricky Brown (5-9, 170, Jr., 7 rec., 110 yds); RB Tracey Coppedge (5-9, 166, So., 6.0 yds per carry, Phoenix leading rusher); WR Andre Davis (5-10, 192, So., 5 rec., 77 yds, 15.4 yds per catch, 1TD); C Clay Johnson (6-3, 266, Sr., 2nd-team preseason All-SoCon); QB Mike Quinn (6-3, 204, Jr., 46-for-69, 414 yds, 3 INT, 3 TDs); WR Rasaun Rorie (6-2, 203, Sr., 8 rec., 90 yds, 1 TD).
A&T DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: DB Travis Crosby (5-9, 189, Sr., 12 tackles, 1.5 TFLs) CB D’Vonte Graham (5-7, 157, Sr., preseason All-MEAC, preseason All-American); LB D’Vonte Grant (5-10, 208, Sr., 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT returned for TD, 1 BLK); DT Michael Neal (5-11, 264, So., 4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hurries).
ELON DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: LB Odell Benton (6-0, 210, Jr., 5 solo tackles, 2TFLs); LB Corey Mitchell (6-0, 224, R-Fr., 10 tackles, 1 TFL); LB Jonathan Spain (6-2, 242, Jr., 2nd-team All-SoCon in 2012 1st-team preseason All-SoCon in 2013); FS Chandler Wrightenberry (5-10, 205, Sr., 164 career tackles, five career INTs).
Aggies Overview: The Aggies are coming off one of the biggest wins in program history thanks to their 24-21 triumph over No. 21 Appalachian State at Kidd Brewer Stadium. It was the Aggies first-ever win at Appalachian State, and it was their first win over a ranked opponent in 10 years. The Aggies were rewarded for their victory. They are the No. 2 black college football team in the nation. Freshman punter Dominic Frescura earned national Special Teams Player of the Week honors from The Spots Network, and he came away with MEAC Rookie of the Week accolades. Senior linebacker D’Vonte Grant was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week after returning an interception 57 yards for a touchdown. The Aggies must step away from the thrill of the Mountaineers victory and focus on another tough SoCon opponent in Triad foe Elon. The Aggies are 22-10 in home openers since Aggie Stadium opened in 1981. A&T is 2-2 against the Phoenix at Aggie Stadium, but in both Elon wins, The Aggies were shutout. The two teams will be meeting for the first time in seven years as the Aggies are looking to avenge a 45-0 defeat to Elon in 2006.
Phoenix Overview: Elon will find out a lot about itself this week as it faces an opponent of its equal for the first time this season. The Phoenix opened the season with a 70-0 loss to Division I-BCS school Georgia Tech in Atlanta before beating Division II West Virginia Wesleyan 49-7 last week in Elon. Redshirt freshman running back B.J. Bennett was selected as the SoCon Freshman of the Week after scoring three rushing touchdowns against West Virginia Wesleyan last week. Junior quarterback Mike Quinn will be making his third career start. Quinn has completed 67.3 percent of his passes. His three main threats are junior wideout Kierre Brown, sophomore receiver Andre Davis and senior wide receiver Rasaun Rorie. Defensively, the Phoenix turn to first-team preseason All-SoCon linebacker Jonathan Spain. Redshirt freshman linebacker Corey Mitchell and sophomore linebacker Alexander Dawson lead the Phoenix with 10 tackles apiece.
Potential Star: It is always scary to say a punter is a potential star, but in the case of Dominic Frescura, he was nothing short of the Aggies MVP last week against Appalachian State. The California native pinned the Mountaineers inside their own 4-yard line four times last week and he boomed punts of 63 and 60 yards. If he punts like that this week, he will put the Aggies defense in excellent position to slow down the Phoenix’s offense.
News & Notes:
The Aggies are 22-10 in home openers since Aggie Stadium opened in 1981. Tonight’s game will mark the first time since 2009 the Aggies have not opened at home against a Division II opponent. This will mark the fourth straight season A&T has opened at home against a non-conference opponent.
The Aggies, who had the No. 2 defense in the nation last season thanks in part to their No. 3 rank rush defense, looked poised to have a repeat performance. The last time a team scored a rushing touchdown against the Aggies came on Oct. 20, 2012 when Delaware State scored on the ground. The Aggies have now gone five straight games and 22 straight quarters without surrendering a rushing touchdown.
The last time the Aggies defeated two SoCon teams in the same season came in 1993 when they defeated Appalachian State 22-10 and Western Carolina 34-7.
From the Coach
“Our motto is “win the kicking game.” With the two kickers we have, if we get better in that area, we can win some games. With the return guys that we have, we can make some plays. With D’Vonte Graham back there as our punt returner and Desmond Lawrence and Tony McRae returning kicks, we’ve got some guys back there who can make some plays for us if we block things up the right way.”
A&T head football coach Rod Broadway on the role the Aggies special teams will play