Aggies Go After First 4-0 Start In 24 Years
*No. 15/No. 21 North Carolina A&T (3-0, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Morgan State (0-3, 0-0 MEAC)
*FCS Coaches Poll/STATS Media Poll
Date: Sept. 23, 2017
Time: 7 p.m.
Facility: Hughes Stadium (10,000)
Series: MSU leads, 43-37-3
Radio: 1320 AM/93.7 FM WCOG; Play-by-play – Donal Ware, Analysts – Al Swann
OFFENSIVE STARTERS FROM LAST GAME: WR Elijah Bell (6-2, 221, So., Leads the nation in receiving TDs); LT Brandon Parker (6-7, 309, R-Sr., three-time reigning O-Lineman of the week in the MEAC); LG Joshua Mattocks (6-3, 331, R-Sr., entering his fourth season as a starter); C Darriel Mack (6-2, 293, R-Sr., held his own against the FBS Charlotte 49ers); RG Daquan Blake (6-1, 290, Jr., Third-team All-MEAC); RT Marcus Pettiford (6-3, 274, R-So., Returns after one-year layoff); WR Khris Gardin (5-7, 185, Sr., did not have a punt return last week); TE Leroy Hill (6-3, 249, R-Jr., All-MEAC tight end); QB Lamar Raynard (6-4, 200, R-Jr., had his third straight game over 200 yards passing); RB Marquell Cartwright (5-8, 201, R-Jr., scored twice against the 49ers); RB Jamari Smith (5-10, 203, Gr., led the Aggies with four receptions).
DEFENSIVE STARTERS FROM LAST GAME: DE Sam Blue (6-1, 247, R-Jr., second on the team in tackles loss (4)); NG Kadarius Kendrick (6-4, 277, R-So., has filled in nicely at the nose guard position); DT Justin Cates (6-2, 275, Jr., had a career game at Charlotte, 3 sacks, 7 tackles and earned national acclaim); DE Darryl Johnson (6-5, 226, R-So., leads the team in TFL’s (4.5)); LB Julius Reynolds (5-9, 226, R-Jr., recorded seven tackles on Sat.); LB Kiaundric Richardson (6-0, 214, R-Jr., returned as a starter on Sat.); LB Marcus Albert (5-10, 205, R-Sr., led the Aggies with nine tackles, 1.5 for loss); ROV Jeremy Taylor (5-11, 190, R-Sr., had another solid game, seven tackles); CB Mac McCain (5-11, 174, R-Fr., pick-6 game-winner, enough said); FS Tard McCoy (5-9, 191, R-Sr., had seven tackles in the start); CB Timadre Abram (5-10, 168, R-Jr., Posted five tackles vs. Charlotte).
The Game: The quest to reach Atlanta starts in Baltimore on Saturday for North Carolina A&T as they face Morgan State in each team’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener. The Aggies are 33-15 in conference play under head coach Rod Broadway. They are 20-4 in conference play over the past three seasons with three of those losses coming to North Carolina Central and the other coming to South Carolina State. Morgan State enters the game without a point scored this season. The Bears’ competition has been difficult, however. The Bears have faced FBS school Rutgers, FCS nationally-ranked foe Albany and crosstown FCS rival Towson to open the season. Where they have lacked in offense, they have excelled in defense. The Bears are fourth in the MEAC in total defense and first in pass defense.
The Aggies are coming off another big win in the Broadway era. During Broadway’s tenure, the Aggies defeated Appalachian State who was in transition to FBS play in 2013. Last season, they defeated FBS institution Kent State in Kent, Ohio. Charlotte became the latest FBS to fall to N.C. A&T on Saturday as the Aggies used a pick-6 from redshirt freshman Mac McCain to down the 49ers 35-31. The Aggies continued to throw the ball well. Redshirt junior quarterback Lamar Raynard was 16-for-26 for 259 yards and a touchdown. Raynard has completed 72.2 percent of his passes on the season and ranks fifth in the nation in completion percentage. He has at least connected with seven different receivers in all three games. The defensive superstars last week were McCain and his two INTs that both led to touchdowns, and Justin Cates he posted three sacks.
News & Notes
- The Aggies are 3-0 for the first time since 2013, they are looking for their first 4-0 start since 1993. Neither season resulted in a MEAC title as the Aggies finished 7-4 in 2013 and 8-3 in 1993.
- A&T is off to a 3-0 start for the 20th time in the 94 seasons of Aggies football. The program is seeking its 15th 4-0 start.
- Redshirt junior quarterback Lamar Raynard has not thrown an interception in his last 118 throws. The Aggies are only one of 16 FCS programs not throw an interception this season.
- The last interception Raynard occurred on Oct. 29, 2016 against Florida A&M. Raynard leads the MEAC in passing yards per game (280.7) and completion percentage (.722).
- The Aggies are only one of 18 teams on the FCS level who are undefeated. N.C. A&T and Tennessee State are the only two undefeated FCS HBCU’s in the nation.
Opposing Point of View
“It makes a difference in people’s mind when you’ don’t score points. I am aware of that, I accept that. We’re going to go back to the drawing board and try to figure that out. But we get a fresh start this week. Heading into the MEAC is always exciting, we’re going to be competitive to the best of our ability in every single MEAC game. But at the same time, I don’t know North Carolina A&T is any different than the three teams (Towson, Albany, Rutgers) we just played. They’re pretty doggone good. It’s a tough start in the MEAC, but we’re excited about it. We get a chance to play at home, and we think they give us an opportunity to try to get some things done. It will be a challenge for us. They have good players, they’re big, they’re strong, they’re physical and they play with an attitude.”
Morgan State head coach Fred Farrier on facing the Aggies