Howard (4-1, 3-0 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T (2-3, 0-2 MEAC)
Date: October 13, 2012
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Stadium: Aggie Stadium
Series: A&T leads, 22-19-2
Radio: WNAA 90.1 FM; Campus Radio Station: Spencer Gwynn (play-by-play), Al Swann (color); Billy Covington (color), Mel Swann (halftime host).
Webstream: www.ncataggies.com; Walter Johnson (play-by-play), Alan Hooker (color)
CHIT CHAT: A win for North Carolina A&T could dramatically change what so far has been two disappointed conference losses. Meanwhile, a win for Howard means it can continue to march toward the school's first conference championship in 19 years. The Aggies hope to shake up what so far has been an unlikely scenario in the MEAC standings. S.C. State and Norfolk State are winless in the league, while N.C. Central, Howard and Morgan State are surging. The Aggies fully remember last season's heartbreaking 35-28 overtime loss to the Bison last season at Greene Stadium. The Aggies had trouble containing Bison quarterback Greg McGhee and running back Terrence Lefall. The two men combined for 338 yards of total offense. The Bison also feature All-American linebacker Keith Pough. The Aggies have a few offensive weapons of their own, including A&T all-time leading rusher Mike Mayhew and wide receiver Marquis Gorham, who has led the Aggies in receiving in each of their first five games. The Aggies also have an up and coming defensive standout in strong safety Travis Crosby.
It's A "Lock": Saturday's game should be a defensive stalemate. Both teams are two of the best in the nation in tackling the opponent behind the line of scrimmage. The Aggies are second in the nation in tackles for loss with 17 different players on the roster recording tackles for loss. The Bison are seventh in the nation in tackles for loss. A&T has the second best defense in the nation and the best in the MEAC. The Bison is first in the league in sacks with 3.0 per game.
Potential Gameday Star power: North Carolina A&T: Junior strong safety Travis Crosby has been tremendous this season. He has led the Aggies in tackles in four of their five games this season. From his defensive back position, he is tied for fifth in the league in tackles per game and eighth in tackles for loss per game. At his current 9.8 tackles per game pace, he could finish the season with more than 100 tackles. Howard: The Howard running game will test the Aggies impressive defensive status. Lefall has only played in two games this season, but he is averaging 113.0 yards in those games. Aquaniu Freeman filled in for him admirably for Lefall. He scored four touchdowns and averaged 67.0 yards per game.
The Magic Number For A&T: 1993: Nineteen years ago, Howard head coach Gary Harrell was a wide receiver for the Bison. He assisted in putting together one of the greatest games in Aggie Stadium history. In the end, Harrell's quarterback Jay Walker scored on 25-yard quarterback sneak to defeat the Aggies 42-35 in overtime. A&T was ranked fifth in the nation at the time. Harrell returns to Aggie Stadium on Saturday. A&T hopes to avenge the overtime loss from 1993 and the overtime loss from last season.
Fantasy League Pick: If this were a fantasy football league, a solid guy to play would be freshman kicker Zach Cimaglia. He has struggled a bit as of late, but he still has connected on eight field goals and he is due to get back on the hot streak het set earlier in the season.
FROM THE NOTES
Red Zone Blues
North Carolina A&T has been inside the opponents' 20-yard line 23 times this season. The Aggies have come away with a score 18 times, and they have scored a league-high 13 touchdowns. But the problems have come in during conference play. Against MEAC competition, the Aggies have entered the red zone eight times, but have come away with only three touchdowns. The frustration comes in when it is considered how close the Aggies' games have been. The Aggies lost by three to Morgan
State and were down by two to Bethune-Cookman in the third quarter. In conference play, the Aggies have thrown an interception, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs during red zone opportunities. The Aggies are tied for fifth in the MEAC in red zone offense.
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 is 6-2 at Aggie Stadium since becoming A&T's head football coach. In total , Broadway is 39-7 all-time when he plays at home as a head coach.
The 2014 Class
The one thing that concerns North Carolina A&T head coach is the Aggies' 2014 class. That's because there isn't one. In 2010, the Aggies were not able to pull together a recruiting class because of
NCAA sanctions due to a low APR score. APR scores measure a program's graduation rate. The Aggies have put initiatives in place in order to improve the score, but it will not change the fact the Aggies will lack senior leadership in 2014. The upside is that in 2015, the Aggies should have an impressive junior and senior class.