GREENVILLE (Sept. 2, 2018) –When North Carolina A&T quarterback Lamar Raynard (6-foot-4, 195, R-SR, High Point, N.C.) comes to the sideline after a series, there is one guy he can always count on to uplift him whether the series was good or bad and that’s the Aggies backup quarterback, Kylil Carter (5-10, 236, R-JR, Austell, Ga.).
On Sunday at East Carolina, the Walter Payton Award hopeful and reigning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year did not see it beneath him to do the same for Carter.
Carter came in to relieve Raynard late in the third quarter after Raynard went to the bench with an injury. Carter simply did what Carter often does when he is asked to pinch-hit. He led the Aggies to a come-from-behind win. Carter led the Aggies on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to down ECU 28-23 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
“I could have returned but Kylil was rolling,” said Raynard, who owns several single-season N.C. A&T school records. “You don't want to mess that up. You don't take out the guy with the hot had. He's got to stay in the game. He was perfect today."
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday but because of inclement weather in Greenville Saturday night, the game was moved to Sunday afternoon. The Aggies came into the game ranked 14thin the nation in Division I-FCS play. They improved to 2-0 by securing another colossus win. The win over the Pirates (0-1) marks the third straight year the Aggies have defeated a Division I-FBS program. This time they took down a team that plays in one of the better conferences in the country, the American Athletic Conference. It is the same conference that produced 13-0 Central Florida last season.
In the last three years, the Aggies have not only knocked off three FBS foes, they have also defeated two ranked FCS foes, both of whom were among the top-15 teams in the nation at the time N.C. A&T won.
“We have a bunch of guys who have a will to win,” said N.C. A&T coach Sam Washington who saw his team extend the longest current FCS winning streak in the nation to 14 games. N.C. A&T matched Central Florida for the longest current win streak amongst Division I teams.
“You can see that will to win every time these guys step on the field,” Washington continued. “When you have a bunch of guys who are willing to fight until the final whistle you can’t help but be successful. I’m proud of the way these guys hung in there. These men truly believe they can line up and be successful against any team in the country.”
N.C. A&T’s determination extends to its backup QB. With 2:47 remaining in the third quarter and the Aggies trailing 20-14, Raynard ran to left for a 2-yard gain. During the play, an ECU defender stepped on Raynard’s hard forcing him out of the game. In stepped Carter who three years ago came in relief for a banged up N.C. A&T QB unit and threw a game-winning TD to beat S.C. State.
Two years ago, he came in to relieve Raynard and helped the Aggies defeat Kent State for the Aggies first-ever FBS win. Carter’s ability as a running quarterback paid off immediately on Sunday. On his first play, he handed the ball off to running back Marquell Cartwright (5-8, 203, R-SR, High Point, N.C.) and finished out the fake forcing some of the ECU defense to follow him instead of focusing on Cartwright who ripped off a 33-yard gain. Carter had 14 yards rushing on the drive that ended with him finding receiver Zachary Leslie (6-3, 204, R-SO, Lawndale, N.C.) for a gorgeous one-hand 5-yard touchdown reception that gave the Aggies a 21-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“I always believe if you stay ready you don’t have to get ready,” said Carter.
A 22-yard field goal by ECU’s Jake Verity gave the Pirates the lead back at 23-21 with 10:02 to play. But Carter returned to the field and connected with a wide-open Malik Wilson (5-11, 166, R-SR, Burlington, N.C.) for a 49-yard reception on a crucial 3rd-and-14 from the Aggies 21-yard line. Wilson’s reception led to a 17-yard TD reception from Carter to receiver Elijah Bell (6-1, 222, JR, Wheeling, WVa.) to give the Aggies the lead for good at 28-23 with 7:05 remaining. It was Bell’s 21st career TD reception putting five away from the career school record.
The Aggies then turned the game over to their defense. After surrendering 50 plays to the Pirates in the first half, the Pirates were only able to get off seven plays on their next two drives. ECU had one more chance at the win as they took over at their own 38 with 2:07 to play. But on the final play of the game from the Aggies 37, ECU quarterback Reid Herring had his pass fall out of the hands of his receiver and into the hands of Aggies cornerback Timadre Abram (5-10, 168, R-SR, Lakeland, Fla.).
The Aggies are now 3-4 against FBS opponents and they are 170-79-9 all-time against in-state schools. Mac McCain III (5-11, 173, R-SO, Greensboro, N.C.) had a big day for N.C. A&T with 11 tackles four passes defenses and he posted his second career 100-yard interception return for a touchdown with a pick-6 in the first quarter that halted an ECU scoring threat and gave N.C. A&T a 7-3 lead.
Raynard led the Aggies on a key drive at the end of the first half as N.C. A&T went 86 yards in 11 plays. Leslie caught one of his two TD passes on the day with a 12-yard reception that slipped through the arms of an ECU defender into his arms to cut the Pirates lead to 17-14 at the half.
The Aggies will finally get a chance to play at home as they will host Gardner-Webb 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8 at BB&T Stadium.