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Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information

Aggies Can Win Ninth MEAC Title On Saturday

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 11/10/2017

*No. 7/9 North Carolina A&T (9-0, 6-0 MEAC) vs. Savannah State (2-7, 2-4 MEAC)
*FCS Coaches Poll/STATS Media Poll
Date: Nov. 11, 2017    
Time: 1 p.m.
Facility: Aggie Stadium (21,500)  
Series: A&T leads, 2-0        
Radio: ESPN Triad Radio (1320 AM, 93.7 FM, 104.9 FM, 1230 AM); Play-by-play – Donal Ware, Analysts – Al Swann and Billy Covington

OFFENSIVE STARTERS FROM LAST GAME: WR Elijah Bell (6-2, 221, So., has an outside chance to have a 1,000-yard season); LT Brandon Parker (6-7, 309, R-Sr., has six MEAC offensive lineman of the week honors); LG Joshua Mattocks (6-3, 331, R-Sr., graded out 78 percent vs. Norfolk State last week); C Darriel Mack (6-2, 293, R-Sr., he is second on the team in knockdown blocks at 36); RG Daquan Blake (6-1, 290, Sr., a hardworking lineman who makes maximum effort every week); RT Marcus Pettiford (6-3, 274, R-So., Has the potential to be the next dominant lineman at A&T); TE Trey Scott (6-1, 220, Gr., Scott has 20 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns on the season); WR Ron Hunt (6-1, 181, So., Hunt is averaging 9.4 yards per receptions on 14 catches); WR Khris Gardin (5-7, 185, Sr., leads the conference in kickoff return average at 28.5 per return); QB Lamar Raynard (6-4, 200, R-Jr., Raynard is now owns the single-season passing record at N.C. A&T); RB Marquell Cartwright (5-8, 201, R-Jr., Cartwright needs 107 yards for a 1,000-yard season).  

DEFENSIVE STARTERS FROM LAST GAME: DE Kenneth Melton (6-2, 235, R-Sr., has 6.5 tackles for loss despite missing time); NG Jermaine Williams (6-1, 301, R-So., he is one of five Aggies with more than five tackles for loss); DT Julian McKnight (6-3, 280, R-Jr., his return will be crucial for the Aggies down the stretch); DE Darryl Johnson (6-5, 226, R-So., leads the team in tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (6.5)); LB Deion Jones (5-11, 202, R-Jr., tied for second on the team in tackles with 35); LB Kiaundric Richardson (6-0, 214, R-Jr., he is a great leader on the Aggies defense); LB Marcus Albert (5-10, 205, R-Sr., has 33 tackles and eight tackles for loss on the season); FS Jamaal Darden (5-9, 188, Sr., posted his first career interception last week at NSU); CB Mac McCain (5-11, 174, R-Fr., he has three pick-6’s on the season and has had a chance at three more); ROV Jeremy Taylor (5-11, 190, R-Sr., scored the Aggies fifth defensive touchdown of the season last week at NSU); CB Timadre Abram (5-10, 168, R-Jr., has a chance to be an all-conference corner).   

The Game: The N.C. A&T Aggies have a chance to win a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a win over Savannah State on Saturday. A win could also secure an NCAA FCS playoff spot if the Aggies do not make the Celebration Bowl. The Aggies were recently ranked No. 10 by the FCS Selection Committee. If the Aggies win a share of the title on Saturday, it will be their third conference title in four years and their ninth MEAC championship. N.C. A&T could win the title outright and secure a Celebration Bowl bid if North Carolina Central loses at home to Bethune-Cookman and Howard loses at home to Norfolk State. In that scenario, the Aggies will have their first outright MEAC title in 14 years. N.C. A&T faces a Savannah State team that has won two straight.

N.C. A&T is coming off a convincing 35-7 win over Norfolk State. The win made the 2017 Aggies the first team in school history to start 9-0. If the Aggies close out with three straight wins, they will become the first MEAC team in history to finish an entire season undefeated. There have been teams who have finished the regular season undefeated. Junior quarterback Lamar Raynard has already broken two single-season school records thus far. He broke Maseo Bolin’s 1995 single-season passing record, and he broke Alan Hooker’s 1986 total offense record. He has a chance at two more single-season marks on Saturday. Two touchdown passes would give him Hooker’s single-season TD passes record and another TD – rushing or passing – would give him Hooker’s 1985 touchdown responsible for mark.

News & Notes

  • Head coach Rod Broadway could win his sixth overall conference title if the Aggies win on Saturday. Broadway won two conference titles at N.C. Central, one at Grambling and is headed toward his third at N.C. A&T.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Elijah Bell scored his ninth receiving touchdown of the season on at Florida A&M on Oct. 14. He is two touchdown receptions short of breaking the single-season record held by Denzel Keyes (2016) and Craig Thompson (1991). Savannah State marks the third straight game in which he has been two TD’s shy of reaching the mark. Bell’s 699 receiving yards ranks seventh best all time heading into this weekend.
  • The last time N.C. A&T and Savannah State played was in 2014, therefore, there are very few Aggies who played in the game. Among those players are WR Xavier Griffin, LT Brandon Parker, RB Marquell Cartwright, DE Kenneth Melton, WR Khris Gardin and WR Caleb Gabriel.
  • N.C. A&T held the Spartans to negative yards rushing. It marked the fifth time the Aggies have held an opponent to negative yards rushing. It is the second time this season after holding Delaware State to negative yards rushing. They have held opponents under 100 yards rushing 44 times and under 50 yards 24 times.

 Opposing Point of View

 “I think it is a great opportunity when you are trying to build your team. You want to play against teams like A&T so you can show your players this is what it takes this is how you have to play if you want a chance to compete for championships. It will be difficult for sure – they are excellent in all three phases – but I think it is good for your team when you’re trying to build your program to play against programs like A&T.”   

 Savannah State head coach Eric Raeburn on facing N.C. A&T