North Carolina A&T (3-1, 1-1 MEAC) at Hampton (0-5, 0-1 MEAC)
Date: October 12, 2013
Time: 2 p.m.
Facility: Armstrong Stadium
Series: Hampton leads 25-15-2
Radio: WNAA 90.1 FM, Campus Radio Station: Spencer Gwynn (play-by-play); Billy Covington (color); Al Swann (analysis)
A&T OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Tarik Cohen (5-8, 170, Fr., 5.9 yds per carry); RB Dominique Drake (5-9, 202, Sr., 73 att., 261 yds, 3 TDs); RT Nathan Isles (6-5, 324, Sr.); QB Lewis Kindle (6-1, 205, Sr., 48-for-90, 558 yds passing, 3 TDs, 0 INTs); WR Desmond Lawrence (23 rec., 289 yds., 2 TDs, 12.6 yds per receptions); LT William Ray Robinson III (6-3, 305, R-Jr., MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week (9/16-9/22).
HAMPTON OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Antwon Chisholm (5-9, 175, Sr., 18 rec., 192 yds, 3 TDs, 10.7 ypr); RB Marcus Hampton (27 att., 121 yds, 4.5 yds per carry); WR Rayshad Riddick (5-9, 180, So., 18 rec., 152 yds, 1 TD, 8.4 ypr); QB Jaylian Williamson (5-10, 175, So., 69-for-130, 648 yds, 5 TDs, 4 INTs); LG Jamal Wilson (6-5, 325, preseason All-MEAC).
A&T DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: SS Travis Crosby (5-9, 189, Sr., leads the team with 39 tackles) CB D’Vonte Graham (5-7, 157, Sr., preseason All-MEAC, preseason All-American, 3 PBU, 1 INT); LB D’Vonte Grant (5-10, 208, Sr., 36 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1 INT return for TD, 1 BLK); DE Daniel Pinnix (6-1, 240, So., 15 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5.0 sacks, 3 QB hurries).
HAMPTON DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: DE Mike Grooms (6-4, 245, So., 18 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 2.5 sacks); MLB Delbert Tyler (5-11, 235, Sr., 54 tackles, tied for the team lead, 3.0 TFLs); SS Carvin Johnson (6-2, 205, Sr., 54 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, preseason All-MEAC).
Aggies Overview: The Aggies are coming off their first loss of the season, a conference loss to S.C. State in Atlanta. The Aggies are still not out of the MEAC race, but their margin for error has become very slim. The last MEAC team to win the title with more than one loss was in 1988 when Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and Delaware State shared the title with 4-2 records. But before the Aggies can think that far ahead, they must first concern themselves with a Hampton team they have struggled against over the past 10 years. The two teams have not met since 2010 thanks to conference expansion. Before the series was halted, the Pirates had won the last seven meetings, including a 35-21 win at Hampton in 2010. The Aggies are trying to back to their strong defensive ways after giving up 236 yards through the air last Saturday. The run defense, ranked third in the nation, is still solid. Offensively, the Aggies have featured the running back trio of Dominique Drake, Ricky Lewis and Tarik Cohen. Receiver Desmond Lawrence is tied for the conference lead in receptions per game (5.8).
Hampton Overview: Hampton comes into Saturday’s game winless, but the Pirates did have a week off to prepare for the Aggies. Hampton has been hampered offensively by turnovers. The Pirates have surrendered the ball to their opponents 15 times, while only forcing six turnovers. Sophomore quarterback Jaylian Williamson has thrown five touchdown passes this season, while completing 53.1 percent of his passes. The Pirates running game hasn’t fared as well. The Pirates are averaging just 2.5 yards per carry this season. Hampton is led defensively by middle linebacker Delbert Tyler and strong safety Carvin Johnson. Tyler and Johnson lead the team in tackles with 54. Johnson, who was a third-team preseason All-MEAC selection, has also broken up three passes.
Potential Star: Freshman running back Tarik Cohen has started to emerge as an offensive option. In his last two games, Cohen has rushed 14 times for 100 yards. He is still looking for his first collegiate touchdown. Cohen is averaging 5.9 yards per carry this season.
News & Notes:
The Aggies have had their troubles at Armstrong Stadium. The Aggies are 9-11 at Armstrong Stadium, but they are just 1-5 in their last six meetings to the nearly 90-year old stadium. The Pirates have defeated the Aggies by an average of 27 points and the Pirates have scored more than 35 points four times in the last six meetings at Armstrong Stadium. The Pirates have rushed for at least 200 yards in their last five meetings against the Aggies at Armstrong Stadium, including 312 yards rushing in 2010. The Aggies last win at Armstrong Stadium came in 2000.
North Carolina A&T has two defensive players who have the most experience on the team. Seniors D’Vonte Grant (LB) and Tyree Hearn (DE) have made 26 straight starts for the Aggies. It is the longest starting streak on the team. Hearn has played in more games than anyone with 34 games played.
From the Coach
“In Division I at the end of this season, there will probably at tops, be two undefeated teams. It’s hard to go undefeated. So we’ve just got to regroup, comeback and get better, especially in our protection in the kicking game. We gave momentum to Howard in the beginning of the second half with a blocked punt, and this time (vs. S.C. State) it cost us the game.”
A&T head football coach Rod Broadway on the Aggies losing their first game of the season