ORANGEBURG, S.C. - As Norfolk State turned the fortunes of its program around on Saturday by clinching its first-ever MEAC football title, a North Carolina A&T team looking to change its losing image this season could only sit back and think about what could have been.
Coming through on a 1st-and-goal at the 3-yard line, making a catch in the end zone or converting in the final seconds, and the Aggies might be celebrating an historic season. Instead, they lost another close one on Saturday.
S.C. State came back from an 11-point deficit and won its 11th straight over the Aggies with a 30-22 victory at Oliver C. Stadium Saturday afternoon. S.C. State head coach Buddy Pough remained undefeated (10-0) against the Aggies.
"I don't think we've accomplished anything this season," said N.C. A&T head coach Rod Broadway. "Here we are sitting at 4-6 even though we had an opportunity to have a really good football team. But we're not coached well enough and we don't play well enough. But we're going to get this fixed."
One of Broadway's main concerns is the Aggies inability to score points. For the third straight week, the Aggies offense failed to score any second-half points. Playing without starting running back Mike Mayhew most of the game didn't help matters.
N.C. A&T's defense gave the Aggies a chance as safety Travis Crosby intercepted quarterback Richard Cue's pass and returned it 55 yards to put the Aggies within eight with 12 minutes remaining. But the Aggies could not advance the football beyond the S.C. State 43.
The Aggies last attempt started at its own 20. After two completions to Demonta Brown, quarterback Lewis Kindle's last-second effort to Larry Raper only went 19 yards as the Aggies (4-6, 3-4) dropped their fourth straight.
"In the first half we had three turnovers that directly led to 17 points," said Broadway. "We're just not good enough to overcome those kinds of mistakes. As long as we keep making those types of mistakes, this is going to be our result."
The Aggies jumped out to a 14-3 lead as Kindle connected with Wallace Miles on a 28-yard touchdown after a flea flicker from Ricky Lewis in the second quarter. The game quickly turned in S.C. State's favor as Kindle's pass was thrown behind Raper and into the hands of De Quattlebaum for a 55-yard pick six.
On the Aggies next drive, Kindle's interception to Donovan Richard gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Aggies 39. Two plays later, Cue tossed a 37-yard touchdown to Tyler McDonald to give the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead with 6:14 remaining the first half.
Cue would add another touchdown pass and Bulldogs kicker added field goals from 45 and 48 yards to put the Bulldogs ahead by 16.
"We have to go to work, and start protecting the football," said Broadway. "We have to be a little bit tougher and a little bit smarter."
Wallace Miles was the upside for the Aggies. He finished with nine catches for 106 yards and touchdown. In doing so, he broke the Aggies single-season record for receiving yards, surpassing Herbert Harbison's 905 yards in 1985.
Miles is two receptions away from breaking Harbison and Brandon Trusty's single-season record for receptions (63), and he is 75 yards away from becoming the first Aggie to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season.