Savannah State (1-10, 0-7 MEAC) at North Carolina A&T (5-4, 2-4 MEAC)
Date: November 16, 2013
Time: 1 p.m.
Facility: Aggie Stadium
Series: First meeting
Radio: WNAA 90.1 FM, Campus Radio Station: Spencer Gwynn (play-by-play); Billy Covington (color); Al Swann (analysis)
Theme: Military Appreciation Day
A&T OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Darren Bullock (5-11, 184, So., 23 rec., 212 yds, 1 TD); RB Tarik Cohen (5-8, 170, Fr., leads the MEAC in rushing, 102.4 ypg); RT Nathan Isles (6-5, 324, Sr.); QB Lewis Kindle (6-1, 205, Sr., 106-for-191, 1,292 yds passing, 8 TDs, 6 INTs); WR Desmond Lawrence (34 rec., 376 yds, 3 TDs); LT William Ray Robinson III (6-3, 305, R-Jr.).
SAVANNAH STATE OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Simon Heyward (5-11, 185, 34 rec., 562 yds., 3 TDs); TE Kris Drummond (6-5, 215, Jr., 20 rec., 232 yds., 2 TDs); QB Antonio Bostick (6-1, 202, Sr., 125-for-237, 1,397 yds., 11 TDs, 78 rushing attempts, 181 yds., 1 TD); QB Leon Prunty (6-4, 220, Fr., 48-for-111, 3 INTs, 2 TDs); last week); FB Lereginald Veals (5-11, 187, So., 50 rush attempts, 165 yds.,).
A&T DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: SS Travis Crosby (5-9, 189, Sr., leads the team with 81 tackles); CB D’Vonte Graham (5-7, 157, Sr., 8 passes defended, 2 INTs for 57 yards); LB D’Vonte Grant (5-10, 208, Sr., 78 tackles, 10.0 TFLs, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 INT for TD, 2 forced fumbles, 2 BLKs); LB Brian Houston (5-11, 235, Sr., 78 tackles, 8.0 TFLs); CB Ayodeji Olatoye (6-1, 197, Sr., 2 INTs, 10 passes defended).
SAVANNAH STATE DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH: CB Josh Wilson (5-10, 175, Sr., 69 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 4 INTs, 13 passes defended); DE Micah Blount (6-2, 225, Sr., 52 tackles, 8.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks); S Marquis Smith (6-3, 225, Fr., 113 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 2 fumble recoveries); MLB Justin Dixon (5-11, 210, So., 113 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 4 passes defended).
Aggies Overview: The Aggies are going after back-to-back winning seasons. A win over Savannah State would secure that for the Aggies, marking the first time the program accomplished consecutive winning seasons since going 8-3 in 2000 and 2001. After starting 3-0, the Aggies have lost four games by a total of 16 points, including last week’s one-point loss at the buzzer to Morgan State. On the individual front, the Aggies are trying to help running back Tarik Cohen become the first Aggie freshman to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. With 75 yards on Saturday, he would become just the third freshman in MEAC history to accomplish the feat. Cohen leads the MEAC in rushing at 102.4 yards per game. If he leads the MEAC in rushing, he will mark the third time in four years an Aggie has led the MEAC in rushing. The Aggies also have three players, linebackers D’Vonte Grant and Brian Houston and safety Travis Crosby, who have a chance to record 100 tackles this season. Crosby is 19 stops shy, while Grant and Houston are 22 tackles shy of the mark.
Savannah State Overview: Savannah Sate makes its first trip to Aggie Stadium looking for their first-ever MEAC win, which would also give the Tigers their first-ever win over the Aggies. The Tigers are coming off of 42-14 loss to Howard, but they lost to Norfolk State, a team that beat conference-leader Bethune-Cookman, by only two points. The Tigers have an assortment of weapons at the wide receiver positions. Simon Heyward is a preseason All-MEAC selection who has compiled 562 yards receiving this season. He is fifth in the MEAC in receiving yards per game (51.1). Kris Drummond is one of the best tight ends in the conference and has two touchdown receptions on the season. The Tigers also have a pair of players who have more than 100 tackles in middle linebacker Justin Dixon and safety Marquis Smith.
Potential Star: Tarik Cohen is such an easy choice, but not many freshmen come in and rush for 1,000 yards in their first season. Most are lucky to even get on the field as freshmen. The Tigers have the 11th ranked rushing defense in the conference, so a big day by Cohen could propel the Aggies to victory on Saturday.
News & Notes:
A&T running back Tarik Cohen could find himself in not only rare air among A&T running backs, but also within the MEAC. Cohen rushed for 185 yards on Saturday, marking the fourth time in five weeks he has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game. On the season, Cohen has rushed for 925 yards, putting him 75 yards shy of 1,000 yards with two games remaining. Only six other Aggie running backs – James White, Milton Shaw, Maurice Hicks, Maurice Smith, Mike Ferguson and Mike Mayhew – have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Only two other freshman in MEAC history – Bethune Cookman’s Pa’Tell Troutman and Hampton’s Alonzo Coleman have gone over 1,000 yards in a season.
The Aggies Against MEAC Opponents for the first time North Carolina A&T and Savannah State will meet each other on the gridiron for the fi rst time ever on Saturday. The Aggies have had 10 other instances where the Aggies have faced an opponent for the fi rst time as a MEAC foe. The Aggies are 6-3-1 in those games. Saturday will mark the first time the Aggies have faced a conference opponent for the first time ever in school history. The following is the other MEAC debuts the Aggies have had against conference foes.
From the Coach
“Losing is at the core of who you are a lot times. It’s painful sometimes, but the beautiful thing about this game is that you have next week to get ready for again. As you sit here and think about things, we’ve had four games that we’ve lost by a total of 16 points. We’re so close, yet we’re just so far. He comes down to just basic fundamentals. We’re just not good fundamentally right now. We’ve just got to keep grinding and see if we can win these last two.”
A&T head football coach Rod Broadway on the Aggies close losses this season