GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T had trouble moving the ball offensively on Saturday in a 12-7 loss to Delaware State at Aggie Stadium. It marked the Aggies third straight loss, and it ended what was a seven-game home winning streak for A&T.
A&T’s offense was hampered by bad shotgun snaps, the inability to get the ball down the field on the pass and the Aggies converted one third down in 14 tries.
“We did not make enough plays to win the game,” said A&T head coach Rod Broadway. “We just have to go back to work, see if we can get it fixed and do a little better next week because we weren’t very good this week.”
The Aggies (3-3, 1-3 MEAC) had to play without Ronald Canty, a two-year starter at center. Without him, the Aggies had a few problems when they lined up in shotgun formation. Long snaps were often over the head of quarterback Lewis Kindle, or he had to reach up and grab it to prevent it from soaring over his head. The Aggies had losses of 25, 6 and 8 on bad snaps. Even when the ball didn’t get away, the high snaps disturbed the rhythm of the play.
“It’s no excuse, but we started a freshman at center,” said Broadway. “We started a freshman at guard, and we lost a few defensive linemen. We are down four starters on our offensive and defensive lines, but we expect the guys we put in to play well. It’s a growing process with freshmen. Not too many guys come here and can play right away.”
A&T’s first half also included an interception in Aggies territory, only two first downs and a change at quarterback. Sophomore quarterback Kwashaun Quick replaced Kindle at quarterback for two series in the second quarter. Quick, whose first drive started at the A&T 2-yard line, completed one pass for five yards in five attempts.
“We wanted to give Quick a few series,” said Broadway.
Despite the setbacks, the Hornets were not able to take advantage. The Hornets had three drives start inside A&T territory in the first half but still managed just two field goals, 37 and 43 yarders by Mitchell Ward for a 6-0 halftime lead.
The Hornets added to their lead in the third quarter with a 15-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown by Lamar Shaw to give DSU a 12-0 lead after the two-point conversion failed.
Offensive output was a little better for the Aggies in the second half. They tried to answer Shaw’s touchdown run with an impressive drive of their own. Thanks to a 14-yard by Cohen and an 11-yard completion to Darren Bullock, the Aggies moved the ball to the DSU 19. But Aggies kicker Cody Jones could not put the Aggies on the board as he missed wide right on a 36-yard field goal. A&T moved inside the Hornets 40 three times in the second half but did not find a situation suitable to convert a fourth down.
“We could not get into position. All of our fourth downs were long yards and when we would get down there we would get a penalty or something else to knock us out,” said Broadway. “We were in their territory quite a bit, but we would make a mistake, a holding call that knocked us out. We have to clean up a lot of things because we are making too many mistakes.”
A&T, who had not scored against Delaware State in seven quarters, broke through with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Kindle to Desmond Lawrence with 1:57 remaining in the game. After the extra point, the Aggies tried an onside kick, but DSU linebacker Ernest Adeji recovered, sealing the win for the Hornets (3-4, 3-1 MEAC).
The bright spot for the Aggies on offense was Cohen who rushed for 91 yards on 19 carries. Defensively, the Aggies were led by Brian Houston’s 17 tackles. Milton Williams III had 100 yards receiving for the Hornets. The Aggies travel to Florida A&M next Saturday to face the Rattlers at 2 p.m.