Lewis Connection Works For A&T
GREENSBORO - There was great anticipation surrounding three men on Saturday. First, there was North Carolina A&T head football coach Rod Broadway. How would the Aggies, who haven't had a winning season in seven years, look under a man who has done nothing but win during his career?
Second, there was quarterback Lewis Kindle. After sitting out an entire season with an ACL injury in 2010, was he ready to lead the Aggies offense? Finally, there was local do-it-all athlete Ricky Lewis. With more playing time, could he dazzle Aggie fans the same way he dazzled Greensboro Dudley fans during his prep career?
All three men did not disappoint the Aggie faithful on Saturday as N.C. A&T defeated Virginia University of Lynchburg 38-7 at Aggie Stadium. It was Broadway's first win as Aggies head coach as his offense posted 431 yards and his defense held the Dragons to minus-16 yards rushing.
Kindle's numbers were also impressive. He threw for a career-high 341 yards and four touchdowns on 14-for-23 passing. It was the fourth-best passing performance in school history. Lewis added a career-best 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns on three receptions. Not to be forgotten, senior Wallace Miles finished with a career-high152 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.
"It's great to have an athlete like Ricky Lewis to throw to," said Kindle. "It makes my job a lot easier. He knows how to get open and do great things with the ball."
Lewis, who also doubles as the Kindle's backup, got the Aggies on the board midway through the second quarter. Kindle led Lewis perfectly on a crossing route that Lewis caught at the VUL 40-yard line and sprinted to the end zone for the score. A Jose Garcia-Camacho 20-yard field goal were the only other points the Aggies put on the board in the first half.
N.C. A&T had a tough time figuring out the Dragons because there was no film on the team. In fact, it was the Dragons first game played in more than 70 years. But the feeling out process was a lot easier in the second half. On the first play of the half, Kindle found Miles open for a 52-yard touchdown pass.
Eighteen seconds later, Dragons quarterback Emmanuel Yeager fumbled at his own 1-yard line, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run from Kindle that gave N.C. A&T a 24-0 lead. The Aggies third-quarter scoring continued as Kindle lofted up a pass to Lewis for a 34-yard score.
"Rick is a ball player," said Broadway. "He can do so many things, and he can do so many things well. You would like to have four or five of those guys. He would be unbelievable if we could put him in one position and leave him there, but because of our lack of numbers we have to put him at running back and quarterback and wide receiver too."
Lewis also returned three punts on Saturday. But despite the stellar play from Lewis, Kindle, Miles and the Aggies defense, Broadway wasn't all smiles. He was bothered by the Aggies six turnovers (all on fumbles) and 75 yards in penalties.
"We'll take the win," he said. "We'll enjoy it. Then we need to get back to work on Monday because we've got to get a lot better. Six turnovers are unacceptable in anyone's league."
The Aggies head to Boone, N.C., next week to face Appalachian State at 3:30 p.m. The Mountaineers, a top 5 team in Division I-FCS, lost to Division I and 13th-ranked Virginia Tech 66-13 on Saturday.
Sophomore linebacker Tony Clodfelter led the Aggies defensively with six tackles, one sack and two fumble recoveries. Junior linebacker Brandon Hover added six tackles and a quarterback hurry.