Aggies, 49ers Prepare For Highly-Anticipated Game
*No. 20/No. 25 North Carolina A&T (2-0) vs. Charlotte (0-2)
*FCS Coaches Poll/STATS Media Poll
Date: Sept. 16, 2017
Time: 6 p.m.
Facility: Jerry Richardson Stadium (15,000)
Series: First Meeting
Radio: 1320 AM/93.7 FM WCOG; Play-by-play – Donal Ware, Analysts – Al Swann
PROBABLE OFFENSIVE STARTERS: WR Elijah Bell (6-2, 221, So., Leads the nation in receiving TDs); LT Brandon Parker (6-7, 309, R-Sr., co-MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week); LG Joshua Mattocks (6-3, 331, R-Sr., entering his fourth season as a starter); C Darriel Mack (6-2, 293, R-Sr., graded out at 90 percent with knockdown blocks vs. Mars Hill); RG Daquan Blake (6-1, 290, Jr., Third-team All-MEAC); RT Marcus Pettiford (6-3, 274, R-So., Returns after one-year layoff); WR Ron Hunt (6-1, 181, So., Greensboro, N.C. He is another threat to spread the field); WR Khris Gardin (5-7, 185, Sr., Has 215 punt return yards this season); TE Leroy Hill (6-3, 249, R-Jr., All-MEAC tight end); QB Lamar Raynard (6-4, 200, R-Jr., reigning two-time MEAC co-offensive player of the week); RB Marquell Cartwright (5-8, 201, R-Jr., Recorded his second-career 100-yard game last week).
PROBABLE DEFENSIVE STARTERS: DE Sam Blue (6-1, 247, R-Jr., Had two tackles for loss vs. MHU); NG Kadarius Kendrick (6-4, 277, R-So., Had a half tackle for loss vs. MHU); DT Justin Cates (6-2, 275, Jr., Made three solo tackles vs. MHU); DE Darryl Johnson (6-5, 226, R-So., Posted 1 TFL vs. MHU); LB Julius Reynolds (5-9, 226, R-Jr., Had a 6-yard fumble return vs. MHU); LB Joshua Patrick (5-11, 223, Sr., Had five tackles (four unassisted) vs. MHU); LB Marcus Albert (5-10, 205, R-Sr., Five tackles, 1TFL vs. MHU); FS Jeremy Taylor (5-11, 190, R-Sr., Named MEAC co-defensive player of the week); CB Mac McCain (5-11, 174, R-Fr., 10 tackles and two breakups vs. MHU); ROV Richie Kittles (5-11, 195, R-So., 32-yard INT return last week); CB Timadre Abram (5-10, 168, R-Jr., Has good cover skills on the outside).
The Game: Records can sometimes be deceiving. The North Carolina A&T football team will go into this weekend’s game with a 2-0 record, two national rankings on the Football Championship Subdivision level and they have a red-hot offense. Meanwhile, the Charlotte 49ers are 0-2 and have been outscored 79-14 heading into their home opener on Saturday. But the 49ers come into the game with a distinct advantage in scholarship numbers as a Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision school who plays in Conference-USA. Plus, their two losses this season have come against great competition including nationally-ranked Kansas State. Therefore, the 49ers will be the toughest challenge the Aggies have faced this season.
N.C. A&T is coming off an easy win over Division II Mars Hill. Some offensive stars have emerged for the Aggies over the first two weeks of the season including redshirt junior quarterback Lamar Raynard who leads the country in completion percentage (.783), passing efficiency (237.0) and touchdown passes (8). Sophomore Elijah Bell leads the nation in receiving touchdowns (5) and total touchdowns. As a team, the Aggies are ranked eighth in the nation in passing offense, 17th in total offense and 35th in rushing offense. Defensively, the Aggies have yet to surrender a touchdown this season. The Aggies are fourth in the nation in total defense, while they have only surrendered 87 yards rushing to rank sixth in the nation. The Aggies also fixed aspects of their special teams last week by going 8-for-8 in extra points.
News & Notes
- The last time the Aggies played in Charlotte was Oct. 4, 2008 when the Aggies lost to N.C. Central 28-27 at American Legion Memorial Stadium. The Aggies are 5-11 all-time in the city of Charlotte.
- The biggest connection between N.C. A&T and Charlotte is Charlotte starting quarterback Hasaan Klugh. Klugh played for the Aggies during the 2014 season, where he started three games as a true freshman in place of an injured Kwashaun Quick. Klugh went 2-1 in those starts with a nationally-televised win over Hampton on Oct. 9, 2014. Klugh threw for 390 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in those starts while completing 42 of his 68 passes (.618) in that span.
- The Aggies have yet to give up a touchdown over the first two games. The last time that happened was 1949 when the Aggies gave up two points to Allen and shutout Virginia Union.
- Charlotte will be the fourth FBS school the Aggies have played since 2015 after playing only two FBS programs in thier history prior to the 2015 season. It took four overtimes, but the Aggies did secure their first-ever FBS win in school history a year ago by defeating Kent State 39-36 in Ohio. The Aggies are now 1-4 against FBS foes and have surrendered an average of 47.4 points in those contests.
Opposing Point of View
“They were a playoff team at the FCS level and have won a lot of games over the last few years. I think (Rod) Broadway has won 49 games since he has been there. Our guys are finally fired up about being back home and having the opportunity to play in front of our fans. Saturday is going to be a great environment and A&T will bring a good crowd, as well. Hopefully, plenty of our students come as they never have disappointed us. We’re going to have to play extremely well here at home to get this win.”
Charlotte head coach Brad Lambert on the visiting Aggies