No. 11/10 North Carolina A&T (4-1, 2-0 MEAC) vs. Florida A&M (5-1, 3-0 MEAC)
Date: October 20, 2019
Time: 2 p.m.
City/Venue: Tallahassee, Fla./Bragg Stadium (25,000)
Series: FAMU leads, 45-19-3
TV/Stream: ESPN 3
ESPN Triad Radio: Donal Ware (play-by-play); Al Swann (analyst)
1320 AM/93.7 FM Greensboro
1230 AM/104.9 FM High Point
920 AM/104.5 FM Burlington
The Matchup: The battle for the No. 1 spot in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) was put on hold for a day because of Tropical Storm Nestor. Nestor did not have much of an impact on the Tallahassee area, therefore, the conditions on Sunday should be good for the Aggies tilt with the Rattlers.
FAMU won last year’s matchup at BB&T Stadium, 22-21 after the Rattlers limited the Aggies to just three second-half possessions after the Aggies led by as many as 18, 21-3, in the first half. The Rattlers offense kept the ball nearly 20 minutes in the second half to upset the Aggies. FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley threw for 313 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 28-for-53 passing in last season’s contest.
Stanley returns this season and has a full complement of weapons to throw to this season. Stanley is completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,708 yards and 13 touchdowns. Stanley has thrown only four interceptions this season. Stanley leads the conference in passing yards per game, total offense and passing efficiency. His favorite targets this season have been Xavier Smith (595 yards receiving, five touchdowns and David Manigo (469, three touchdowns).
For the Aggies, it has been about the running game. Before the Aggies entered their bye week, junior running back Jah-Maine Martin led the nation in rushing yards, yards per carry, rushing touchdowns and scoring. Martin already has 11 rushing touchdowns this season putting eight touchdowns shy of Tarik Cohen’s single-season record.
Martin is also only 258 yards shy of becoming the next Aggies running back to have a 1,000-yard season. The Aggies passing game has not been bad either in 2019. Graduate quarterback Kylil Carter has been efficient this season completing 53 percent of his passes for 822 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. He has thrown 223 straight passes without throwing a pick.
Carter has thrown to senior Elijah Bell the most. Bell has 388 yards receiving and a touchdown on 28 receptions. Defensively, the Aggies are up to their normal stingy ways. The Aggies have the best defense in the conference giving up only 305.8 yards per game. They also have the best run defense in the MEAC. Middle linebacker Kyin Howard leads the way with 8.6 tackles per game which is third in the MEAC.
News & Notes
- Before losing to the Rattlers last season, the Aggies had won six straight over the Rattlers. It marked the longest winning streak for the Aggies in the series that dates back to 1938. The Aggies have not had much luck against the Rattlers in history, winning just 19 of the 67 games the two teams have played.
- N.C. A&T has been excellent on the road lately. The last time the Aggies lost away from home to an FCS opponent was in 2016 to Richmond in the NCAA playoffs. It is a streak of 14 straight games.
- A&T has looked dominant in their first two conference games outscoring their opponents by a total of 95-19. A&T has won their last six conference games dating back to last season. All six of those wins have been by double figures as their average margin of victory has been 29.2 points over that span.
- The Rattlers have a fantastic offense, but the Aggies defense has been reluctant to give up points this season. The last time the Aggies gave up more than 30 points in a conference game was on Oct. 15, 2016 at Bethune-Cookman. The Aggies won that game 52-35.
The Opposing Point of View
“We have a team rolling in that’s playing as good a football as anyone in the country right now. They have one of the top running backs in the country right now in Jah-Maine Martin. Any time you can average almost 10 yards every time you touch the football, you’re doing something special. They are doing a phenomenal job of using him, but he is not the only weapon they have. Elijah Bell is one of the best receivers in the league, Leslie is a big, long target and the quarterback can make some plays with his arms and his legs.”
Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons