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North Carolina A&T (5-2, 3-1 MEAC) vs. S.C. State (5-2, 3-1 MEAC)
Date:
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m.
City/Venue: Orangeburg, S.C./Oliver C. Dawson Stadium (22,000)
Series: S.C. State leads, 31-21-2
TV Stream: ESPN3/ESPNU (tape delayed); Tiffany Green (play-by-play), Jay Walker (analyst)
ESPN Triad Radio: Donal Ware (play-by-play), Al Swann (analyst)
Radio Stations: 1320 AM/93.7 FM Greensboro; 1230 AM/104.9 High Point; 920 AM/104.5 FM Burlington

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The Matchup: The Aggies find themselves in another battle for MEAC supremacy on Saturday as they travel to Orangeburg, S.C. to face a S.C. State program that is always usually in the mix for a MEAC title. S.C. State and N.C. A&T are 1,2 all-time in MEAC championships with the Bulldogs claiming 16 and the Aggies owning 10. The teams have also been relevant this decade with the Aggies capturing four titles and the Bulldogs securing three conference titles this decade.

Saturday’s winner will still be in strong contention for another MEAC title which could yield a berth to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The loser will need tons of help getting to the ATL. Both teams come into the game with stingy defenses.

The Aggies and the Bulldogs are 1,2 in the conference in scoring defense with the Aggies allowing 20.9 points per game and the Bulldogs permitting 23.3 points per game. In conference play, the Aggies are only giving up 14.8 points per game and the Bulldogs give up 23.8 points. Both teams are also 1,2 in rushing defense with the Aggies giving up 84.6 rush yards per game and the Bulldogs surrendering 96.0 rush yards per contest.

In total defense, the Aggies have the No. 1 defense in the MEAC while the Bulldogs are ranked third. Each defense will be challenged, however. Neither offense is anemic. In fact, the Aggies will bring to Orangeburg the No. 1 offense in the conference posting 448.3 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs possess the third-best offense in the league (373.4).

Last week, the Bulldogs handed Bethune-Cookman their first conference loss with a 27-19 triumph in Daytona Beach, Fla. Labron Morris rushed for 108 yards and quarterback Tyrece Nick compiled 88 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries. Nick was also 7-for-9 passing for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Bulldogs also use Corey Fields at quarterback with Nick believed to be the better runner and Fields the better passer.

N.C. A&T junior running back Jah-Maine Martin had a terrific day and it only took him seven carries to make it happen. Martin had three touchdowns and 138 yards rushing in a short outing as the Aggies routed Howard 64-6 at the Greatest Homecoming on Earth. Martin earned a helmet from former NFL wide receiver Joey Galloway on ESPN’s College Football Final show for his efforts.

Wide receivers Zachary Leslie and Elijah Bell combined for 214 yards receiving and three touchdowns as Leslie caught four passes for 120 yards and a TD. Bell had five catches for 94 yards and two TDs.

Freshman linebacker Jacob Roberts led the Aggies defensively with 15 tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks.

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News & Notes

  • N.C. A&T dominated the MEAC weekly honors this week. Roberts was named MEAC rookie and defensive player of the week. Roberts also earned FCS STATS national freshman of the week honors. Martin was named offensive player of the week for the third time this season, and Marcus Pettiford was named offensive lineman of the week for the third time. The Aggies have 13 weekly honors this season. They also have two national honors with Martin earning FCS STATS offensive player of the week honors after rushing for 299 yards and two touchdowns at Charleston Southern.
  • The Aggies made a couple of moves up the national polls this week. In the FCS STATS poll, the Aggies moved from No. 18 to No. 16. They did the same in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) coaches’ poll.
  • In the black college football polls, the Aggies remained No 2 in the Power News Radio Network (PNRN) poll behind Florida A&M. The Aggies received seven first-place votes while the Rattlers secured 17. N.C. A&T was followed by Alcorn State, S.C. State and Southern. In the BoxToRow poll, the Aggies moved up from fourth to third. They are behind Florida A&M and Alcorn State in the poll and followed by S.C. State and Bethune-Cookman in the top-5.
  • Martin is 49 yards shy of reaching 1,000 yards for the season. When he gets there, it will mark the ninth time in the past 10 seasons an Aggie has rushed for 1,000 yards in a season. 

TALE OF THE TAPE (per game)

Statistical Category

A&T

SCSU

Total Offense

448.3

373.4

Total Defense

292.4

332.1

Rushing Offense

247.4

162.1

Rushing Defense

84.6

96.0

Pass Offense

200.9

211.3

Pass Defense

207.9

236.1

Scoring Offense

36.3

29.3

Scoring Defense

20.9

23.3

     

The Opposing Point of View

“A&T might be as impressive as any team I have ever seen in this league in all the years I’ve been in this league as a player and a coach. They have a little bit of everything. Every year I see them, they seem to be more talented and better coached. I don’t know exactly where to start when you talk about preparing for A&T. It’s kind of a mystery. I saw them play against Duke, and I think Duke is a pretty good program and they had Duke down for a little while. We have our work cut out for us but I’m glad it’s here.”

S.C. State head coach Buddy Pough