11/15/2016 4:13:00 PM
#9 North Carolina A&T State Univ. "Aggies" vs. #20 North Carolina Central Univ. "Eagles"
Saturday, November 19, 2016 – Kickoff at 2:00 p.m.
O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium (10,000 capacity/Mondoturf) - Durham, N.C.
#20 N.C. Central (8-2 overall, 7-0 MEAC); #9 N.C. A&T (9-1 overall, 7-0 MEAC)
Audio: NCCU Sports Network "GameCentral" at NCCUEaglePride.com (audio internet stream). Broadcast starts at 1:30 p.m. (Jonathan Duren, play-by-play; Joe Simmons, color analyst).
Video: Live on ESPN3/WatchESPN app. Tape delay on ESPNU (time TBA). Broadcast starts at 2:00 p.m. (Eric Clemons, play-by-play; Jay Walker, color analyst).
• Rivals NCCU and NC A&T clash as nationally-ranked, conference-undefeated teams, playing for the outright MEAC Championship and the league's invitation to the second annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 17 (12 p.m., ABC) at the Georgia Dome against the SWAC champion.
• For the third straight year, the Eagles and Aggies will meet on the gridiron with the MEAC Championship on the line.
• Saturday's winner will be the first outright MEAC champion since 2012. NCCU and NC A&T were part of multiple-team ties in 2014 and 2015.
• NCCU is attempting to be the first team in school history to win a third straight conference championship.
• NCCU jumps five spots to No. 20 in this week's FCS Coaches Poll, and enters the STATS FCS Top 25 poll for the first time at No. 24.
• North Carolina A&T leads the series 49-33-5, but NCCU has defeated the Aggies in the last to meetings to earn a share of the MEAC Championship.
• NCCU has won 15 consecutive games against non-FBS opponents, including 14 in-a-row versus MEAC teams.
• NCCU owns a 20-3 record against MEAC opponents in the last three seasons under head coach Jerry Mack, including a 2-0 mark against NC A&T.
• Jerry Mack is the first NCCU coach to win 23 games in his first three seasons.
• Quarterback Malcolm Bell tops the MEAC and ranks 26th nationally (FCS) in points responsible for with 134 (15 passing, 7 rushing touchdowns).
• NCCU redshirt senior quarterback Malcolm Bell jumped from fourth to second on NCCU's career passing list thanks to 223 yards passing against Howard. Among NCCU career leaders, Bell ranks second in passing (5,916 yards), second in total offense (7,258 yards), and 13th in rushing (1,342 yards).
• NCCU's defense ranks second in the conference and fifth in NCAA Division I-FCS with an average of 8.5 tackles for loss per game (85 total TFL). The Eagles are also second in the league and tied for 10th in FCS with 29 sacks (2.90 per game).
• Former NCCU head football coach Rod Broadway is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Aggies. Broadway led the Eagles to back-to-back CIAA championships in 2005 and 2006.
• NCCU received national ranking for first time since reclassifying to NCAA Division I-FCS in 2011, entering Nov. 7 FCS Coaches Poll at No. 25.
• NCCU beat Bethune-Cookman 31-14 on Oct. 1 for the Eagles' first win in the series with the Wildcats since 1994, ending a six-game losing skid.
• NCCU broke a school record with 32 first downs versus St. Augustine's on Sept. 17.
• NCCU's 676 yards of total offense versus St. Augustine's ranks second only to the 684 total yards amassed by the 1982 Eagles against Bowie State. The 414 passing yards against the Falcons places fourth in the NCCU record books and are the most by the Eagles since 1988.
• NCCU's 21 points against Western Michigan are the most scored by the Eagles in nine contests against FBS competition.
• NCCU's five fumble recoveries versus Duke on Sept. 3 are the most by the Eagles since 2010.
FLASHBACK TO 2015
• NCCU repeated as co-champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) with a 7-1 conference record.
• The Eagles posted the most wins as a NCAA Division I-FCS program with an 8-3 overall record.
• The Eagles earned the program's second win over a nationally-ranked FCS opponent by defeating No. 13/16 North Carolina A&T in the final game of the season on Nov. 21, 2015.
• NCCU closed out season on a seven-game winning streak.
• NCCU ranked No. 1 in the nation (FCS) in fourth down conversion percentage defense (8.3%) - allowing only one fourth down conversion all season (12 attempts) - and fourth down conversion percentage offense (81.8%/9 of 11).
This will be the 88th meeting between the Eagles and Aggies, dating back to 1924 when NC A&T tied NCCU, 13-13, in Durham, North Carolina. The Aggies lead the series 49-33-5. NC A&T has won 18 of the last 25 meetings. NCCU has won six of the last 10 contests, including two in-a-row. Eight of the last 11 games have been decided by seven points or less.
11/21/2015 - NCCU 21, #13/16 NCA&T 16 (Greensboro, N.C.)
11/22/2014 - NCCU 21, #24 NCA&T 14 (Durham, N.C.)
11/23/2013 - NCA&T 28, NCCU 0 (Greensboro, N.C.)
11/17/2012 - NCA&T 22, NCCU 16 OT (Durham, N.C.)
11/19/2011 - NCA&T 31, NCCU 21 (Greensboro, N.C.)
09/25/2010 - NCCU 27, NCA&T 16 (Durham, N.C.)
10/03/2009 - NCA&T 23, NCCU 17 OT2 (Greensboro, N.C.)
10/04/2008 - NCCU 28, NCA&T 27 (Charlotte, N.C.)
09/22/2007 - NCCU 27, NCA&T 22 (Greensboro, N.C.)
09/05/2005 - NCCU 23, NCA&T 22 (Raleigh, N.C.)
09/05/2004 - NCA&T 16, NCCU 15 (Raleigh, N.C.)
08/31/2003 - NCA&T 25, NCCU 0 (Raleigh, N.C.)
09/01/2002 - NCCU 33, NCA&T 30 OT (Raleigh, N.C.)
09/01/2001 - NCA&T 22, NCCU 0 (Raleigh, N.C.)
(Complete game-by-game series on last page of game notes)
THE LAST MEETING
(NCCU 21, #13 NC A&T 16 - Greensboro, N.C. - Nov. 21, 2015) With the MEAC regular-season title on the line, NCCU knocked off nationally-ranked rival North Carolina A&T to earn a share of the conference championship for the second straight year, as the Eagles beat the Aggies 21-16 for their seventh win in-a-row. In front of a near-capacity crowd of 18,409 inside Aggie Stadium, the visiting Eagles amassed 393 yards of total offense, including 193 yards on the ground against the No. 1 rushing defense in the nation. Entering the contest, NC A&T, ranked 13th in the FCS coaches poll, had allowed opponents only 73.7 rushing yards per game to top the NCAA Division I-FCS. NCCU redshirt freshman running back Dorrel McClain had 74 yards rushing in the first half, and finished with a season-high 167 yards and a touchdown on the ground. NCCU junior quarterback Malcolm Bell also ran for a score, while completing 14-of-28 passes for 200 yards through the air. His favorite target was junior receiver LaVontis Smith, who caught seven passes for 123 yards, a season-best for any Eagles' receiver. Smith also ignited the NCCU faithful with a 67-yard punt return touchdown.
(#25 NCCU 30, Howard 21 - Durham, N.C.) Senior quarterback Malcolm Bell amassed 345 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns to lead No. 25 North Carolina Central University to a 30-21 victory over Howard University on Saturday inside O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium. Bell's 223 yards and a touchdown through the air against Howard moves the three-year starter into second on NCCU's career passing list with 5,916 yards. With an average of 11.1 yards per carry and two touchdown runs against the Bison, Bell's 122 rushing yards on Saturday are the most by an NCCU quarterback since September 1999. NCCU sophomore running back Ramone Simpson rushed for 81 yards and a score, while redshirt freshman Torri Cotton contributed 45 yards rushing, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Jalen Wilkes caught five passes for 64 yards to top the Eagles, followed by LaVontis Smith with four receptions for 58 yards. David Miller had three grabs for 36 yards, including a diving catch in the end zone, and freshman tight end Maleek Henderson also tallied three receptions for 36 yards. Senior linebacker LeGrande Harley recorded a team-high nine tackles, including a huge stop for a loss on third down and short yardage to spark NCCU. Safety Alden McClellon collected eight takedowns, while Mike Jones, Jeremy Miles and Reggie Hunter chipped in six tackles each. Hunter closed out the game with his team-best fourth interception of the season, all coming in the last three outings. Antonio Brown had four tackles with two solo sacks to bring his season total to 7.0 sacks, tops on the squad. NCCU finished the contest with 477 yards of total offense (254 rushing, 223 passing), while Howard posted 422 total yards.
(#9 NC A&T 45, Delaware State 14 - Dover, Del.) NC A&T running back Tarik Cohen had touchdown runs 59 and 84 to lead the Aggies with 221 yards on 13 carries during a 45-14 road victory over Delaware State. A&T amassed 519 yards of total offense, including 351 yards on the ground. Quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro completed 12 of 24 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. The Aggies defense recorded 16 tackles for a loss, including four sacks, against the Hornets.
NCCU: Jerry Mack (Arkansas State, 2003) is in his third season as a college head coach. He boasts 11 years of coaching experience, including stints with five NCAA Division I programs and three conference championship teams. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Mack has held positions as wide receivers coach at the University of South Alabama (2012-13) and the University of Memphis (2011), as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2010), as passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of Central Arkansas (2008-09), as wide receivers and tight ends coach at Jackson State University (2006-07), and as an offensive graduate assistant at Delta State University (2004-05). Mack began his collegiate playing career at Jackson State before transferring after one season (1999) to Arkansas State University. He lettered three years at Arkansas State (2001-03) before earning his bachelor's degree in management information systems in 2003. Mack completed his master's degree in physical education from Delta State in 2006.
North Carolina A&T: In his sixth season as the head coach of the Aggies football program, Rod Broadway (North Carolina, 1977) is no stranger to NCCU. He was head coach at NCCU from 2003-06, guiding the Eagles to 33 victories with the best winning percentage in school history (.750), back-to-back CIAA championships in 2005 and 2006, and a 2006 Black College Football National Championship with an 11-0 regular-season record. Following NCCU, Broadway spent four seasons as the head coach at Grambling, where the Tigers posted a 35-12 record.
MACK OFF TO FAST START AS NCCU HEAD COACH
Jerry Mack is the first NCCU football head coach to win 23 games in his first three seasons, passing Rod Broadway's 22 victories from 2003-05. After the Eagles went 7-5 in Mack's first season for a share of the MEAC title, and 8-3 in 2015 for consecutive MEAC co-championships, the Eagles are now 8-2 entering the regular-season finale.
NCCU EARNS FIRST NATIONAL RANKING IN FCS COACHES POLL
For the first time in program history, the NCCU football team is ranked in the FCS Coaches Poll. With a current overall record of 8-2 and an unbeaten 7-0 mark in MEAC play, NCCU entered the Nov. 7 FCS Coaches Top-25 Poll at No. 25 and is now No. 20. This is the first time the Eagles football team has been nationally ranked since reclassifying to NCAA Division I-FCS in 2011. NCCU is riding an eight-game win streak after dropping season-opening games to Duke and No. 14 Western Michigan – both FBS programs.
EAGLES AGAINST NATIONALLY-RANKED OPPOSITION
Since the start of the transition to NCAA Division I-FCS in 2007, NCCU is 2-9 against nationally-ranked FCS opponents. The Eagles have been out-scored 399-160 (36.3-14.5 avg.) in those contests.
11/21/2015 - #13/16 North Carolina A&T - 21-16 W
11/22/2014 - #24 North Carolina A&T - 21-14 W
11/1/2014 - #20 Bethune-Cookman - 20-34 L
11/2/2013 - #13 Bethune-Cookman - 14-38 L
9/21/2013 - #4 Towson - 17-35 L
10/23/2010 - #14 Bethune-Cookman - 10-23 L
9/18/2010 - at #1 Appalachian State - 16-44 L
10/10/2009 - at #9 Appalachian State - 21-55 L
9/12/2009 - at #24 Liberty - 10-35 L
11/8/2008 - at #3 Cal Poly - 3-49 L
9/6/2008 - at #8 James Madison - 7-56 L
BELL ACHIEVES PASSING, TOTAL OFFENSE MILESTONES
Among NCCU career leaders, redshirt-senior quarterback Malcolm Bell (Richmond, Va.) ranks second in total offense yards (7,258) and second in passing yards (5,916) in his four-year career (2013-16). The dual-threat quarterback is the first Eagle in school history to amass 1,000 rushing yards (1,342) and 5,000 passing yards in a career. He is currently the school's 13th all-time leading rusher behind Junior Bulla's 1,552 career ground yards from 1997-99.
EAGLES TURN DEFENSE, SPECIAL TEAMS INTO POINTS
Since the start of the 2012 season, the Eagles have demonstrated a knack for finding the end zone when the offense is off the field. In the past 56 games, NCCU has scored 33 touchdowns on defense and special teams, including three in 2016, six in 2015, five in 2014, nine in 2013 and 10 in 2012. In that time, the Eagles have made trips to the end zone on 14 punt returns, six kickoff returns, three blocked field goal returns, eight interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
ABOUT NCCU FOOTBALL
North Carolina Central University is in its sixth season of full NCAA Division I (FCS) athletic competition as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Eagles have won 12 conference championships as members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1953, 1954, 1956, 1961, 1963, 1980, 2005, 2006) and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (1972, 1973, 2014, 2015), and have made three appearances in the NCAA playoffs (1988, 2005, 2006). The Eagles won back-to-back football conference championships and a Black College National Championship in their final two years in the Division II ranks (2005 and 2006) before starting the transition to Division I in 2007. During its storied gridiron tradition, NCCU has produced 136 all-conference selections, 65 all-Americans, 41 NFL draft picks, 12 conference championships and two Black College National Championships. Two Eagles have represented NCCU on the National Football League's grandest stage - the Super Bowl. The first NCCU Eagle to make a Super Bowl appearance was Richard Sligh, who was a reserve tackle with the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II against the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 14, 1968. Sligh, who holds the distinction as the tallest player in NFL history (7'0"), played at NCCU from 1962-64 and was later drafted by the Raiders in the 10th round of the 1967 NFL draft. On Jan. 24, 1982, former NCCU Eagle Louis Breeden was a starting cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI against the San Francisco 49ers. Earlier in the season (Nov. 8, 1981), Breeden intercepted a pass thrown by San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts and returned it a team-record 102 yards for a touchdown. The following year, he was selected as a First-Team All-Pro. He completed his 10-year NFL career with 33 interceptions for 558 return yards and two touchdowns. The first Eagle selected in the NFL Draft was Matt Boone, who was taken by the Giants with the eighth pick in the 18th round in 1956. The latest Eagle announced during the NFL Draft was Ryan Smith, who was chosen by the Buccaneers in the fourth round in 2016. NCCU's highest draft pick was Doug Wilkerson, who was selected in the first round with the 14th overall pick of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Oilers. The Eagles have also had three second-round NFL draft picks, including Robert Massey in 1989 by the Saints, Charles Smith in 1975 by the Broncos and Chuck Hinton in 1962 by the Browns. HBCU football pioneer John Brown, who represented NCCU (then North Carolina College) on the gridiron in the 1940s, was one of the first to play professional football out of a historically black college or university. Brown shares the honor with Ezzret Anderson of Kentucky State and Elmore Harris of Morgan State, who all began their professional football careers in 1947. Brown and Anderson were teammates on the Los Angeles Dons, while Harris was a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. According to NCCU records, Brown was the first of the three to sign a professional football contract. He played center and linebacker with the Dons from 1947-49, before moving to the Canadian Football League.