Aggies’ D Dominates in Shutout Victory
Courtesy of Matt Johnson, GreensboroSports.com College Football writer
The North Carolina A&T Aggies (4-1, 2-0) utilized the defensive talent to shutout the Norfolk State Spartans (1-5, 0-3) 35-0 in Greensboro.
After surrendering 388 yards on 32 completions to Hampton a week ago, the Aggies’ Head Coach Rod Broadway decided to force Norfolk State into a one-dimensional, pass only offense by doing his best to devise a game plan to eliminate the run. Teeing off with blitzes all night, the Aggies allowed just eight yards on 15 carries in the first half, setting up the Spartans offense for a long day at the office.
While the A&T defense limited the Spartans’ offense, quarterback Lamar Raynard did his part before exiting the game at the end of the first half with an apparent lower leg injury. Rayanard completed 12-20 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown to freshman wide receiver Elijah Bell. Raynard also ran for 8 yards on a pair of carries, and scoring the game’s first touchdown on the ground that came on a designed quarterback power run.
The defense shined all evening, and after getting warmed up, running back Tarik Cohen took over after his breakout performance last week, where he rushed for over 250 yards.
Cohen’s historic evening included several 20+ yard runs, and set records in the process. The Aggies’ running back rushed for 200 yards on 23 carries, including a 62 yard touchdown rush that set the MEAC record for rushing yards in a career. Cohen also set the school record for all-purpose yards in a career, a record that had stood since 1986. His performance was his second straight 200 yard game.
Cohen was not the only Aggie to break records in the game. Senior wide receiver Denzel Keyes caught his 20th career touchdown pass, which makes him the Aggies’ all-time leader in touchdown catches.
The defense remained stalwart all through the contest, including a blocked punt in the fourth quarter which North Carolina A&T recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. The defense controlled the situational offense for the Spartans as well, forcing several 3rd and longs, and holding Norfolk State to 0-4 on fourth down conversions.
With Raynard’s exit halfway through the game, it was Oluwafemi Bamiro that stepped in under center for North Carolina A&T. The senior threw only four passes, completing two, which included the Keyes touchdown. However, it was the legs of Bamiro that kept the A&T offense rolling when Cohen needed a breather as the quarterback added 44 yards on five carries in the second half to help seal the deal.
N.C. A&T will be on the road Thursday, October 13 to take on Bethune-Cookman in their next contest.
Matt Johnson is a broadcaster for Averett University Football and the Averett Sports Network. To view one of his broadcasts, go to www.averettcougars.com on Saturdays during Averett University home games for live coverage of Averett football or search for Averett athletics on YouTube for a previous broadcast.
1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Total North Carolina A&T Aggies 0 14 7 14 35 Norfolk State Spartans 0 0 0 0 0