Final from the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia:
N.C. A&T 64, Alcorn State 44
Agggies’ QB Kylil Carter, 18-30 passing for 364 yards, and 6 touchdowns….
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT Kylil Carter 18/30 364 12.1 6 0
1 2 3 4 T ALCN 3 7 21 13 44 NCAT 0 24 28 12 64
from N.C. A&TAggies.com:www.ncataggies.com/CLICK HERE.
ATLANTA – Graduate quarterback Kylil Carter started picking up one championship ring after another as he discussed all the success of North Carolina A&T’s football program with the media after the Aggies won their third straight HBCU national title and their fourth in five years with a 64-44 win over Alcorn State Saturday afternoon at the fifth edition of the Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
This is my first championship,” said Carter as he started picking up and discussing rings like they were collector items around the world.
“I really might get mixed up, but this is my first championship in 2015. This is 2017 right? Yeah, it says 12-0, so yeah this is 2017,” Carter continued as he sifted through his rings like they were a deck of cards.
“Is this 2018 Celebration Bowl? No, this is the conference championship. I think this is the 2017 MEAC championship. Now this one was last year’s national championship,” Carter said as he continued to name off N.C. A&T championships as N.C. A&T football coach Sam Washington chimed in to say, “I think he’s missing two or three.”
Carter, who played in his final college football game on Saturday, gets to add to his abundance after Saturday. Unlike his previous three Celebration Bowl victories, however, Carter left a lasting memory after he was done carving up the Alcorn State Braves secondary on Saturday. Carter helped the Aggies finish the season 9-3 by breaking Celebration Bowl single-game records in passing yards (364), touchdown passes (6) and total offense (460).
Carter had the second-best passing performance in school history missing Connell Gordon’s 55-year-old single-game passing record by only 12 yards. His six TD passes tied the school’s single-game record with Alan Hooker. He broke the school’s single-game total offense record as he also rushed for 96 yards on 13 carriers. The Aggies are 4-0 in the Celebration Bowl.
“We had a lot of time (between games),” said Carter. “We didn’t play a game for a couple of weeks, so we had a chance to work on fundamentals, the little stuff. To have a great performance as I did, I can’t thank my O-line and my receivers enough. Even my running backs for making blocks. If it weren’t for them, none of that would have happened.”
The same can be said about Carter. If it were not for him, all of those championship rings he discussed might have alluded the Aggies. When the story of N.C. A&T football is written, Carter deserves his own chapter. It will be one of the most unique chapters in the book.
For starters, he will go down as one of the most memorable players in school history and he served as the backup for four years. But who can forget the first time we were introduced to Carter in Orangeburg, S.C., in 2015? It was his game-winning touchdown pass at S.C. State as a true freshman that propelled the Aggies to their first Celebration Bowl.
A year later while helping the Aggies upset FBS foe Kent State, he tore his ACL and missed the final 10 games of the season. Two years later in 2018, he spearheaded the Aggies upset win over East Carolina. But just weeks before the 2018 Celebration Bowl he was in a horrific car accident that came close to ending his career.
After all of that, he became the Aggies starter in 2019. For one night in Atlanta, with stellar pass blocking in front of him, Carter had one of the best quarterback performances in the history of the program.
“It was difficult just sitting on the sideline, but we won last year so it’s all great,” said Carter about last season’s Celebration Bowl. “But coming back and being in the position I am today, it’s a huge blessing.”
The Aggies 64 points are the most points they have ever scored in a postseason game. In fact, the Aggies scored 165 points in their final three games of 2019. Junior wide receiver Korey Banks was Carter’s favorite target on Saturday catching six passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Jah-Maine Martin added 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Neither team was effective in playing defense. The two teams combined for 1,034 yards, another Celebration Bowl record. The Aggies secured 574 of those yards. Forty-four points are the most points the Aggies have surrendered to a Division I-FCS program since Appalachian State scored 58 points against the Aggies in 2011.
The game was innocently 24-10 at halftime and then the two teams decided to thoroughly entertain the 32,968 fans assembled at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The two teams combined to score 49 points in the third quarter with the Aggies scoring 28 of those points. The 49 points are a Celebration-Bowl record for points in a quarter as is the Aggies 28 points is a game record for points in a quarter by a team.
In fact, on the first play of the second half Martin signaled what was about to happen as he ran 75 yards for a touchdown. It was his 10th TD run of 50 yards or more this season.
The fourth quarter started with Alcorn quarterback Felix Harper connecting with Nigel Wood for a 13-yard touchdown pass to cut the Aggies lead to 52-38 after the Braves were given a short field thanks to a Martin fumble.
N.C. A&T responded with an 11-play, 30-yard drive that ended with a 38-yard field goal. Alcorn (9-4) got to within 10, 55-45, on a 1-yard run by Harper but on the extra point, the snap went over the kicker’s head. Sophomore Amir McNeill picked the ball up and returned it for a two-point conversion.
Carter followed with a 55-yard run to the Alcorn 4-yard line. Martin iced the game with a 4-yard run.
Therefore, if you’re counting, Carter will walk away from N.C. A&T with eight rings and five postseason appearances. There will be other greats leaving such as Elijah Bell, the Aggies all-time leading receiver. All-American left tackle Marcus Pettiford also played his last collegiate game along with all-conference defensive lineman Justin Cates.
But plenty is coming back including a young and talented linebacker corps who includes Celebration Bowl Defensive MVP Jacob Roberts, a freshman out of Charlotte, N.C. The Aggies also return four veteran receivers, four offensive linemen and Martin. That means there is more room for more rings.
“We’re humble but hungry,” said Washington. “We carried that theme with us throughout the entire season. We wanted to remain humble, and we wanted to stay hungry so that we could reach this pentacle again.”