Aggies Battle But Lose To Spartans

By L.A.Batchelor
Updated: October 1, 2006

NORFOLK, VA– The North Carolina A & T Aggies arrive in Virginia with some optimism and thoughts of an upset versus Norfolk State University, but the Spartans put those thoughts to rest early. The Spartans out gained the Aggies by 200 yards and use timely defense and exceptional special teams play to cruise to an easy victory 42-20 in front of 18,377 at Dick Price Stadium in Norfolk, Va.

After an unsuccessful drive late in the 1st quarter, the Aggies punted the ball to the Spartans Rashad Howard. Howard got the Spartans on the board first after returning the punt 55 yards for a touchdown giving the Norfolk State the lead 7-0 with 7:07 remaining in the 1st quarter. The Spartans added to their lead after going on a quick 6 play 35 yard drive using 2:27 off the clock finishing with a hard-nose 9 yard run from Daryl Jones making the score 14-0 Spartans as time expired in the 1st quarter.

Norfolk State continued to pour it on the Aggies as they went on another scoring drive. Daryl Jones scored his 2nd touchdown from 9 yards out finishing a 6 play 68 yards taking 2:41 on the clock and making the score a commanding 21-0 lead with 9:54 left in the 1st half. The Aggies answer the Spartans 3rd score as they finally got on the board with an impressive 10 play 68 yard using only 1:54 off the clock. The drive finished with a 13 yard screen pass from Wayne Campbell to Dion McNair cutting the Spartans lead to 21-7 with 7:51 left in the half. Campbell replaced red shirt freshman quarterback Herb Miller who was ineffective.

Just when the Aggies thought they would go into the lockeroom down by only 14, the Spartans strike again. Norfolk State quarterback Casey Hansen hit Derrick Baker, who was running down the field by himself, for a 53-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans a 28-7 lead with 1:27 left in the half. The drive went for 8 plays 86 yards taking 3:43 off the clock. The Aggies look like they would stop the Spartans on the drive after a the Spartans had a loss on 1st down. But on a 2nd and 7 from the Spartans own 7, Hansen found James Callahan open across the middle for a 17-yard gain and a first down which continued the drive that ultimately led to the 4th touchdown of the day for Norfolk State.

The Aggies had a chance to respond as they took over at the 50 when the Spartans kick off went out of bounds. After an apparent 18 yard pass by Campbell was called back by a rare offensive pass interference call, the Aggies attempted a 27 yard field goal that was missed making the halftime score 28-7 in favor of the host Spartans.

The 3rd quarter was similar to the 1st as both teams traded possessions and it was the Spartans that scored late in the 3rd. The Spartans took the ball at their own 20 and went 80 yards on 6 plays finishing with a 1 yard run by Monte Anthony making the score 35-7 Spartans with 7:12 remaining in the 3rd. The drive took 2:43 and took the air out of the Aggies for the game. The Spartans scored once again on a 9 yard run from Branche with just over a minute left in the 3rd making the score and the game out of reach 42-7.

The Aggies scored a couple of touchdowns in the 4th quarter on a 2 yard run by Ferguson and a 6 yard pass from Campbell to Spane, although the extra point was blocked, closing out the scoring for the game and making the final 42-20.

The Aggies freshmen Wayne Campbell played well going 20-31 for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns but the defense, offensive line let them down. The offensive line allowed 5 sacks and both Miller and Campbell were pressured throughout the game. The defense gave up too many big plays on 2nd/3rd and long and allowed 439 yards of total offense. The special teams gave up the 1st touchdown of the game and placekicker Ross Vosburg missed an easy 27 yard field goal and got an extra point blocked.

Although the young Aggies suffered the loss against the Spartans, head coach Lee Fobbs remains optimistic.”As the season goes on we’re going to see some improvements and then there are some things that are going to come up that we have to fix. We’ll work on our coverages next week and get better.”

With the win, the Spartans improve their record to 3-1, 1-1 in the MEAC, while the Aggies fall to 0-4, 0-2. The Aggies look to get their 1st win of the season at Aggie Stadium against Morgan State on University and Faculty appreciation day. Kickoff is slated for 1:30pm.