A&T Continues To Improve, But Fall Short To N.C. Central In Aggie-Eagle Classic 27-22

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: September 24, 2007

NCAT Aggies GREENSBORO, N.C. — For the third straight game, the Aggies of North Carolina A&T played hard and show signs of improvement but in the end, they fell short losing a heartbreaking game with seconds to play to the Eagles of NC Central 27-22 in front of a huge crowd at Aggie Stadium.

The game also got ugly at the end when a bench clearing brawl occurred when NCCU proceeded to stomp on the Aggie logo on the field after the game was over. The incident has caused a discussion of canceling the annual game for a while due to the tension between the schools.

The Aggies were in the game from start to finish despite three crucial turnovers by the offense. The Eagles opened up the scoring when quarterback Stadford Brown hit Will Scott 44 yards for a touchdown giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead. The touchdown turned out to be the only scoring in the first quarter.

The Aggies got in the scoring column thanks to their special teams when linebacker Nick Johnson blocked a Taylor Gray punt. NCCU recovered the ball in the end zone, but the Aggies still got the points making the score 7-2 early in the second quarter.

The Aggies took their first lead of the game when the offense went on a 10-play, 58-yard drive finishing with a Michael Ferguson one-yard run giving the Aggies a 9-7 lead with 6:47 left in the half.

A&T thought they were heading into the locker room with a lead, but it was not to be. The Eagles went on a long 14-play, 75-yard drive consuming all but 48 seconds of the remaining half. A four yard pass from Brown to Christo Edwards making the score at the half 14-9.

The second half started well for the Aggies and their offense. A&T went on a quick seven-play, 89-yard drive concluding with a one yard run by Dion McNair giving the Aggies the lead once again at 16-14. The touchdown was setup by a 74 yard run by Ferguson.

After the Aggies kicked a field goal to increase their lead to five, the Eagles struck back and regained the lead thanks to their defense. Aggie quarterback Herbert Miller was intercepted by Derrick Ray who ran the ball back 23 yards for a touchdown and a 21-19 lead.

NCCU added to their lead with another big play on defense when Jeffrey Henderson returned an overthrown Morgan pass 72 yards for another interception return for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 27-19 lead after the Aggies blocked Taylor Gray’s extra point attempt.

A&T attempted to come back one last time. After the Aggies managed a field goal, they got one last shot to take the lead and win the game.

After taking the team down the field inside the 10 yard line, Miller scrambled around in the pocket and could have run for the game winning touchdown, but decided to throw the ball instead and was intercepted Derrick Ray once again at the one yard line that seal the deal for the Eagles and the loss for the Aggies.

The win marked the first time the Aggies have lost to N.C. Central in consecutive meetings since the 1987 and 1988 seasons. N.C. Central improved to 4-1 on the season, while the Aggies dropped to 0-4.

One bright spot for A&T was Ferguson who rushed for 113 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. It was his fifth career 100 yard rushing game. Offensively and defensively the Aggies played very well.

The Aggies out gained the Eagles 412 to only 199 for the Eagles and were 7 of 15 on third down conversion. Turnovers were the reason they lost this highly contested and emotional game against the Eagles.

The Aggies have to pull it together fast as they face a very good Norfolk State University team fresh off a comeback win over Bethune Cookman College. The game is set for Thursday night at Aggie stadium, Game time is set for 7:30pm and can be seen on ESPNU.

As for the brawl, there are discussions amongst the Aggie brass about postponing the Annual Classic game between the two teams due to the altercation after the game and other factors as well.

On Monday, both Dr. Stanley F. Battle, Chancellor of A&T, and Dr. Charlie Nelms, Chancellor of NCCU released the following joint statement:

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and North Carolina Central University are two leading historically black institutions in America with successful graduates making a difference in the state, nation and world. Since 1924, the N.C. A&T Aggies and the NCCU Eagles have competed on the football field in an unprecedented rivalry.

The behavior displayed at Saturday’s 79th competition did not demonstrate what either of our universities represent or promote. We have met with the teams and coaching staffs and have reiterated to them the importance of proper athletic conduct, good sportsmanship, and team spirit. Both squads have been fully briefed concerning appropriate actions university representatives must exhibit for the betterment of our institutions.

Presently, we have not made a decision regarding the future athletic events between our teams but we are jointly collaborating as sister institutions to decide the best course. The primary factor in making our final decision will be our responsibility to our students.

//<![CDATA[ u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”>Respectfully submitted,u003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”>Dr. Stanley F. Battle,nChancellor, North Carolina A&T State Universityu003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”>Dr. Charlie Nelms, Chancellor,nNorth Carolina Central Universityu003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”width:722px”>u003cimg widthu003d”722″ heightu003d”2″ srcu003d”?attidu003d0.0.1&dispu003demb&viewu003datt&thu003d11539f0c05967651″>u003c/span>u003cspan styleu003d”color:black”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nnu003c/div>nnu003c/div>nnu003c/div>nnn”,0] ); //–> //]]>