A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Blue Haze: Spartans Rollover Winless Aggies 52-20
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Aggies of North Carolina A&T came into their game against the Spartans of Norfolk State University looking for their first win of the season and their first win for second year head coach Lee Fobbs.
With the “Aggie Nation” cheering them on in front of a nationwide audience on ESPNU, the Aggies came out playing hard and good enough to win. But, it wasn’t to be as too many turnovers, mistakes and miscues lead to a 52-20 thumping by NSU on College Night at Aggie Stadium .
In the first possession of the game, A&T looked very impressive scoring fast. The Aggies took the ball on a four-play, 74-yard drive in 1:25 concluding with a scoring run by running back Michael Ferguson making the score 7-0.
It was justice for Ferguson to take the ball in after he preceded the touchdown with a 51 yard run setting up the one yard TD run. The Spartans struck back with a score of their own. The Spartans used a good kick return to put their offense at midfield to start the drive.
NSU proceeded to go on a nine-play, 52-yard drive consuming 3:33 and scoring on a five-yard run by Daryl Jones making the score tied at 7-7 early in the first quarter. On A&T”s next possession, “Murphy’s Law” set in again. After a penalty set them back at their own 10, the Aggies fumbled on the first play, taking the ball back to their own one yard line.
NSU proceeded to go on a nine-play, 52-yard drive consuming 3:33 and scoring on a five-yard run by Daryl Jones making the score tied at 7-7 early in the first quarter.
On A&T”s next possession, “Murphy’s Law” set in again. After a penalty set them back at their own 10, the Aggies fumbled on the first play, taking the ball back to their own one yard line.
After no success moving the ball, the Aggies punted the ball back to the Spartans. NSU got the ball in Aggie territory but had to settle for a field goal. Kicker Justin Castellat booted a 19-yard field goal giving the Spartans a 10-7 lead with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
The Aggies regained the lead after a wild sequence saw the Spartans almost intercept a Hubert Miller pass into the arms of A&T receiver Chad Johnson. The Aggies took the ball on a nine-play, 66-yard drive leading to the score
Johnson caught his first career touchdown, a 25-yard toss from Miller, to give A&T a 13-10 lead at the end of one quarter after the point after failed.
The second quarter began in the worst way for the Aggies. After the Spartans failed to convert on third down, the Aggies couldn’t handle the punt, fumbled and NSU recovered on the A&T 17.
The Spartans quickly took the lead once again when Spartan quarterback Casey Hansen hit Dario Walker for a 19-yard score. DSU regained the lead 16-13 after their point after was blocked.
But A&T would answer again. Using a fumble recovery of their own by Victor Hosten, the Aggies got the ball at the Spartan 28. A six-play, 28-yard drive using 2:29 on the clock concluded with a four-yard quarterback keeper by Miller making it 20-16 A&T. The 20 points in the first half were the most points scored for the Aggies since November of 2005.
However, the Aggies would continue to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers, miscues and blown coverages on defense. On a third and long play for NSU, miscommunication in the A&T secondary led to a wide open 70-yard scoring pass from Hansen to running back Jeremy Wicker. The play gave the Spartans a 23-20 lead with still over eight minutes to go in the half.
After an A&T drive stalled, Hansen and Wicker connected again. This time on a 40-yard pass play setting up first and goal on the Aggies’ 10. NSU would settle for another Castellat field goal (a 26-yarder) making it 26-20 Spartans with just under three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Aggies continued to self-destruct as Miller attempting to pass, scrambled and and fumbled the ball to NSU on his own 26 yard line with 2:35 remaining in the half.
After the Aggies got a huge sack to push the Spartans back to the 21, Castellat kicked another field goal (a 40-yarder) to NSU a 29-20 advantage at the half..
The second half was the beginning of the end for the Aggies as their offense could barely get on the field. After the teams traded possession, NSU scored the only points in the third quarter.
A 16-play, 76 yard drive using 8:07 on the clockended with a 16-yard pass from Hansen to Chad Johnson making it 36-20 going into the fourth quarter. The final quarter was more of the same: all Spartans’offense, all the time.
The Spartans went on another impressive drive going 90 yards in 10 plays and finishing with an 11-yard scoring run by Timothy Ferrell. It gave the Spartans a commanding 43-20 lead.
NSU closed out the scoring off another A&T turnover. A quick 34-yard touchdown pass from Hansen to Dario Walker made the final score 50-20 in favor of the Spartans.
Hansen threw for a career-high 351 yards and four touchdowns. His previous high was a 287-yard performance against the Aggies last season. Wicker caught five passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns, while Walker had six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The Aggies were led by Ferguson who had 131 yards on 18 carries. NSU’s win marked the first time they’ve defeated the Aggies in Greensboro since 1987. A&T’s defense allowed over 500 yards while their offense totaled only 213 yards. They also turned the ball over four times and converted only 3 of 9 on third down.
Aggie head coach Lee Fobbs felt it was the turnovers that led to easy scores for the Spartans and the loss for the Aggies. “We turned it over too much,” Fobbs added.
“They capitalized and we didn’t. We didn’t take care of the ball. In no phaseof the ball game did we take care of the football and they capitalized. It was just poor execution on our part.”
With the win, the Spartans improved to 3-1 (2-0 MEAC), while the Aggies fall to 0-5 (0-2). A&T will again try to win their first game Saturday, October 6th as they travel to Baltimore to face Morgan State.