Aggies defeat N.C. Central in overtime, 22-16By Semaj March
Published: November 21, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. – It should come as little surprise that a showdown between North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central Universities would result in a nail-biter, especially considering the dramatic history between the two schools and the fact that both offenses had struggled so mightily coming
into this contest.
Still, the overflow crowd of 11,184 at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium had to brace itself once again for another heart-stopping finish last Saturday, as A&T somehow overcame its own anemic offense and numerous special team blunders to claw out a 22-16 overtime win in Durham against its despised arch rival.
It was the seventh time in the last 10 meetings between the two schools that a game was decided by seven points or less, and the third time in that span that the contest went into overtime.
A&T senior running back Mike Mayhew saw his career come to a poetic end when he scored on a five-yard touchdown run on the Aggies’ second play in overtime which proved to be the game winner. Mayhew, who became the school’s all-time leading rusher earlier this season, concluded his final day in an A&T uniform with a game-high 116 yards rushing performance on 30 carries.
It was also somewhat fitting that A&T’s snap on the ensuing point after attempt was bobbled – giving NCCU a chance to steal the game with a touchdown and successful extra point on their own. The two teams would combine for a total of nine turnovers, including six fumbles.
However none of those miscues were more costly that the errant snap in overtime that sailed over the head of NCCU quarterback Jordan Reid when the Eagles were facing on 3rd down and 1, resulting in a 38 yard loss.
On the next play, Reid’s desperation throw on fourth down was knocked down near the 20 yard line by A&T linebacker D’Vonte Grant, causing the players, coaches and fans on the Aggie’s side of the field to erupt in celebration.
“We could have put this thing somewhat out of a reach a long time ago,” said A&T coach Rod Broadway who previously coached at NCCU from 2003-2006. “But we just weren’t good enough. We were good enough to win and that’s the bottom line.”
With the victory, the Aggies ended their 2012 season with a 7-4 overall record and 5-3 mark in the MEAC, tying them for third place. It was the first winning season and the highest conference finish the Aggies have enjoyed since they last won the MEAC title in 2003.
As it’s been the case all season long, A&T’s suffocating defense controlled the line of scrimmage and provided ample chances for the Aggies to build a sizable lead. A&T entered the game as a top ranked defense in the conference and the No. 2 ranked defensive unit in the nation.
NCCU was held to only 127 yards of total offense, including negative 46 yards rushing. The Eagles converted just 3-of-14 attempts on third down and were 0-3 on fourth down.
Most of the Eagles’ scoring came via their special teams, thanks to a 41 yard field goal by Oleg Parent and two long returns on blocked field goals.
The first NCCU block came right before half time with the Aggies leading 9-0 and looking to take a 12-0 lead into the locker room. However, Zach Cimaglia’s 39-yard attempt was swallowed up at the line of scrimmage by an unblocked Malik Cromartie and then scooped up and returned 71 yards for a
touchdown by Delson McAdams.