Aggies Deliver Homecoming BeatdownBy Semaj Marsh, Peacemaker Sports / October 13, 2017
The transformation of A&T’s football program under head coach Rod Broadway has been a dramatic one in recent years, highlighted by conference championships, upset victories over FBS schools, and even a Black college national title.
Since his arrival in 2011, the Aggies have gone from national laughingstocks with major academic issues to now being viewed as a legitimate HBCU power that can honestly boast about sending its best players to the NFL.
But perhaps Broadway’s greatest accomplishment during this span has been his ability to fulfill one of the unofficial mandates he received from fans and alumni upon arriving in Greensboro: “whatever you do, you must win on Homecoming.”
That plea was again honored last weekend as A&T overwhelmed Delaware State 44-3 in front of jam-packed Aggie Stadium, continuing to show greatness on the field during what is billed as the Greatest Homecoming on Earth.“Homecoming here is just so much bigger than at any other place,” said Broadway who previously coached at North Carolina Central and Grambling and also served as an assistant at UNC and Florida. “There are plenty of things throughout the week that can serve as distractions but we’ve always been able to keep our focus on football and try to give the fans something they can take pride in.”
This year’s victory helped the conference-leading Aggies improve their overall record to 6-0 for the first time since 1993 and saw Broadway extend his undefeated GHOE record to seven straight wins.
The 41-point beatdown of the Hornets was the third largest margin of victory during that homecoming winning streak, trailing only A&T’s 51-point win over the Howard in 2015 and the 47-point rout over Virginia University of Lynchburg in 2013.
On Saturday, rain clouds were present for most of the afternoon but held off just long enough for the A&T offense to produce lighting strikes of its own, coming in the form of big plays.
Redshirt junior quarterback Lamar Raynard enjoyed a career-best performance, completing 20 of 26 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. He became the first A&T player to have multiple 300-yard passing games in the same year following his 321-yard performance at Gardner-Webb in the season opener.
His main target on the afternoon was sophomore wide receiver Elijah Bell who also had a career-best outing with nine receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, the Aggies got big contributions from redshirt junior running back Marquell Cartwright who added 96 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Defensively, A&T sacked Delaware State quarterbacks eight different times, holding the Hornets to minus-38 yards rushing.
Next up for the Aggies will be a trip to Tallahassee, Fla. this Saturday to face Florida A&M. They’ll follow that up with home games against Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 21) and Savannah State (Nov. 11), sandwiched around an always tough trip to Norfolk State on Nov. 4. It’s still early, but if the Aggies continue to hold serve, it could set up for another season-ending showdown against arch-rival North Carolina Central (NCCU) That game will be held at Aggie Stadium on Nov. 18, with the winner potentially earning a trip to Atlanta to represent the MEAC in the 3rd annual Celebration Bowl.
“We’re chasing excellence,” explained Broadway, who has suffered defeats to NCCU for three straight years. “It’s not just about winning, it’s just not about how bad you beat people, it’s about chasing excellence and being as good as we can be.”