Déjà Vu All Over Again?By Craig R. Turner
Published: October 19, 2013
Last week was an exact carbon copy of the beginning of last year’s midseason slide that saw the Aggies drop out of a contention of a likely one or two top finisher to a fourth place seed. This year it was losing to winless Hampton team in a bitter 31-26 loss that saw the Aggies drop five turnovers, four of which were turned into 24 points, which virtually accounted for all of the Pirate’s offense for their homecoming day.
Last year this time A&T was dropping a game to an unlikely opponent in Delaware State at their homecoming as well, turning the ball over five times, with three of them coming in the red zone in route a 24-0 blanking up in Dover. Well, again A&T has reached that turning point game once again against those same DSU Hornets who picked up their first win a week ago over Norfolk 14-7.
Coach Kermit Blount has an extremely young team but a talented and disciplined one. If they find a weakness they have the personnel to exploit it and if you add in the kind of unforced turnovers of the last two weeks then the Aggies may be in trouble again even at home , a place they haven’t lost but once since Rod Broadway took over two and half years ago.
Turnovers are often talked about by coaches and fans every week before every game but no one can anticipate nor can prepare for multiple turnovers that end up as easy points that even the best teams can hardly find a way to climb out of a deep hole to overcome. You can have all the statistical data in the world, all the speed, size, and playmakers on the field and it doesn’t mean squat if you commit turnovers.
If as a football team you keep throwing the ball into coverage for pick sixes instead of dumping it out, having punts blocked and dropped in your end zone, penalties unrelated to the play taking points off the board shifting balance and momentum just before a knockout punch .
Yep I can guarantee you will most likely lose.
So Saturday is very simple, if A&T holds on to the football and doesn’t put it on the ground or throw a bunch of picks, then by all rights the Aggies should manage to eventually pull away from a promising Del State squad to a comfortable win.
If not, the Aggies will struggle and toil and find themselves almost there but never quite close enough to get over the hump like the last two ball games and what once looked like a banner year will be one for a fight to merely survive.
No one has said this yet but this is actually the biggest game of the year for A&T. Another loss and A&T will be looking hard for a above .500 finish. A win tomorrow, minus the mistakes can put them back in line for a one of those tops near the top of the heap when the smoke clears the last of next month.
So which A&T team will show up? Your guess is as good a mine. Turnovers can be a short term bad virus that a little medicine can arrest or it can turn into full-fledged pneumonia if left unchecked.
With some anticipated personnel changes and an some adjustments in both some offensive and defensive tactics, the Aggies will get that antibiotic booster when it needs it most tomorrow afternoon.
N.C. A&T – 24
Del State – 13