No Fear Before, No Letup NowBy Craig R.Turner
Published: September 10, 2013
The mystique has been lifted off ”The Rock” in Boone, NC and the Aggies of North Carolina A&T have lifted the aura of Appalachian State’s superiority complex from their psyche for good with this past weekend’s 24-21 win on the road.
A&T can now turn its attention to Elon this Saturday night in Aggie Stadium in front of what should be a large and highly charged crowd for the home opener with in the friendly confines Aggie Stadium.
The Aggies played a magnificent game against one of the premier programs in the FCS over the past two decades. The Mountaineers are in transition to become members of the FBS Sun Belt Conference next year so Saturday’s win on was something more than just a little bit special.
Third year coach Rod Broadway has changed the culture of A&T football. It took two hard years of designing, building, recruiting, and yes, even kicking a few behinds along the way but A&T is back, walking with a swagger, and backing it up without a lot of media hyped lip service but by its performance on the field.
The Apps had not lost to an in-state opponent in 120 games dating all the way back to 1984 and had only lost five regular season game all-time in Kidd-Brewer Stadium.
So what A&T did was Saturday night was indeed one for the history books. Some may suggest that Appalachian was somehow less of a team than in years past because they lost the previous week to Montana 30-6 the week before. Think again.
Aside from top ranked South Dakota State who eats FBS teams for lunch every year, the Grizzlies are essentially a FBS team and had beaten Appalachian twice before in the FCS playoffs and has won a couple of national titles themselves.
App State is still remains the traditional big dog of the Southern Conference and the top FCS program east of the Mississippi. They are soon to become a FBS member of the Sun Belt Conference next fall. So in kindness, A&T gave them a going away present so to remember.
Although the final score was closed in the final minutes by the home team, the statement had already been made in the first half. Down early, these Aggies looked Appalachian straight in the eye and punched them square in the mouth right in their backyard and continued to on pound them the rest of the night. Losing was never an option.
A&T is no longer intimidated. A&T respects all of its opponents but fear none based on reputation or previous experiences. These young Aggies now go out every Saturday expecting to improve, to compete at the highest level, and most importantly, they expect to win.
So now, Broadway’s Aggies turn their sights on another SoCon opponent in Elon University. The Phoenix will be coming into Aggie Stadium, fresh off a 49-7 win over West Virginia Wesleyan which plays in the same Mountain East Conference (D-II) as West Virginia State who A&T beat a ago in a unremarkable 77-0 execution..
The week before Elon underwent a similar experience at nationally ranked Georgia Tech (70-0) so it will be somewhat difficult to gauge the Phoenix based on two games of on the extreme edges of the spectrum, being totally outclassed on one end and given no real competition on the other.
All the Aggies really need to do this week is work to improve themselves, correct their first game errors, refine the offense, play even faster on defense, repeat the performance of its special teams play and maintain that edge of intensity that served them so well in staking their flag at the top on “The Rock.”