It has become clear that Delaware is by far the class of the CAA this season as the #5 Blue Hens cracked the FCS upper echelon this week by completely routing its second straight conference opponent. Villanova isn’t that far off the mark as they are locked in right behind UD in both the conference standings with only one loss and in the national polls ranked #24.
Fifth-ranked Delaware (7-1, 5-0 CAA) sprinted out to a 45-0 lead and cruised past Towson (3-5, 2-3 CAA), 51-13. Running back Marcus Yarns tallied 168 all-purpose yards (105 receiving/63 rushing) and five touchdowns, while quarterback Zach Marker completed 16-of-18 passes for 302 yards and 4 TD’s in just one half of action. The Blue Hens finished with 619 yards of total offense while limiting the Tigers to 326.
Villanova (6-2, 4-1 CAA) piled up 556 yards of offense and scored five touchdowns of 20 or more yards in a 48-13 victory over Stony Brook (0-8, 0-6). Wildcats’ quarterback Connor Watkins was 13-of-19 passing for a career-high 361 yards and 4 TD’s and receivers Rayjoun Pringle (5-196 yds), Jaylan Sanchez (4-103 yds) and Jaaron Hayek (5-102 yds) all went over the century mark with a TD.
Darius Wilson threw a go-ahead 10-yard TD pass to JT Mayo with 6:14 to go and Gent Veizi blocked a field goal in the final seconds as William & Mary (5-3, 3-2 CAA) held off Monmouth (3-5, 2-3 CAA), 31-28. W&M‘s big win put the Tribe in great position to make the FCS playoffs for a second straight season The Hawks went on top early on a 1-yard TD run by Sone Ntoh, but the Tribe closed the half with 21 unanswered points.
Ja’Den McKenzie rushed for 135 yards and four touchdowns, including a 1-yard scoring run in overtime, to lift Rhode Island (5-4, 3-3 CAA) over New Hampshire (4-4, 2-3 CAA), 34-28. URI had a field goal blocked on the final play of regulation, but a missed UNH field goal in overtime set the stage for McKenzie’s winning score.
Chris Zellous passed for 198 yards and 2 TD’s and added a team-best 89 yards on the ground to push Hampton (4-4, 2-3 CAA) past North Carolina A&T (1-7, 0-5 CAA), 26-24. The Aggie needed just over a minute to grab a 7-0 lead on a 46-yard TD catch by Taymon Cooke. A 75-yard scoring pass from Kevin White to Kenji Christian pulled A&T within 19-14 in the third quarter, but Ramon Copeland returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a TD. The Aggies got within two when David Laney had an 82-yard pick six with 10:01 to play, but the Pirates forced a fumble with 3:35 remaining and ran out the clock.
Richmond’s defense recorded four sacks, forced three turnovers, and held Campbell to its lowest point total of the season as the Spiders (6-3, 5-1) increased their winning streak to four by beating the Camels (4-4, 3-3 CAA), 44-13. The game was tied 10-10 midway through the third quarter when Richmond took the lead on a 21-yard TD run by Savon Smith. Campbell cut the deficit to three heading into the fourth quarter, but a 42-yard pick six by the Spiders’ Wayne Galloway turned the momentum.
Campbell at North Carolina 12:00pm ACCN
Elon at Delaware 1:00pm FloFootball/DSN
Hampton at Maine 1:00pm FloFootball/WVII-ABC 7
Stony Brook at Monmouth 1:00pm FloFootball / SNY /NBCS PHI
Towson at North Carolina A&T 1:00pm FloFootball/WMYV-48
Villanova at New Hampshire 1:00pm FloFootball
William & Mary at UAlbany 1:00pm FloFootball
The Towson Tigers are led by first year head coach Pete Shinnick who came to the Baltimore based school in last winter from West Florida where he won a D-2 National Championship back in 2019. Like A&T, Towson has had an up and down first year of transition under Shinnick as evidenced by their lopsided losses to Maryland, Monmouth, and Delaware, a somewhat shocking loss at home to Norfolk State. Still, they’ve had some bright spots with a miracle win over Morgan, and upset wins over New Hampshire and William and Mary.
The word on Towson this year is they have tended to play up or down to the level their competition they face each week. They had, u until last week, played well against teams that are in the upper half of the CAA but have struggled with those programs considered middle of the road type teams.
The trigger man for Towson is junior pro-style QB Nathan Kent (6-2, 215) who has connected on 164-284 passes for 1739 yards and seven touchdowns but has thrown 11 interceptions. The pass receiver of note is the big tight end Carter Runyon (6-6, 235) who has 32 receptions for 363 yards and three TDS on the year. The main running duties in the offense falls to senior Devin Matthews (5-9, 195; 437 yds, 6 TDS).
Defensively, the Tigers aren’t a large team but they do a good job of swarming to the ball and have an active secondary. The leading tacklers are linebackers Jamal Gray (6-1, 200) and Mason Woods (6-1,220) and defensive backs Dorian Davis (6-1,190) and Xavier Terry (6-1, 200).
The campus of North Carolina A&T is going to be jam packed this Saturday as an anticipated crowd of some 65,000 people will try to squeeze into the Game Zone and surrounding areas around Truist Stadium for what is known as GHOE (The Greatest Homecoming on Earth). This will mark the 96th homecoming on the Greensboro campus and from its modest beginnings in the late 1920’s GHOE has grown to Iconic proportions not just in HBCU circles but on a national level being referenced repeatedly this week on the national network newscasts on CBS, NBC, and CNN this week.
The question was raised earlier this week in the local media as to whether A&T’s homecoming had lost some of its luster and that the enthusiasm and atmosphere wasn’t quite the same as in years past because of its recent move to the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) which is composed of primarily PWIs and away from the familiarity of MEAC, one of two HBCU Division One conferences which was A&T’s home for 50 years.
I’ve heard this lament going on four years now since the Aggies announced they were going to strike out on their own and shape their own athletic future as they saw fit rather than to remain under the one size fits all philosophical nature of the MEAC. While its too early to tell if this move will pay off long term for A&T, it certainly hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm or attendance of alumni and friends of the university from this year’s celebration.
The statement was made the last two years that not having a HBCU for a homecoming opponent would damp down attendance for the game itself. That has been proven to be completely without merit. Even this year, a rebuilding year in football with a new staff and a 1-7 record to boot, this game was sold out shortly after school opened almost 3 months ago.
If anything, the homecoming experience is even bigger now with a live hip hop concert with known legends now being added into the mix inside the Game Zone which will easily add another 20,000 plus fans to what was already a packed weekend.
I believe it’s not that homecoming has lost its feeling rather that it has grown and evolved in very much the same way the university has. The A&T that my father attended and graduated from immediately after the post World War II era is totally foreign to me. The A&T I knew and grew to love when I first graced this campus as a freshman back in the fall of 1974 no longer exists. As in all things in the universe the physical and visceral environments surrounding a specific point will always continually modify and change as the years pass.
What remains constant, much like the universe itself, is the origin of what it means to be an Aggie and the things that make A&T so uniquely different from every other institution of higher learning. The friendships, the experience of being part of a true community, the aspirations, the tribulations, the challenges, the exhilaration of shared and personal triumphs of the mind and soul. Those are the things that make a A&T homecoming special. Not only a celebration but indeed an affirmation of what it means to part of the A&T family and only if you experienced it first-hand can truly and fully appreciate it. It has never been about who the opponent was for a football game.
N.C. A&T – 27
Towson State – 17