The CAA race is now beginning to heat up a bit with the Delaware Blue Hens and Elon Phoenix now appearing to be the teams at the top of the food chain at least for this week. Delaware scored late in the first half to take the lead and never looked back to defeat Duquesne 43-17 in front of a sold-out crowd in Newark, DE. Junior QB Ryan O’Connor had a career day throwing 347 yards and four touchdowns.
Elon’s joy from its upset over William and Mary was short lived as N.C. Central came to Burlington and made a statement in a surprisingly easy 34-23 win. After spotting Elon, a 10-0 lead early, the Eagles came roaring back scoring 21 unanswered points to take the halftime lead. NC Central scored a touchdown with 20 seconds left to take a 21-10 advantage to the locker room. Once again it was NCCU quarterback Davius Richard leading the way with 21-35 passing for 171 yards and one TD while rushing for a team high 114 yards and 3 TDS on just 11 carries.
Another team that led by ten early and couldn’t maintain it was William &Mary who fell to Virginia 27-13. The Tribe went up on UVA 13-3 early in the second quarter, but the Cavaliers rallied behind QB Tony Muskett who completed 17-of-26 passes for 232 yards with two touchdowns, while he also recorded a 7-yard touchdown run.
Villanova amassed nearly 400 yards of offense in the first half alone and dominated the time of possession to record a 37-14 win over North Carolina A&T (1-4, 0-2 CAA Football) in the first-ever meeting between the teams at Truist Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore wide receiver Jalen Sanchez caught six passes for 158 yards while scoring two touchdowns in the Wildcats win.
Campbell rolled up 440 yards of total offense and held off Hampton 30-27 on the road Saturday at Armstrong Stadium. The Camels went up 30-14 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the game but the Pirates fought back with two late TDs to cut the deficit to 30-27 with a minute left but couldn’t recover the onside kick and Campbell then ran out the clock for the win.
In other conference action, Albany upended Towson 24-17, Richmond got back into the win column with a 42-31 triumph over Maine and Rhode Island outlasted Brown 34-31.
Elon at Villanova 1:00pm FloSports
Hampton at Monmouth 1:00pm FloSports / SNY /NBCS PHI
LIU at Maine 1:00pm FloSports/FOX 22
Richmond at Rhode Island 1:00pm FloSports
UAlbany at New Hampshire 1:00pm FloSports
North Carolina A&T at Delaware 3:00pm FloSports/NBCS PHI+
Fordham at Stony Brook 3:30pm FloSports
After getting it first win of the season over Norfolk State on the road the Aggies returned home last week against a good Villanova team and were pretty much handled 37-14. A&T was locked in a very competitive contest that had three lead changes until the final ten minutes of the second half when the Wildcats put together a textbook 85-yard drive that consumed nearly six minutes to reestablish a 20-14 lead.
After a quick three and out by the Aggie offense, Villanova struck again to push the lead to 27-14. The back breaker came immediately afterwards when A&T muffed a fair catch on the ensuing kickoff with 1:24 remining and the ‘Cats put up a 19-yard field goal as time expired to push their lead to 30-14 and were never threatened again.
The main culprits that fueled A&T’s undoing was the same one that has plagued it all season long, a totally ineffective passing game and critical errors at inopportune times. While most of the errors or miscues can be attributed to youth and inexperience, the inability to muster any kind of meaningful passing attack this far into the season is beyond comprehension.
For the first three weeks, there had been no clear-cut starter at quarterback until true freshman KJ White was given the helm and the A&T offense began to show signs of life as it did at NSU, scoring points off the edge behind White’s athleticism, a pair of solid running backs and strong run blocking by the offensive line.
Still, A&T’s non-existent passing attack continues to be stuck in neutral with receivers unable to find separation, dropped passes, and no rhythm other than an occasional short reception. Five games in and A&T has yet to have a TD reception.
A&T’s dismal passing performances have made the offense one dimensional in all aspects as opposing teams are now simply geared to stop the run and can totally ignore the pass altogether.
On a darker note, as a result the offense has put a young, undersized, but very game defense in the indefensible position of having to try hold the line for 60-70 plays per game. Even the most stellar experienced defenses can’t do that under the very best of circumstances.
Until the Aggies find a way to incorporate a creditable short game pass offense which doesn’t have to be dazzling but efficient enough to convert in second or third down medium yardage situations, they will continue to struggle to move the ball with any consistency and that make it harder and harder with each passing week to put points up on the board.
How can it be corrected? We’re still waiting for some answers from the guys directly responsible for making it happen. Stay tuned.
This week North Carolina A&T will travel up to Newark, DE to take on the 8th-ranked Delaware Blue Hens for homecoming which is easily one of the 2 or 3 best teams in the CAA as we reach the halfway point of the college football season.
Delaware is riding high, as well they should, given their long-storied history of being one of the most easily recognizable names ever in FCS Football winning four NCAA FCS National Championships. A&T head Coach Vincent Brown was very clear in his description of current UD football team going into Saturday’s game. It is foreboding to say the least.
“Offensively, they are a spread-style, mostly an 11 (one running back, one tight end) and 12 (one running back, two tight ends) personnel team,” Brown said. “They will give you every formation imaginable, they have every gadget play imaginable, they pass the ball with great efficiency, they can run the football, and they do a great job of getting the ball into the hands of their skill players.”
They are primarily three-down (on defensive line), they play Robber coverage (safety comes toward line of scrimmage to middle of the field), so they have a middle safety that makes a lot of plays in the run game, and they are really one of the better pass defenses in the conference so far this year. They are a top-ranked team for a reason.”
Keeping things in their proper prospective, UD will be the prohibitive favorite on Saturday afternoon and rightfully so. A&T has an extremely young defensive team without a great deal of depth or size up front and have proven to be vulnerable to offenses that have a good power running game. That, in and of itself, would be plenty cause for concern but its exacerbated even more given that the offense has yet to achieve more than 6 completions or break the 100-yard mark in passing in any single game.
The law of averages suggest that won’t continue to be the case for the remainder of the season and that the Aggies will eventually find the key to unlocking the pass puzzle. Unfortunately, this powerful Delaware team won’t be exactly on standby, just chomping at the bit to become a willing guinea pig for a big A&T offensive emergence. In Vegas the odds will always be with the house and this week the marker is being held by an ill-tempered chicken in Newark, DE.
Delaware – 38
N.C. A&T – 13