N.C. A&T football looks to bounce back as they prepare to face Hampton

N.C.+A%26T+football+looks+to+bounce+back+as+they+prepare+to+face+Hampton

Kamryn Jackson, Contributor

The N.C. A&T football team is traveling to Virginia to face the Hampton University Pirates this weekend.  After last week’s loss to Kennesaw State, the Aggies look to bounce back just in time for Homecoming.

Both N.C. A&T and Hampton made history as they are both the only Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) to switch over to the Big South after being in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) conference. 

Since 1998 N.C. A&T and Hampton have faced off against each other in football a total of 16 times. Hampton leads the series 10-6. 

Head Coach for the Aggies, Sam Washington, has high expectations for the Hampton Pirates in this upcoming match-up. 

“They are a very big, powerful, and explosive team. I was very impressed watching them on tape,” Coach Washington said. “They can run the ball offensively, and the quarterback has two dynamic receivers and perhaps the best receiver that we’ve faced so far this year.” 

The “two dynamic receivers” that coach Washington speaks of are junior Jadakis Bonds and senior Hezekiah Grimsley. The two receivers combined for 766 receiving yards, 48 receptions, and 7 touchdowns thus far this season. Not to mention, the Pirates also have the addition of freshman Romon Copeland, who has reeled in eight receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown this season. These three offensive weapons are key players to watch for the Pirates. 

On the Aggies side, they have some offensive firepower of their own. The Aggies come in swinging with two veteran running backs in seniors Jah-Maine Martin and Kashon Baker. The two combine for 568 rushing yards, 117 carries, and 4 rushing touchdowns this season. Another key player to watch for the Aggies is senior wide receiver Ron Hunt. Hunt leads the Aggies in receiving yards with 277 and has two touchdowns to show for this season. 

Unfortunately for the Aggies, they dropped to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big South conference after their loss against Kennesaw State last Saturday. 

This was the Aggie’s first loss in the Big South conference. Coach Washington had much to say on what went wrong for the Aggies. 

“The fact that they were able to stop our offense that’s what was most surprising for me, and they beat us at the point of attack. Our offensive line has been solid throughout the year,  and I think we rushed for 31 yards, and that’s not winning football. I don’t care who you’re playing,” Coach Washington said. 

Although the Aggies faced their first loss in the Big South, Coach Washington seems to know exactly what needs to happen to have a different outcome in their match-up against Hampton.

“Get back to what we do best, and that’s putting a hat on a hat and get some movement up front. That’s where everything begins, and Jalen (Fowler) is going to have to make some better decisions than he did on Saturday,” Washington said.

A win against Hampton should be a huge confidence booster for the Aggies, considering they have yet to come away with an away victory this season. 

The Aggies and the Pirates are set to face off on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. at Armstrong Stadium for what hopes to be an exciting face-off between two HBCU foes. 

The game will be streamed on ESPN+. To keep up to date with the Aggies football team, visit ncatathletics on Instagram.