The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

N.C. A&T football falls to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Coastal Athletic Association debut

Pedro Dudley Jr.

The Aggies are off to a not-so-solid start in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) after their 35-6 loss to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The solid passing performance and stout defense from UAB led to a frazzled offense for the Aggies, leaving fans disappointed in their season debut.

“The game was just straight-up embarrassing,” said Michael Dickens, a 1984 graduate of N.C. A&T and a long-time Aggie fan. “I understand we  [N.C. A&T] were up against a great program, but the performance was pitiful. A Division I program should be able to put up a better fight. It was unacceptable.”

 The Blazers got on the board first after a five-minute drive led by quarterback Jacob Zeno. The possession ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jermaine Brown Jr., giving the Blazers an early 7-0 lead. Zeno would finish the game throwing 38-41 for 291 yards and three touchdown passes.

The Aggies’ starting quarterback position was up in the air, but ultimately, redshirt freshman Eli Brickhandler got the start. Brickhandler struggled throughout the game, throwing 2-8 for 16 yards.

True freshman quarterback Kevin White also earned playing time for the Aggies but wasn’t the most effective, having negative yardage on the ground and zero completions.

A&T tried to rely on its run game, as tailbacks Wesley Graves and Kenji Christian combined for 24 carries, more than twice as many passing attempts as the Aggies. But the Blazers’ defense put the clamps on A&T, allowing less than 200 yards of total offense.

All in all, the Blazers’ offensive firepower was too much for the Aggies’ defense. The Blazers went 8 for 10 on third-down conversions and picked up 31 first downs, finishing the game with five touchdowns and 458 yards of total offense.

Despite the blowout loss, the new head coach of the Aggies, Vincent Brown, saw some bright spots for his team.

“There are a lot of positive things to point to,” said Brown in a press conference. “The lack of penalties and not beating ourselves in that area is really important to us because that will help us along the way and down the road. But we didn’t play well enough. You can’t pass for 16 yards and win a college football game. Defensively, the tempo to us. I don’t think we had our kids prepared to handle their tempo. There’s a lot of things we can improve on that we know we can improve on.”

Before the game, Brown made it clear that one game would not define his team.

“We’re building this thing for the long haul,” said Brown. “We will not be defined by the results of this game [UAB vs. A&T] Thursday, or the game the following week or the week after. We’re building this program for sustained success.”

Aggie fans shouldn’t panic too quickly, considering A&T’s football team started the season 0-4 and ultimately finished 7-4 in 2022.

In the highly anticipated Aggie-Eagle Classic, A&T will take on in-state rival North Carolina Central on Sept. 9 at Truist Stadium.


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