Aggies Face Off Against Bears in Season Opener

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The North Carolina Agri- cultural and Technical State University football team will open up their season at Aggie Stadium on Sept. 5 against their old CIAA rival, Shaw University.

The Aggies will meet the Bears on the football field for the 21st time, this Friday. This will be their first faceoff since 1963. The last time these teams went head-to-head, the Aggies walked away with a 69-0 win.

The Aggies are coming off of a 9-3 season in which they posted a 6-2-conference re- cord that helped them become co-champs of the MEAC for the first time in 11 years.

The Aggies also earned their first national ranking in 10 years when they entered the STATS FCS poll at No. 24 following their 34-0 win over Savannah State on Nov. 15.

N.C. A&T leads the all- time series 17-3-1. Shaw’s last win over N.C. A&T was on Oct.16, 1948 when the Bears claimed a 12-6 win in Raleigh. The Aggies won the next eight contests with an average of 43.3 points before the series was discontinued.

N.C. A&T offense was much improved in the 2014 season, but defense has been the cor- nerstone of the Aggies season. Redshirt freshmen Lamar Ray- nard showed promise on the of- fensive side during the Aggies annual Blue-Gold spring game. Raynard finished the game 22- for-36, covering 230 yards and two touchdowns.

With the help of junior wide receiver, Denzel Keyes, and running back, Tarik Cohen, the offense is sure to make a huge leap this season. Keyes has made 30 catches, ran 437 yards, and made seven touchdowns in the 19 games he’s played. He also runs 4.69 in the 40-yard dash and has an impressive

102-inch wingspan. Cohen has 2,488 yards, 23 touchdowns, 389 yards receiving, two touch- downs on 36 catches, and 2,490 yards of total offense.

The Aggies’ defense record leads the nation in takeaways thanks to the help of their start- ing cornerbacks.

The Aggies’ normally reli- able rush defense endured a set- back last season against Coastal Carolina, when the Chanticleers rushed 219 yards in their 31-30 win over the Aggies at Aggie Stadium.

It was the second most rush- ing yards the Aggies have sur- rendered in 35 games under head coach Rod Broadway, only surpassing Appalachian State’s 255 yards in 2011.

“Five years ago we were the laughing stock of college football. Defensively, we have a chance of being pretty good,” said Broadway.

Coach Massey and the Shaw University Bears suf- fered a 3-7 overall finish dur- ing their 2014 season.

Three of their losses were by a possession or less, with back-to-back one point set- backs. The Bears’ football program was discontinued in 1979 before reinstating it in 2003. Massey is entering his fourth season at Shaw University. He holds a 13-17 mark overall and under his leadership the Bears are 8-11 in the CIAA.

Marquise Grizzle, a se- nior running back from Cam- den, N.C., is coming off of a junior campaign in which he rushed for 750 yards on 163 carries.

He averaged 107.1 yards per game, 4.6 per carry while scoring 8 touchdowns that ranked him second in the conference. Grizzle is only 333 yards away from becom- ing Shaw’s all-time leading rusher

Janay Boone – Managing Editor

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