Aggies Face Off Against Bears In Season Opener

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The Aggies had the bears under control from the very start of the game this past Sat- urday, Sept. 5th. Preseason All-American running back, Tarik Cohen, started off with runs of 15,16, and 24.

Cohen then finished the first quarter off with a 5-yard touchdown run. Kicker, Cody Jones scored the field goal to give the Aggies a 7-0 lead. A 4th and 5 conversion on a roll out pass from redshirt fresh- man quarterback, Lamar Ray- nard, to wide receiver, Caleb Gabriel was set up.

This gave the Aggies a 1st and goal from the Bears’ 7-yard line.

Cohen had two touchdowns rushing at106 yards, and two touchdowns on 21 carries. It was his 13th career 100-yard game.

He scored again on a 4th and 1st from seven yards out to open the second quarter.

Linebacker, Denzel Jones, caused the Bears a safety, and helped put the Aggies up by 16 points. Raynard threw his first career touchdown pass, a 16- yard toss to Gabriel who was wide-open in the back of the end zone, increasing the Aggies lead 23-0.

“I thought he did well for his first game out,” said N.C. A&T head coach Rod Broadway about Raynard. Broadway, who won his 97th coaching victory on Saturday, said other than the pick-6, Raynard competed.

“You know one of the things we talk about is not turning the ball over, especially a pick-6. But he made some nice throws through the course of the ball game. He will only get bet- ter. Playing as a freshman, he played a lot better than a lot of other freshmen have played in that situation. He has a lot of room for improvement, and he’ll make the improvement because he’s a student of the game. He works his butt off, so he’ll only get better from this point forward.”

The Aggies’ defense held the Bears’ offense to a total of 81 yards. They also forced two turnovers including a pick-6 by redshirt freshman corner- back, Marquis Willis. Saturday marked the 20th straight game the Aggies have forced at least one turnover.

Shaw’s only points scored came from an 85-yard intercep- tion return by defensive line- men, Dwight Campbell.

“We have a chance of being good defensively if we continue to get better and learn, as well as fixing assignments. It’s very important to the way we play, and I thought these guys for the most part did that tonight” Broadway explained.

Wide receiver, Denzel Keyes had a career-high of six catches to finish with 119 yards receiv- ing and two touchdowns. “It was really good to get out there and play somebody else instead of playing our defense,” said Keyes.

Keyes had some trouble in the first quarter as he made sev- eral catches that were out of bounds. After he made adjust- ments, the score changed dra- matically.

“In the beginning of the game, I wasn’t leaving him enough space,” Keyes said, referring back to the redshirt freshman quarterback, Lamar Raynard to whom he threw the ball. “I was making catches, but my feet weren’t getting there. As I started attacking them, and then fading when the ball was in the air, letting the ball tell me where to go, then fading, that’s when we started clicking,” Keyes explained.

Keyes had an impressive 38- yard jump ball catch, and both touchdown receptions were ac- robatically amazing.

“I feel like no one in the country can guard him in those situations.” Said Raynard, who had three touchdowns, one interception, and 188 yards passing.

In the second half, Gabriel had a 92-yard kickoff return to give the Aggies a greater lead. Then Jones, with an- other field goal, brought the score to 37-7.

The Aggies continued to add points to the score board throughout the second half. Even Raynard had his 9-yard run to make the lead 54-7 with about 10 minutes left.

Within the last 25 sec- onds of the game, defensive back, Marquis Willis, had a 32-yard interception return to end the game with a tre- mendous lead.

The Aggies beat the Shaw University Bear’s 61-7 in their season-opener at Aggie Stadium.

The Aggies set a new re- cord for points scored in a season opener, easily sur- passing the previous mark of 50 points against Fayette- ville State in 1986.

The Aggies will get more of a challenge this Saturday, Sept. 12th, when they head to Chapel Hill for the first time ever to face the Univer- sity of North Carolina.

Alexis Wainwright – Sports Editor

—Email Alexis at [email protected] and follow her on twitter @multiplexreport