BB&T Stadium, Greensboro
Why the Aggies won
Jah-Maine Martin rushed for 120 yards and three touchdowns, and A&T’s defense held Bethune-Cookman to just 10 first downs as the Aggies clobbered the Wildcats 47-17 in a critical game between two of the three teams tied for first place in the MEAC standings.
The big play
On A&T’s second play from scrimmage, running back Martin took a handoff, bounced outside behind the right side of A&T’s offensive line and raced 66 yards for a touchdown. It set the tone, and forced Bethune-Cookman to play catch-up for the rest of the game.
What it means
The Aggies still control their own destiny heading into their regular-season finale against archrival N.C. Central. A&T holds the MEAC tiebreaker over South Carolina State, so with a victory on Senior Day the Aggies will qualify for their third consecutive Celebration Bowl. But if A&T loses and S.C. State wins, the Aggies’ postseason hopes are likely dashed.
A&T: RB Jah-Maine Martin 19 carries for 120 yards, 3 TDs; QB Jalen Fowler 5-for-6 passing, 105 yards, 2 TDs, 2 carries for 14 yards; WR Elijah Bell 4 catches for 62 yards, 1 TD; RB Kashon Baker 13 carries for 76 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch for 36 yards, 1 TD; LB Joe Stuckey 6 tackles, sack, fumble recovery; FS Najee Reams 6 unassisted tackles.
Bethune-Cookman: QB Akevious Williams 10-for-22 passing, 119 yards, 13 carries for 45 yards, 1 TD; WR Steffon Francois 2 catches, 52 yards; SS Tydarius Peters 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss.
• A&T junior Jah-Maine Martin scored on runs of 66, 4 and 7 yards. The third touchdown run was his 19th of the year, breaking Tarik Cohen’s single-season school record for rushing touchdowns and tying Cohen’s mark for total TDs in a year.
• A&T failed on two extra-point attempts in the game, once on a blocked kick and once on a bad snap.
• A&T linebacker Joe Stuckey recovered a fumble in the first quarter to set up the Aggies’ second touchdown. Bethune-Cookman tried a screen pass, but Akevious Williams bounced the pass short of his running back. Stuckey alertly realized it was a lateral and therefore a fumble, scooped up the ball and returned it to the 14-yard line.
• William Simpson, A&T’s 5-foot-11, 289-pound senior fullback, scored the first touchdown of his career on a fourth-and-1 run from the 6-yard line in the second quarter. Simpson is typically a lead blocker for A&T’s tailbacks.
• The Aggies defense held Bethune-Cookman to 5-of-16 on third down conversions and 229 yards of total offense. A&T rolled up 430 yards of total offense.
• A&T established the run early. The Aggies ran 19 total plays in the first quarter, 18 of them were runs for 141 rushing yards.
•A&T backup quarterback Jalen Fowler gave the Aggies a second-half spark, entering the game on A&T’s third series of the third quarter and throwing a pair of touchdown passes that put the game out of reach.
• It was band day at BB&T Stadium, and A&T’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine hosted 11 high school bands at the game. All 12 bands played on the field during halftime.
He said it
“My role on the team as the second-string quarterback is to always be ready. It could be the first play of the game if Kylil gets hurt. It can be whenever, and it’s my job to be ready. I’ve been that way throughout the season. I can’t ever be lacking, because you never know when you’re number’s going to be called.” — Jalen Fowler, A&T sophomore quarterback
“It’s a great feeling, but I’m still not satisfied. That’s not enough for me. I set my expectations high, and I plan to continue. Yeah, it’s a great feeling and I’ll celebrate today. But tomorrow I’m right back to work.” — Jah-Maine Martin, A&T running back, on breaking Tarik Cohen’s single-season rushing touchdowns record
Bethune-Cookman: 4-3 MEAC, 6-4 overall
A&T: 5-2 MEAC, 7-3 overall.
Bethune-Cookman: vs. Florida A&M in Florida Classic, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
A&T: N.C. Central, 1 p.m. Saturday