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Everything falls A&T's way to earn another Celebration Bowl berth
Aggies rout NC Central, FAMU falls to Wildcats
 
Published Sunday, November 18, 2018 8:21 am
by Bonitta Best | The Triangle Tribune

DURHAM – North Carolina A&T had a lot riding on the line in its game against arch-rival North Carolina Central Saturday.


First, of course, is the rivalry. The 90th meeting between the two teams in Durham on Senior Day was for bragging rights for the next year.

Second, the Aggies needed a win and for Florida A&M to lose to earn a spot at next month’s Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.

A win by the Rattlers would make them co-champions with the Aggies and give FAMU the tiebreaker by virtue of defeating A&T earlier this season. The Aggies are nationally ranked, however, and  almost a sure lock for a Division I-FCS playoff at-large berth if FAMU wins.

But it’s no secret that the Celebration Bowl is the more popular choice.

A&T did its part, beating the Eagles 45-0, the first shutout in the series since 2013, and the biggest win since a 48-0 victory in 1991.

“We knew what we had to do coming into this game, and our guys got the job done,” A&T coach Sam Washington said. “Now, all we can do is wait.”

And wait. And wait.

Almost 30 minutes later, the final score was revealed: Bethune-Cookman 33, Florida A&M 19.

A&T, the outright MEAC champion, will face the SWAC champion, on Dec. 15. It will be the Aggies second straight bowl trip.

A&T dominated from the start and never let up off the gas pedal. The defense, which is No. 1 in the MEAC and No. 3 in FCS, held the Eagles to 41 yard of total offense, including a minus-21 yards rushing. The total is the lowest since at least 1999, and the minus-rushing yards the lowest since Nov. 17, 2012 – against  A&T.

Meanwhile, the Aggies combined for 539 total yards: 251 rushing and 288 passing.

Senior quarterback Lamar Raynard, who didn’t play last week, produced arguably his best game of the season, completed 16 of 23 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns, plus 78 rushing yards on nine carries.

Redshirt senior running back Marquell Cartwright bulldozed his way to 110 yards and two TDs. And junior wide receiver Elijah Bell, who towered over his opponents, used his height to his advantage with 109 catches for 122 yards and two TDs.

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