North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen forgot to eat breakfast Saturday morning prior to his first bowl game appearance.
Instead, the junior running back feasted on the Alcorn State defense for a school-record 295 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a 41-34 win in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at the Georgia Dome.
North Carolina A&T (10-2) jumped out to a quick a 24-6 lead thanks in large part to a 74-yard punt return touchdown by Khris Gardin and an 83-yard TD by Cohen.
Alcorn State (9-4) cut the deficit to 24-13 by halftime before eventually tying the game early in the fourth quarter on a Tollette George 11-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Lenorris Footman.
Footman was 14 for 36 for 144 yards and two TD passes. He also caught a 9-yard pass from George in the third quarter.
The game then became a back-and-forth battle until Cohen, who was named the Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP, provided the tie-breaking score with a 73-yard touchdown run with 4:17 left in regulation.
“We’ve said all along that Tarik is special,” North Carolina A&T coach Rod Broadway said. “The nation got to see him perform today. He had a big game for us, and we needed it.”
After a taking over at midfield following a North Carolina A&T punt, Alcorn State drove to the N.C. A&T 9-yard line but the Aggies stopped the Braves to secure the bowl win.
“I thought we were going to win with that last drive,” Braves coach Jay Hopson said. “This has been a football team you can never count out. It doesn’t matter if we’re down 40-to-nothing, we seem to find a way with three minutes to go in the game to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Good job for ASU but sAD TO SAY BUT I TRULY FEEL THE meac NEVER FACED THE BEST TEAM IN THE swac FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. JUST MY OPINION
hopefully next year this game can be scheduled with both teams having adequate time to prepare for the other. Giving a&t 3 weeks to prepare is a tremendous disadvbantage to the SWAC even i it means moving the bayou classic up a week
The Bayou Classic doesn’t have anything to do with the Celebration Bowl.
gj, Alcorn could have had a month to prepare for this game and the result would have been the same. Alcorn had trouble with the speed of A&Ts defense and as we all saw their offense. Last, the MEAC has dominated SWAC teams over the past 10 years! So they have played the best the SWAC has to offer. The SWAC is just not good enough! MEAC schools are considered the top tier HBCUs!
i just feel the Meac has a tremednous advantage for this game over the SWAC. First they literally can pick who plays because there will always be a 3 way tie. Second they have a extra week of preparation because they never play for a division championship and last they have 3 full weeks to prepare for this game a tremendous disadvantage.
The MEAC doesn’t “pick” a champion to play in the Celebration Bowl in the event of a tie. That is decided by the Sagarin ratings.