TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The North Carolina Central University Eagles secured their 17th consecutive conference victory with a late touchdown for a 21-14 win against fellow MEAC contender Florida A&M University on Thursday night in Tallahassee, Florida. This was the second NCCU’s second straight nationally-televised game on ESPNU.
NCCU (3-1, 2-0 MEAC) collected 130 rushing yards in the game and held Florida A&M to only 73 yards on the ground. NCCU also had a total of 110 passing yards, while the Rattlers posted 185 yards through the air.
The Eagles began with great momentum, scoring two touchdowns rapidly in the first quarter. True freshman quarterback Chauncey Caldwell, who stepped into a bigger role on Thursday as the starting quarterback after a solid performance in the last game against S.C. State, showed potential with an athletic 18-yard rush to score the first touchdown for NCCU.
Junior safety Davanta Reynolds, who finished with four tackles, also put points on the board after he registered an impressive 31-yard pick-six to score the second touchdown for NCCU.
The Eagles’ balanced defensive effort was led by senior linebacker Reggie Hunter with 10 tackles, including a hit for a loss and a pass break-up. Fellow senior linebacker Kenneth “Tank” O’Neal, who enjoyed a breakout performance last week against S.C. State with a career-high 11 stops, ended Thursday night with eight tackles. Defensive ends Kawuan Cox and Antonio Brown led the Eagles in sacks with 1.5 each.
The Rattlers and the Eagles were tied 14-14 at halftime after FAMU running back Devin Bowers rushed for a 1-yard touchdown and then threw a 3-yard touchdown to Kevin Newman.
Sophomore quarterback Naiil Ramadan entered the game in the fourth quarter and completed his first pass for 18 yards to senior wide receiver David Miller. Ramadan completed 4-of-7 passes for 32 yards in relief. Miller was the Eagles’ leading receiver with five catches for 69 yards.
Caldwell reentered the contest with 6:11 remaining and engineered an 8-play, 47-yard drive that was capped by a 9-yard game-winning touchdown run by redshirt freshman running back Isaiah Totten, who rushed for 61 yards on 15 carries in the victory. Caldwell completed 10-of-18 passes for 79 yards and rushed for 51 yards and a score.
FAMU (2-3, 1-1 MEAC) received a standout defensive effort from defensive lineman Elijah Price with six tackles, including 3.5 hits for a loss and 2.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Rattlers quarterback Ryan Stanley was successful on 19-of-33 passes for 182 yards.
NCCU will travel to Howard University to compete next Saturday (Oct. 7) in hopes of remaining undefeated in the MEAC.
Courtesy: NCCU Athletics