NC A&T (2-0 Big South, 3-3 overall) at ROBERT MORRIS (0-2, 0-6)
Joe Walton Stadium, Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
ESPN+/WKEW 1400-AM, 96.3-FM (broadcasts at TobaccoRoadSportsRadio.com)
By the numbers
NC A&T — Offense, 24.3 ppg, 193.0 ypg rushing, 161.3 ypg passing, 10 turnovers; defense, 27.8 ppg, 90.2 ypg rushing, 181.7 ypg passing, 10 forced turnovers; team, 71.0 ypg in penalties.
Robert Morris— Offense, 9.3 ppg, 50.8 ypg rushing, 173.3 ypg passing, 15 turnovers; defense, 33.5 ppg, 220.5 ypg rushing, 176.8 ypg passing, 10 forced turnovers; team, 42.5 ypg in penalties.
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Players to watch
NC A&T — QB Jalen Fowler (57 passes for 85, 608 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT), RB Bhayshul Tuten (97 carries, 637 yards, 6 TDs, 16 catches, 134 yards, TD), WR Jamison Warren (16 catches, 135 yards , TD), WR Sterling Berkhalter (11 catches, 169 yards, TD), DL Devin Harrell (5 TFL, 4 sacks), DB LB Tyquan King (53 tackles, 3 TFL, INT), Karon Prunty (23 tackles, 2 INT ), Rover Avarion Cole (23 tackles, 2 INT), K Andrew Brown (9 of 11 FGA), P Caleb Brickouse (42.2 yards per punt).
Robert Morris— QB Zach Tanner (27 passes for 62, 265 yards, 0 TDs, 6 INTs), QB Corbin LaFrance (12 passes for 29, 104 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT), RB Alijah Jackson (76 carries, 224 yards), WR Parker Fetterman (16 catches, 194 yards, TD), WR Jamal Hill (9 catches, 97 yards, TD pass), LB Joe Casale (58 tackles, 8 TFL, sack).
Is this a must game for the Aggies?
Yes. With Campbell coming to town next Saturday and Robert Morris winless, this is a game where A&T needs to focus, take care of business, stay healthy, and then prepare for the biggest homecoming against the Camels. The Aggies have three Big South Conference games to play after Robert Morris — at home against Campbell and Charleston Southern and at Gardner Webb — and are in control of their league fate. But it gets much tougher after Saturday, as Campbell beat Robert Morris 41-10 and Gardner-Webb routed the Colonials 48-0.
A&T also has a non-conference game against former MEAC rival Norfolk State on Nov. 5 at Truist Stadium. Not that Aggies fans need a refresher, but A&T lost its opener to former MEAC rival NC Central 28-13 at the Duke’s Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Who are the Colonials?
Robert Morris didn’t start playing football until 1994, when the Colonials hired former NFL player and coach Joe Walton to build the program whose field now bears his name. Robert Morris has won six conference championships and made an NCAA FCS playoff appearance in 2010.
The current edition of the Colonials is coached by another former NFL player, Miami alum Bernard Clark. The former linebacker, now in his third season as head coach, may be familiar to A&T fans from his two stints as defensive coordinator at Hampton (2009, 2012-13). His Robert Morris side struggled a lot on offense, averaging just 9.3 points and 50.8 rushing yards per game and failing to get the ball rolling effectively. The Colonials used two quarterbacks in their last game, a 41-10 loss to Campbell, and neither was effective. The only Robert Morris player to connect on a touchdown pass in the past two games has been wide receiver Jamal Hill, whose 64-yard strike accounted for more than a third of Morris’ 188 rushing yards. his team in the game.
What is the quality of this A&T team?
We won’t know for a few weeks, but the Aggies have done what they had to do in their last three games.
We know RB Bhayshul Tuten will earn significant yardage any time his offensive line gives him something resembling a holeshot, while providing a receiving threat out of the backfield. This is the passing game where A&T has the most room for offensive growth. QB Jalen Fowler needs to hit middle and deep shots when defenses load the box against Tuten & Co. and avoid turnovers (especially fumbles) when the Aggies get behind the chains.
The A&T defense needs to do a better job against the pass and force more turnovers as the Deep South schedule gets tougher. We’re about to find out if the A&T who gave up 120 points in a 0-3 start against a brutal schedule or the one who gave up 47 in the last three home games is the real one. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034 and follow @JoeSireraSports on Twitter.