The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies outscored the Alcorn State Braves 64-44 in an offensive shootout during the Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Aggies were fueled by quarterback Kylil Carter, as the Aggie offense 28 points in the 3rd quarter alone. Overall, both teams combined for over 1,000 yards in the game. The Aggies are now 4-0 in the Celebration Bowl and 3-0 against the Braves in the unofficial HBCU National Championship.
“We wanted to remain humble and we wanted to stay hungry so that we could reach this pinnacle again.” Head Coach Sam Washington for the NCA&T Aggies said.
Carter, a native of Atlanta, threw six touchdown passes by the end of the 3rd quarter. breaking the Celebration Bowl record of touchdown passes in the game, previously four. He also tied a program record for touchdown passes in a game and scored off of passes to three different receivers in the first quarter. He Finished the game with six touchdowns and 364 passing yards.
“It’s a great feeling, it’s a blessing to be here…I thank God every day for it.” Carter said.
After winning the coin toss, Alcorn State couldn’t make anything out of their first two drives. The Braves suffered two sacks to quarterback Felix Harper that set them back 3rd and long. The Braves, who have been leading the FCS in turnovers, was able to do what they have been doing best and force a fumble from the Aggies. This gave them their best field position on the 32-yard line. They were able to convert off of the turnover, kicking a 28-yard field goal and making the score 3-0.
It was all purple and gold rally towels in the first quarter, but the Aggies came out swinging in the second and never let up. QB Kylil Carter slung a 53-yard pass to Elijah Bell who escaped the defense for the score. After the successful kick, the score became 7-3 in favor of the Aggies. From there, it was a back and forth scoring show between the MEAC and the SWAC.
The Braves answered with a 36-yard TD pass from Felix Harper to Chris Blair, putting Alcorn State back on top, 10-7. The Aggies took over from there with a 59-yard TD pass from Carter to Zachary Wesley. This sat the Aggies back on top 14-10. After Felix Harper threw an interception midway through the second quarter, the Aggies were able to secure a 26-yard field goal to increase their lead to 17-10. A TD pass from Carter to Korey Banks increased Aggies lead to 24-10 just before the half.
The 3rd quarter was filled with nothing but scores and cheers as the teams combined for 49 points in the 15 minutes of play. Jah-Maine Martin, who had a quiet first half, started the 3rd quarter with a 75-yard touchdown run on the first drive. The Aggies lead grew to 31-10. The Braves woke back up from a silent second quarter and responded with a 6-yard touchdown run by the QB Felix Harper. The Aggies countered with a 43-yard touchdown pass to from Carter to Ron Hunt. This increased the lead to 38-17.
The Braves followed with a 23-yard TD run by De’Shawn Waller. The score then grew to 38-24. The Aggies fought back with another touchdown pass from Carter to Bell, which increased the lead to 45-24. The Braves then scored off of a 35 TD pass from Harper to Raidarious Anderson, bringing the score to 45-31. The Aggies ended the 3rd quarter with a touchdown by Banks to put the Aggies up 52-31entering the final quarter.
The 4th quarter started with a fumble by Jah-Maine Martin that was recovered by the Braves, putting them in the red zone. The Braves were able to score off of that turnover with a 13-yard pass from Harper to Nigel Wood, bringing the score to 52-38. The Aggies were able to kick a field goal midway through the 4th and increase their lead, 55-38. The Braves QB, Felix Harper, scored off of a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth. The point after attempt was blocked and recovered by Amir McNeill for the Aggies, who ran it in for TD. 57-44
The Aggies had too much gas for the Braves to keep up with offensively. They finished off the show with a run by Jah-Maine Martin for a touchdown. The final score of the game was 64-44.