After a crazy Saturday in college football, it is official that the North Carolina A&T Aggies, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Champions, will face the Alcorn State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Champions in the 4th Annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Dec. 15.
The Braves punched their ticket after their 37-28 victory over the Southern Jaguars Saturday evening. Meanwhile, the Aggies have been waiting for their opponent since their 45-0 win over the North Carolina Central Eagles November 17th.
After knocking off Jacksonville State earlier in the season, many pundits saw them playing with a chip on their shoulder as they were determined to have another dominant year. Losses against Morgan State and Florida A&M (FAMU) did not deter the Aggies as they were able to bounce back and defend their MEAC crown.
Quarterback Lamar Raynard and running back Marquell Cartwright are the two cogs that keep the Aggies’ offense moving.
Raynard is the key to the Aggies offensive success and continues to lead by example. Although he has a 54.9 completion percentage, Raynard’s leadership has kept A&T’s offense ticking on schedule.
Cartwright leads the Aggies in rushing with 892 yards on the season. If he has a strong game next Saturday, he could break the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
On the other side of the field, the Braves will be no slouches. After coming off their victory against the Jaguars, it is apparent that the running game led by running back De’Shawn Waller and their defense is something that can trouble the Aggies.
Waller finished three touchdowns while rushing for 177 yards on 16 carries in their win against the Jaguars. On the season, he has 1,039 rushing yards and has proved to be a force to reckon with.
If the offensive line can create lanes for Waller, Alcorn’s ground game can open opportunities for quarterback Noah Johnson who has 15 passing touchdowns and a 64.1 completion percentage through the regular season.
The Braves possess a defense that has notched 50 sacks and 13 interceptions on the season. Terry Whittington leads the team with nine sacks and seeks to make his presence felt early in this game.
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl will be televised on ABC at 12:00 PM.