MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A 58-year old rookie head football coach named Sam Washington was staring at some incredible odds on Saturday in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff Classic against No. 6 Jacksonville State at Cramton Bowl.
It was his first game as a head coach. He was taking over for a North Carolina A&T team with high expectations after going 12-0 last season. He was replacing a coaching legend while also facing a Division I-FCS power in JSU with zero losses in the Ohio Valley Conference over the previous four seasons. Washington was doing all of this under an enormous spotlight with millions watching on ESPN including the entire historically black college and university nation hoping N.C. A&T could finally be the HBCU to knock off an FCS playoff team.
Mr. Sam Washington didn’t blink. The Aggies forced four Gamecock turnovers including a forced fumble and recovery in the final seconds for a 20-17 win over the Gamecocks. In defeating the Gamecocks, the Aggies pulled off one of the most significant wins in school history and in HBCU football history.