EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T responded the way a champion should respond. The two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and HBCU national champions bounced back from a humiliating loss last week at Morgan State to dominate one of the best teams in the MEAC in Bethune-Cookman with a 47-17 win at BB&T Stadium on a Saturday afternoon filled with a brisk and chilly wind.
The Aggies (7-3, 5-2 MEAC) avoided losing back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2013 by simply running the football. N.C. A&T ran 63 plays on Saturday. Fifty of their plays were runs as they compiled 300 yards on the ground led by junior running back Jah-Maine Martin who finished with 120 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
Martin’s third touchdown on the day, a 7-yard romp up through the middle of the Wildcats defense earned him N.C. A&T’s single-season rushing touchdowns record. It was his 19th rushing touchdown of the season breaking Tarik Cohen’s record of 18. Martin’s 19th touchdown also tied Cohen for the school’s single-season record in total touchdowns.
“It’s a great feeling but I’m still not satisfied,” Martin said about breaking the record. “That’s not enough for me. I set my expectations high. We’re going to celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we’re back to work.”
There is plenty of work for the Aggies to do. The win pushes them closer to another Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl berth, their fourth in five years and their third straight overall. But there is still one regular-season game to play and that is against archival N.C. Central 1 p.m., Saturday, November 23 at BB&T Stadium.
If the Aggies win, they’re in. But the Eagles will not make that an easy task.