CAN ANYONE IN THE MEAC SLOW DOWN NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL?
The North Carolina Central Eagles used a great effort on defense and some timely offense from QB Chauncey Caldwell and company to beat the Howard University Bison 13-7 on Saturday in Washington D.C. The 18th consecutive conference victory for NCCU.
The stat line for Caldwell wasn’t necessarily spectacular. Caldwell finished 11 of 21 passing for 119 yards. He also ran the ball seventeen times for a total of 89 yards. Not bad numbers at all for the hometown (Durham, NC) senior, who’s 30-yard TD pass midway through the third quarter proved to be the difference in the game. Senior wide receiver Jacen Murphy was on the receiving end of that TD pass. He led the Eagles with 57 yards receiving.
As timely as the Eagles’ passing game proved to be, it was the running game and timely defense that ultimately won the game for them. NCCU rushed for 217 yards. Freshman running back Isaiah Totten rushed for 119 of those yards by himself. Totten and Caldwell were a good duo, and the Eagles needed every one of those yards. Despite the potent running attack from North Carolina Central, the Bison out-gained them by a total of 400 to 336 yards. However, it was the Eagles’ defense that made all of the important plays to seal the victory. Howard QB Caylin Newton again had a solid performance with 328 yards and a TD through the air. But, two untimely interceptions proved to be too much for Howard to overcome.
With the loss, the Bison fall to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the MEAC. Of course, North Carolina Central remains undefeated in the MEAC at 3-0 and 4-1 overall. Their only loss came to Duke in week one of the season.
SO, WHO CAN FINALLY END THE DOMINANCE OF NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL?
We may be getting ahead of ourselves assuming NCCU continues their dominance through the end of the season. The Eagles still have three tough tests ahead of them. Norfolk State is a home game in two weeks. But, two tough road games at Hampton on November 4th and at arch-rival North Carolina A&T to end the season could be stumbling blocks. That’s especially so in the case of the NCA&T Aggies, who are undefeated and own an impressive victory of the FBS-level Charlotte 49ers. Then again, on this incredible run, North Carolina Central has handled everything anyone has thrown at them. It would be foolish to think they’re going to back down to a challenge, especially from their biggest rival. The end of the season should be fantastic as we follow the Eagles dominance of the MEAC.