From the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference:
MEAC Football Weekly Notes | MEAC Football Weekly Coaches Video Conference
NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 22, 2021 – In back-to-back weeks, North Carolina Central will face an old nemesis.
A week ago, it was former CIAA foe Winston-Salem State in Durham, N.C. NCCU came from behind with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to win 20-13.
This weekend, it will be former Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) foe North Carolina A&T State, as the two in-state rivals square off in the renewal of the Aggie-Eagle Classic in Greensboro, N.C. The only thing different this time around is that the two won’t be fighting for positioning in the MEAC standings. According to NCCU head coach Trei Oliver, playing in different conferences won’t take away from the intensity of the rivalry.
“They say it’s hard to get your team up two weeks in a row for big games,” Oliver said. “Being that we didn’t really play the way I would have liked last week, hopefully it won’t be a problem getting up for those Aggies. The guys know what this rivalry is all about and what the matchup is. We as a coaching staff just have to do a good job to make sure that the guys are prepared. The guys are going to be excited. I’m sure A&T will be excited. That’s why the young men come to North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T – because you can play in these type of games.”
Here’s a glimpse at the games on tap for Saturday, Sept. 25:
Delaware State Hornets (1-2, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Merrimack Warriors (2-1, 0-0 NEC)
Saturday, Sept. 25 • Alumni Stadium • Dover, Del. • 2 p.m.
TV: MEAC Digital Network on ESPN+ • Live Stats
Against the Merrimack Warriors this Saturday, the Delaware State Hornets must come with their A-game, according to head coach Rod Milstead. Being offensively productive will be a key, as will limiting the Warriors’ time of possession and dictating how the game is being played. “We have talent here,” Milstead said. “We have a good scheme. Our biggest problem is executing and being consistent. We have yet to play four quarters of football. I take that on me, I put that on my shoulders. My job is to get them ready and prepared to make sure we are consistent and play four quarters of football. I’m going to do better on my end. Practice this week is going to be a little bit more intense than it has been the first three weeks, because we’ve got to get this thing going in the right direction.”
Howard Bison (0-3, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Robert Morris Colonials (1-1, 0-0 Big South)
Saturday, Sept. 25 • Joe Walton Stadium • Township, Penn. • 12 noon
TV: ESPN+ • Live Stats
For the Howard Bison to secure their first win of the season against Robert Morris, head coach Larry Scott says it’ll be a matter of using the knowledge gained in practices and taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves during this and all remaining games. This must be done, according to the coach, despite the youthfulness of his team. “I like the way and the direction that we’re going,” Scott said. “We still just have to shore up some of that translation into what we practice and what we talk about directly into the games, which is the definite sign of a young football team. Sometimes your youth shows up in critical situations. We cannot allow that to be an excuse for why we’re not performing at the level that we want to and in each and every opportunity we get. I like the direction that we’re going, but we still have that gap to close.”
Norfolk State Spartans (1-2, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Saint Francis Red Flash (1-2, 1-0 NEC)
Saturday, Sept 25 • DeGol Stadium • Loretto, Penn. • 12 noon
TV: NEC Front Row • Live Stats
This battle between two 1-2 teams will feature a Norfolk State offense with a propensity for explosiveness and a Saint Francis defense that Spartans head coach Dawson Odums describes as “funky.” So, on Saturday, something’s got to give. “Our football team showed how explosive it can be (versus Elizabeth City State),” Odums said. “I think that’s a testament to our players and our coaches. As long we continue to get better, keep working on our discipline and keep working on our understanding and execution, the sky is the limit to what this football team can achieve. Saint Francis has one of those funky defenses that we don’t see week-in and week-out. So having a good offensive plan is something we’re paying attention to and, defensively, they’ve got some weapons. We have to stop the run and if we do that, we feel we give ourselves a chance to win football games. If we can run the ball, we feel like we’ll have a chance.”
North Carolina Central (2-1, 0-0 MEAC) vs. North Carolina A&T State Aggies (0-2, 0-0 Big South)
Saturday, Sept. 25 • Truist Stadium • Greensboro, N.C. • 6 p.m.
In North Carolina Central’s game at rival North Carolina A&T State on Saturday, NCCU will be looking for its best start in four years, while NCAT will be trying to avoid its worst start in 11 years. In this rivalry, however, team records can be thrown out the window. This game shapes up to be another Hatfields versus McCoys duel. “This will be another dogfight,” Eagles head coach Trei Oliver said. “It’s an in-state rivalry and the teams are 45 minutes apart. It’s a lot of history between the two programs. It’s been some chippy ballgames and a lot of trash talk. I’d like to say it’s a love-hate relationship, but it might be a hate-hate relationship. It’s going to be a good one. They’re a championship football team and we have to play much better this week than we did this past weekend to be able to match up against those guys.”