Game Notes: Howard and North Carolina A&T
This is a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference match-up between the Bison of Howard University and the Aggies of North Carolina A&T State University. Both teams are looking for their first conference win. The Bison (1-5 overall, 0-3 in the MEAC) dropped a 31-30 loss to Morgan State University in double overtime this past Saturday. The Aggies (2-6 overall, 0-4 in the MEAC) dropped their sixth straight in a 42-7 road loss to Delaware State University this past Saturday.
The Carey Bailey Show can be seen every Thursday on MASN Sports at 12:30 pm...Coach Bailey will discuss the previous game and preview the upcoming game...today's game is being broadcast live on the Internet...Log onto www.howard-bison.com and then click onto TEAMLINE to follow all the play by play action with Ron Harris...Aggies fans can follow the action on WNAA, 90.1 in Greensboro, NC...Mel Swann handles play by play and Spencer Gwynn and Billy Covington provide the color commentary.
Howard Coach Carey Bailey (Tennessee ‘92) is in his second season after serving as an assistant at the University Minnesota. Bailey was the defensive line coach there and under his tutelage, the Gophers led the nation in turnover margin (plus 1.33). Bailey also gained a wealth of experience in stints at Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Virginia Military Institute and at West Virginia. North Carolina A&T is led by George Ragsdale (NC A&T '76), who was named interim coach for the remainder of the season after head coach Lee Fobbs was relieved of his duties on Monday. Ragsdale has served as running backs coach for the past three years and is in his third stint in a coaching capacity with the Aggies.
Setting the Scene
The Bison offense, which ranks among the best in FCS, is led by red-shirt junior QB FLOYD HAIGLER (159 of 268, 1,684 yards, 14 TDs, 10 interceptions), senior RB KARLOS WHITTAKER (62 carries, 256 yards carries, 2 TDs), senior WR ARLANDUS HOOD (40 receptions, 372 yards, 1 TD), freshman WR WILLIE CARTER (44 receptions, 477 yards, 6 TDs), junior WRs BRANDON SHERMAN (27 receptions, 361 yards, 2 TDs) and ULYSSES "MARIO" ALEXANDER (6 receptions, 109 yards, 2 TDs) senior WR/RB RAMON "RAY RAY" MCELRATHBEY (21 receptions, 167 yards, 2 TDs; 16 carries, 100 yards).
Defensively, Howard is led by senior All-American candidate, MLB ENDOR COOPER (52 solos, 33 assists, 10.5 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles), junior S ARANDO JAMISON (18 solos, 20 assists, 4.0 tackles for losses, a forced fumble), sophomore LB PATRICK JEAN-MARY (13 solos, 13 assists, 3.5 tackles for a loss), junior DLs JAMES CARTER (12 solos, 16 assists, 5.5 tackles for losses, 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble) and JAMES ROBINSON (10 solos, 10 assists, 4.0 tackles for losses), junior S MARTIN CORNIFFE (15 solos, 16 assists, 2.0 tackles for losses, an interception and a fumble recovery) and junior DL WILL CRONER (12 solos, 4 assists, 3.0 tackles for losses and a fumble recovery).
Bison Hooves: As a team, Howard boasts some impressive numbers...the Bison rank 12th in the country in passing offense...Haigler is 8th in total offense, 11th in passing yards per game and 13th in total passing yards...Hood is 3rd in receiving yards per game and Carter is tied for sixth...Brandon Drayton is 22nd in punt returns, highest among all freshmen in that category...Cooper is first in the country in solos tackles, 3rd in total tackles and tied for 8th in tackles for losses...in MEAC statistics, the Bison are first in passing offense, second in total offense and in third down conversion and tied for third in time of possession...Haigler leads the MEAC in passing offense and total offense...Willie Carter is first in receptions per game, Hood is second, Sherman is fifth and Ramon "Ray Ray" McElrathbey is 6th...Drayton is third in punt returns...Cooper leads the conference in both total tackles, solo tackles and tackles for losses...Arando Jamison is 14th in tackles and Alfred Sutton is second in fumble recoveries...James Carter was selected MEAC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the double overtime loss to Morgan State...Willie Carter suffered a high ankle sprain in the Morgan State and could be out for the season.
North Carolina A&T
The Aggies are led offensively by junior QB HERB MILLER (55 of 112, 554 yards, 2 TDs, 6 interceptions), senior RB MICHAEL FERGUSON (110 carries, 467 yards, 5 TDs), red-shirt sophomore RB NIGEL TOMLIN (26 carries, 187 yards, 3 TDs), senior WR CHAZ DAWSON (18 receptions, 235 yards, 2 TDs), junior WR GIORGIO LOWRANCE (18 receptions, 231 yards, 2 TDs) and red-shirt freshman WR WALLACE MILES (18 receptions, 136 yards).
The NC A&T defense is led by junior LB ANDRE THORNTON (24 solos, 45 assists, 6.5 tackles for losses, 1.0 sacks and a fumble recovery), red-shirt junior LB JAMISON HEDGEPETH (7 solos, 15 assists, 1.5 tackles for losses, an interception and 3 fumble recoveries), senior LB BRANDON LONG (28 solos, 30 assists, 9.0 tackles for losses, 1 fumble recoveries) junior DE JARRELL HERRING (16 solos, 19 assists, 6.5 tackles for losses and an interception), senior DE TYRE GLASPER (14 solos, 13 assists, 9.0 tackles for losses) and junior FS NICK CLEMENT (24 solos, 13 assists, 0.5 tackles for losses).
Aggie Barks: NC A&T started the season with a 27-game losing streak but showed promise with two wins to start the season...the Aggies have since lost six straight...NC A&T has had problems on offense, averaging only 16.2 points per game and 242 yards per game in total offense...NC A&T quarterbacks have been sacked 27 times while the defense is giving up 183 yards per game on the ground...on a positive note, the Aggies are a perfect 17-for-17 on PATS and three-for-four on field goals...NC A&T is also second in third down conversion defense...Michael Ferguson is sixth in rushing (66.7), Quay Long is 5th in kick returns (24.1), Quintin Cosby is 6th in punt returns (8.7) and Herb Miller is 9th in passing....Hedgepeth is ranked 11th nationally in fumble recoveries and is third in the MEAC.
Making a Statement
Each week, Endor Cooper legitimizes his pre-season MEAC Defensive Player of the Year recognition. The 6-3, 245-pound, hard-hitting senior middle linebacker from Woodbridge, VA is not only making a lot of tackles, he is getting a lot of attention from the media covering the games as well as NFL scouts. Arguably one of the top players in FCS, Cooper leads the nation in solos, is third in total tackles and tied for seventh in tackles for losses. He is averaging a whopping 14 tackles per game.
Willie Carter is proving each week that he is no flash in the pan. The 6-3, 190-pound freshman wide receiver from Denmark, SC, has turned heads this season. He has grabbed 44 passes and scored 6 TDs to lead the team. He is ranked sixth in the country in receptions per game, the highest among all freshmen. His 12 receptions against Hampton was one off the school record of 13 held by Gary "Flea" Harrell. He leads the conference and has twice been named the Rookie of the Week.
When one watches Brandon Drayton returning punts, you sense that it is just a matter of time before he breaks one. The 5-8, 170-pound freshman from Northwestern High School in Miami, FL, made his debut by returning 3 punts for an average of almost 14 yards that included a 28-yarder that he nearly broke for a score. He showed even more progress against FAMU, nearly breaking a couple for big gains. And in the game versus SSU, Drayton's 36-yard return set up a score. Nicknamed "Quick Six" for his ability to go the distance in a short span of time, Drayton is averaging almost 12 yards per return and is ranked Number 3 in the conference and tops among all freshmen at that position. Stay Tuned.
The win over Savannah State ended a seven-game Howard losing streak dating back to last year's win over Norfolk State. Haigler has passed for over 300 yards in three straight games. Carter has caught at least one TD pass in each of the four games played. The Bison are a perfect 9-for-9 in their last 9 possessions in the Red Zone.
Howard is currently tied for first among all HBCUs in players in the National Football League with seven: Tracy White (Philadelphia Eagles), Marques Douglas (Baltimore Ravens), Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis Colts), Ronald Bartell, Jr. (St. Louis Rams), Brandon Torrey (Oakland Raiders), Geoff Pope (Cincinnati Bengals) and Rudy Hardie (Green Bay Packers). The Bison also boasts three former players who are on coaching staffs: Jimmie Johnson (Minnesota Vikings/TEs coach), Pep Hamilton (Chicago Bears/QBs coach) and Roy Anderson (Baltimore Ravens/defensive coach).
Coming into the season, Arlandus Hood had shown marked progression each season, catching 4 passes his first season, 12 in his sophomore season and a career-best 23 last season. But no one expected Hood to get off to the start he has this season. The 6-2, 195-pound senior from Long Beach, CA, worked hard in the off-season and it is paying off handsomely. He has already grabbed 40 passes in five games (he missed the WSSU game due to injury) and is averaging almost 10 yards per reception. His 12 catches vs FAMU was just one off the school record of 13 held by former Bison standout, Gary "Flea" Harrell in 1993.