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Sideline Shots: Howard At A&T

NC A&T cornerback D’Vonte Graham picked off one pass against Howard on Thursday. (NC A&T photo)

Had to go a different route to cover the A&T-Howard game on Thursday, coming to you from the stands instead of the sidelines. But we made it work anyway. Here are our thoughts on the game.

Howard 

-The Bison found ways to hurt themselves all night. It started with the blocked punt, which helped A&T score its first touchdown. It continued with missed tackles, and more importantly, turnovers, that set A&T up in great field position.

-Greg McGhee is arguably the most talented quarterback in the MEAC, but his receivers consistently let him down on Thursday night with several dropped passes. Maybe it was the bright lights. Maybe it was the hard-hitting Aggie defense. Whatever it was, Bison receivers killed several drives on their own by not bringing the ball in.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js-As we said in our preview, Howard could keep the game close as long as it didn’t turn the ball over. Howard officially committed three turnovers, (two fumbles and an interception) but the blocked punt attempt to start the game might as well have counted too. That blocked punt put A&T automatically in the redzone and catapulted its offense to an explosive first half.

-Despite the turnovers, dropped passes, and penalties, Howard still had a good shot to win the game for most of the fourth quarter. That must have been a long bus ride back to DC.

Verdict: Howard has talent on both sides of the ball, but you get the feeling something is missing. That said, look for them to get better by the end of the season. They won’t be an easy out for most MEAC squads.

Um…I guess the field wasn’t wet enough for someone’s liking. (NC A&T photo)

A&T

-The A&T special teams unit definitely lived up to its billing. From the blocked punt in the first quarter to the blocked PAT in the fourth, they imposed their will on Howard. Take away those two plays, and the results may have been different. The only blemish was a missed PAT.

-A&T’s defense is full of impact players. Linebackers D’Vonte Grant (12 tackles, 3 for loss) and Tony Clodfelter (6 tackles) seemed to be everywhere all night, as did safety Terrence Crosby (10 tackles). Cornerback D’Vonte Graham showed everyone why he’s an All-American candidate with one interception, and another pass breakup. One I’ll be keeping an eye on is sophomore defensive lineman Daniel Pinnix. Pinnix racked up two sacks for a total of 15 lost yards. That gives him five in three games.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js-A&T’s offense showed Jekyll/Hyde tendencies. It was great in the first half, taking advantage of the opportunities that the defense and the special teams afforded it. Lewis Kindle probably had one of his better games, going an efficient 14 for 22 with touchdowns in the air and on the ground.

The second half, however, was a different story. A&T’s offense seemed to have left the field with the band. The Aggies never got any type of rhythm in the second half, perhaps getting too conservative for their own good.

Which one was the real A&T offense? I’d say probably somewhere in between.

Verdict: If A&T’s defense and special teams can come up with takeaway and force opponents into mistakes like they did against Howard, it might not even need 27 points from its offense to beat most conference foes.

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