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HBCU Gameday’s 2015 North Carolina A&T football preview

Junior running back Tarik Cohen takes handoff in practice. (Erin Mizelle/HBCU Gameday) 

The 2014 season was both exhilarating and frustrating for North Carolina A&T and its fans. At 9-3, the Aggies had their best season in over a decade, winning a piece of the MEAC for the first time since 2003. But the third loss was a costly one for two reasons. One, it lost to archrival North Carolina Central. More importantly, the loss put in motion a five-way tie for the MEAC crown, which led to four teams, including A&T, missing the playoffs despite getting a share of the title.

Both the hero and the goat for that game was running back Tarik Cohen. The “Bunn Blur” had a spectacular game (203 yards and two touchdowns) and an incredible season (1,340 yards and 15 touchdowns) but his fumble near the goalline killed what looked to be a sure-fire go-ahead drive by his team. Cohen took “The Fumble” personally, vowing to make up for it.

Over the summer, he became a nationwide sensation for a set of social media videos that showcased his amazing athletic ability, making appearances on national media outlets.

Away from all the hype, Cohen is eager to redeem himself and his team for their the way their season ended. He will have a new partner under center as redshirt freshman Lamar Raynard will replace Kwashaun Quick as the starting quarterback.

Joining him will be a defense that lost a major playmaker in linebacker D’Vonte Grant, but returns most of the supporting cast, including cornerback/kick returner Tony McRae, who picked off five passes last season.

Players To Watch

Offense

QB, Lamar Reynard: Just knew we were going to say Tarik Cohen, right? We all know what he can do, but what remains to be seen is what the redshirt freshman from High Point can do. The coaching staff is obviously high on him, and he won’t be looking to throw for 3,000 yards, but putting championship expectations on a quarterback who has never started a game before is a risky proposition.

DB, Tony McRae: Quiet as kept, McRae is arguably just as essential to the success of the Aggies as Cohen. He locks down receivers and is always a threat in the return game. Look for him to be the leader of the Aggie defense this fall.

Worst Case Scenario: 7-4
Best Case Scenario: 10-1

Sat, Sep 05 Shaw University Aggie Stadium 6:00 PM
Sat, Sep 12 North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. 6:00 PM
Sat, Sep 19 Elon at Elon, N.C. 6:00 PM
Sat, Oct 03 Hampton * at Hampton, Va. 2:00 PM
Sat, Oct 10 Norfolk State * at Norfolk, Va. 2:00 PM
#AggieHealth & Greek Day
Sat, Oct 17 Bethune-Cookman * Aggie Stadium 1:00 PM
Sat, Oct 24 Howard (Homecoming) * Aggie Stadium 1:00 PM
Sat, Oct 31 Florida A&M * at Tallahassee, Fla. 3:00 PM
Sat, Nov 07 S.C. State * at Orangeburg, S.C. 1:30 PM
Military Appreciation, Community Outreach & University Day
Sat, Nov 14 Delaware State * Aggie Stadium 1:00 PM ESPNU (tape-delayed)/ESPN3 (Live)
Black Out The Eagles
Sat, Nov 21 N.C. Central * Aggie Stadium 1:00 PM

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