1. This was North Carolina A&T’s first-ever win over an FBS team
North Carolina A&T had played three previous games against teams from college football’s top level, and lost all three by a big margin. Including last season’s 53-14 loss to North Carolina, they lost those games by a margin of 39.7 points. Needless to say, this was a monumental win for a program that was at the bottom of the FCS a decade ago.
2. But it isn’t unprecedented in HBCU football
Florida A&M defeated Miami back in 1979, but more recently, Bethune-Cookman beat Florida International University in 2013 and again in 2014. Like Kent State, FIU was one of the worst teams in FBS football, but both schools are allotted a greater amount of scholarships and both teams got the check and the win.
3. Tarik Cohen showed why he will be drafted next season
Already A&T’s all-time leading rusher and on pace to become the MEAC’s as well this season, Cohen has demonstrated throughout his career that he is a rare talent on the HBCU and FCS levels. On Saturday night he caught nine passes for 125 yards, showcasing the skillset he’ll need to make it in the NFL as an undersized back. It’s been a long time since an HBCU running back was selected in the NFL Draft, but it will be an absolute shock if Cohen doesn’t hear his name called next spring.
4. But this was a team victory
Cohen is the unquestioned headliner for A&T, but even he couldn’t have done this without a lot of contributions from a lot of players. The game-winning touchdown didn’t come from Cohen, it came from third-string quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro connecting with receiver Denzel Keyes for a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth overtime. Defensively, Jeremy Taylor was huge with 15 tackles, four of them for loss, to go along with two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. We could go on, but then the list would be as long as the game itself
5. Now they’ve got to do it again
While Saturday night/Sunday morning’s win was exhilarating, the Aggies don’t have any time to rest on their laurels. They will be underdogs again in Week Three as they take on another FBS team on the road, traveling to Tulsa.
Of course, after the Kent State win, Tulsa will definitely take A&T seriously.
6. We were wrong
Every week during football season, we give our predictions. Somebody’s gotta win and somebody’s gotta use. As we said above, it’s rare for an HBCU to beat an FCS team. We picked Kent State following that logic, and we were wrong. It happens. Alot. And while we stand by the pick, we’re not mad we were wrong, because…
— HBCU Gameday (@HBCUGameday) September 10, 2016
7. They got the check, and the respect
When Kent State scheduled A&T, they weren’t expecting to get in to a four-overtime dogfight. They expected to get an easy win to jumpstart their struggling program. What they got was a loss to a team that starts off with a 22-scholarship allotment deficit and ended up forking over $325k to help A&T fund its program.
Turn up, A&T.