NC A&T closed out its first spring practice under new head coach Vincent Brown Saturday with its annual blue and gold game.
The simiulated game culminated the allotted 15 practices as Brown readies the Aggies for their first season as members of the Colonial Athletics Conference.
Perhaps most importantly, Brown had a full compliment of nearly 100 players in uniform. Somewhere between 12 and 25 players had not suited up in a scrimmage a week earlier because of academic issues.
“Our numbers were significantly improved over last week,” Brown said. “So, we’re happy with that. We laid our foundation. The kids have done a great job of adjusting to the academic standards that we expect. And we’re just going to keep building.”
NC A&T blue and gold game
The game featured the first team defense against the second team offense and second team defense vs. the first team offense. The offense came out with a 33-21 win vs. the defense. Defenses were awarded points for stops.
Redshirt sophomore running back Wesley Graves was the standout of Saturday’s game. He carried 21 times for 121 yards including a third-quarter TD run from about 12 yards. Graves played behind 1,000-yard rusher Bhayshul Tuten last season. He should be the Aggies featured back this season.
Redshirt sophomore Charlie Dixon ran hard. He scored on a 1-yard scoring run.
Redshirt sophomore quarterbacks Zach Yeager, Eli Brickhandler and Alston Hooker split duties under center. They were a combined 13 of 23 for 150 yards and two TDs. Brickhandler and Hooker threw for the scores.
Nicholas Wilds-Landing had five receptions for 61 yards and the TD from Brickhandler. Derrick Brinton had one 25-yard catch from Hooker that he ran in for a score.
Grad transfer linebacker Malich Jacobs led the defense with eight tackles Redshirt sophomore linebacker Ty’Quan Kearney added five tackles. Redshirt junior defensive end Janorris Robertson had four tackles and one of two defensive sacks.
What Brown liked about the blue and white game
“I like the fact that the offense pushed the ball down the field a couple times,” Brown said. “There were some strong runs by the running backs. The defense at times did a tremendous job of getting to the quarterback. So, there were a lot of things for us to build on.”
Asked whether the offense or defense won the game, Brown said “The Aggies won.”