Both Morgan State’s Donald Hill-Eley and North Carolina A&T’s Rod Broadway know that a true assessment of where their teams stand will start on Thursday night in Greensboro. After playing non-FCS opponents in their last two games, the longtime MEAC foes will open up conference play in front of a national audience as ESPNU will broadcast live from Aggie Stadium.
After an opening week loss to Coastal Carolina, the Aggies (2-1) spent their last two weeks pummeling Division II opponents. First there was a 77-0 shellacking of West Virginia State and then a 40-7 win over Virginia Union of Lynchburg.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction, but I don’t think the last two games are a good gauge of where we are as a football team,” Broadway said during his weekly teleconference. “I think we’ll have a lot more answers after this game than we have right now on the direction we’re moving and what we’ll need to get done as far as the football team is concern.”
Conversely, the Bears (2-1) are coming off back-to-back defeats at the hands of Football Bowl Subdivision Opponents Buffalo and Akron. Despite his team’s 66-6 loss to Akron the last time his team took the field, Hill-Eley had plenty of positives to draw upon heading into Thursday’s game.
“They don’t quit. These young men find a way to keep fighting,” he said. “We went against Buffalo and were able to put up 34 points against an FBS team that was very physical and wanted to dominate us. We played Akron good for a half.”
The two teams have had ten days to recover since their last games. The coaches both said that break proved beneficial for their teams.
‘We had some bruises and lumps and we needed to recover,” Hill-Eley said. “Recovery is just as important as preparation.”
When asked if it was more difficult to prepare for a team that had a few extra days of rest, Broadway said the fact that both teams had identical made the opponents time between games a moot point.
“We’re in the same boat. I don’t think that the advantage is to anyone in this situation,” he said. “We had an opportunity to work and to hopefully get better during the week.”
Simply put, both coaches are looking forward to seeing where their teams stand underneath the bright lights of Aggie Stadium for a rare Thursday night game.
“Looking at that team, they can run the ball well, throw the ball well and they have a very staunch defense,” Hill-Eley said. “Everything that I just said is paper work, but Thursday night at 7:30, everything is going to be tested.”
The rare opportunity to play in front of a national audience was obviously a bonus in Broadway’s mind.
“We’re looking forward to playing again,” Broadway said. “I think our guys are excited about playing, we’re excited about playing as the game is going to be played on TV and hopefully we’ll have a good showing on TV.”
GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina A&T graduates and former student-athletes Arlene and Darlene Mitchell will appear in Jet Magazine as the publication’s Jet “Beauties of the Week.” The magazine is scheduled to be in stores on Monday, August 20.
The two women still live with one another, but they coach at rival schools. Arlene is the assistant volleyball coach at A&T, while Darlene is an assistant volleyball coach at N.C. Central.
Both women played volleyball for the Aggies from 2003-06, and both are considered two of the best players to ever play at A&T. Arlene still owns seven school records, including the most kills in a single set, match and career. She is also the only player in school history to record 1,000 career kills and digs. Darlene ranks among the top five in many of the same statistical categories. They led A&T to the MEAC championship match in 2005.
Jet has marketed its weekly toward African Americans for more than 60 years. It’s “Beauty of the Week” feature has been in existence almost as long. Each week an African American female, photographed in a one-or-two piece swimsuit, appears midway through the publication. The feature includes her name, profession, hobbies and a personal statement.
“Jet Magazine is a phenomenal magazine for people of color! It not only shows who we are as black people, but also how far we’ve come,” said Arlene. “I have always looked at the Jet Beauty of the Week for as long as I can remember. To me, it shows black women can be successful, influential and beautiful all at the same time. The women are usually the black community’s future leaders or brightest students. Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of something so empowering?
Norfolk State won its first ever MEAC Football championship last year, after joining the conference back in 1997. Now, it finds itself in the unfamiliar position of being the favorite to wear the conference’s crown.
The MEAC released the results of its preseason poll of conference coaches and SIDs at the annual media day on Friday, with the Spartans receiving 11 first-place votes. South Carolina State was second, receiving four first-place votes. Also receiving one first-place vote was Hampton, who along with North Carolina A&T, is ineligible for the NCAA Bowl Subdivison Playoffs, should they win the regular season title.
Florida A&M, picked to finish fourth in the conference, placed five players on the preseason version of the All-Conference first team, as did Norfolk State. North Carolina A&T running back Mike Mayhew and Howard linebacker Keith Pough are the preseason selections for Offensive and Defensive Player of The Year awards.
Norfolk State will look to repeat as champions despite the loss quarterback Chris Walley and seven starters from last season’s squad that held opponents to just 17 points per game in route to a 9-3 (7-1 MEAC) record.
MEAC FOOTBALL PRESEAON POLL
(Head Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
1. Norfolk State
2. South Carolina State
4. Florida A&M
6. North Carolina A&T
7. Morgan State
9. North Carolina Central
10. Delaware State
11. Savannah State
QB -Greg McGhee, Howard, So.
RB – Mike Mayhew, North Carolina A&T, Sr.
RB – Isidore Jackson, Bethune-Cookman, Jr.
WR – Xavier Boyce, Norfolk State, Sr.
WR – Tavis Tarpley, Delaware State, Sr.
TE – Joeseph Hawkins, Norfolk State, Sr.
C – Michael Kay, Norfolk State, Sr.
OL – Steven Robinson, Florida A&M, Sr.
OL – Blake Matthews, Norfolk State, Sr.
OL – Terrence Hackney, Bethune-Cookman, Jr.
OL – Cory Gwinner, Howard, Sr.
DL – Tony Mashburn, North Carolina A&T, Sr.
DL – Padric Scott, Florida A&M, Sr.
DL – Richard, Ndubueze, Morgan State Sr.
DL – Mathhew Davis, Hampton, Jr.
LB – Keith Pough, Howard, Sr.
LB – Jarkevis Fields, Bethune-Cookman, Jr.
LB – D’Vonte Grant, North Carolina A&T, So.
DB – John Ojo, Florida A&M, Sr.
DB – DeVontae Johnson, Florida A&M, So.
DB – Travis Crosby, North Carolina A&T, Jr.
DB – D.J. Howard, Bethune-Cookman, Jr.
First-Team Special Teams
PK – Everett Goldberg, Norfolk State, Sr.
P – Brandon Holdren, Florida A&M, Sr.
RS – Geovonie Irvin, North Carolina Central, Sr.
QB – Damien Fleming, Florida A&M, So.
RB – Antwon Chisholm, Hampton, Jr.
RB – Travis Davidson, Morgan State, Sr.
WR – Eddie Poole, Bethune-Cookman, Sr.
WR – Justin Wilson, Delaware State, Sr.
TE – Kris Drummond, Savannah State, So.
C – Tristan Bellamy, South Carolina State, So.
C – Vincent Harper, Hampton, Jr.
OL – Sam Hammond, South Carolina State, Sr.
OL – Nathan Isles, North Carolina A&T, Jr.
OL – Cameron Williams, Norfolk State, Jr.
OL – Marquell Rozier, Bethune-Cookman, Jr.
DL – Xavier Proctor, North Carolina Central, Sr.
DL – Leon Smith, South Carolina State, Sr.
DL – Herold Love III, Bethune-Cookman, Sr.
DL – Brandon Young, North Carolina A&T, Sr.
LB – Delbert Tyler, Hampton, Jr.
LB – Joe Thomas, South Carolina State, Jr.
LB – Lyndell Gibson, Hampton, Sr.
DB – Justin Blake, Hampton, Sr.
DB – Kenneth Ridley, Morgan State, Jr.
DB – Darius Drummond, South Carolina State, Jr.
DB – DeCarlos Knight, Howard, Sr.
Second-Team Special Teams
PK – Taureab Durham, Hampton, Sr.
P – Jordan Stovall, Hampton, Jr.
RS – Darius Drummond, South Carolina State, Jr.