After the Sept. 26 39-14 defeat to Florida International University, the Eagles found themselves in a deep hole.
Key players Mike Jones, Khalil Stinson, Quentin Atkinson and Ryan Smith all found themselves on the inactive list, Smith for just a few games and the others the season.
FCS All-American Junior cornerback Jones is out for the season with a fractured ankle. Junior receiver Stinson is out for the season with a hip fracture. Smith is out for one to two games with a hyper extended knee injury.
Senior receiver Quentin Atkinson is out for the season with a sprained ligament received in a pre-game practice.
Head Coach Jerry Mack describes these key injuries as having a “huge impact” on the team.
“I believe we will be fine but everyone that is behind us has to elevate their game and perform like we know they can,” Atkinson said.
“The next man has to step up,” head coach Jerry Mack said. “The other guys that practice hard all week will have a great opportunity to step up and make their presence known.”
“You can’t replace those key players and the situation is very unfortunate for the team but their many players who are willing to step up on the field,” said quarterback Malcom Bell.
“As long as we play with great effort and execute our plays on the field on all ends then we should be fine heading into conference this season and give the MEAC championship a run.”
And step up they did. Despite the injuries, the Eagles beat Florida A&M University 27-24 in an away game on Oct. 10. The Eagles record stands at 2-3 (1-1) in conference.
According to the College Football Assistance Fund and the National Collegiate Athletic Association injuries such as those suffered by NCCU players plague the sport:
- An average of 1,364 concussions occur per year.
- An average of 627 pelvis injuries occur per year.
- The knee is the most common location of injury in college football players in both practice and competition, accounting for 17.1 percent of the injuries overall.
- Regular practices account for 91.8 percent of the injuries occurring during practices.
- 9% hip and pelvis injuries occur on the field every year in college football.
- The overall injury rate in NCAA football is 8.1 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures in games and practices combined. Also an average of 20,718 college football injuries occur in a year.
Despite the series of injuries the Eagles beat Florida A&M University 27-24 final on October 10. The Eagles record is currently 2-3 (1-1) in conference.
The Eagles travel to Savannah State University October 17 at Ted Wright Stadium and the kickoff starts at 2 p.m.