N.C. Central University’s football team put up a fight despite losing to Duke, 60-7, in the Bull City Gridiron Classic on September 2.
This was Duke’s sixth straight victory over NCCU at the annual Classic.
The Blue Devils jumped on top of the Eagles early by scoring three straight touchdowns in the first quarter. Duke finished the game with 524 total yards while NCCU struggled against a tough Duke defense only managing to get 158 yards.
The struggle wasn’t caused by lack of effort, according to Head Coach Jerry Mack.
“(The team) competed for four quarters,” Mack said. “No matter what the score was, I did see those guys continue to fight.”
Even though both teams were close to even in time of possession, the Blue Devils capitalized on each chance they had possession of the football. Even taking advantage of the Eagles’ mistakes scoring off both an interception and a safety in the first half.
Despite being down most of the game, NCCU had a few of positive moments.
Redshirt freshman running back Isaiah Totten scored the team’s lone touchdown, exploding past Duke’s secondary to go 81 yards in the 2nd quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Micah Zanders completed 10 of his 17 passes, often throwing under pressure. NCCU’s offensive line gave up 3 sacks but held up strong throughout the entire game.
Senior linebacker Reggie Hunter made his presence felt, leading the defense with 10 total tackles, including one tackle for a loss of yards.
“From here we can only go up,” Zanders said. “Nobody gave up. Everybody just competed.”
The Eagles must move past this tough loss and continue to fight through the rest of the season in order to defend its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship.
The Eagles will face the Shaw Bears on Saturday, Sept. 9, at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.