Under the bright Thursday night lights, N.C. Central annihilated the South Carolina State Bulldogs 62-28. It was sweet revenge: The Bulldogs have won their last three matchups facing off against the Eagles. On top of that the Eagles scored 60 points in a single game for the first time since 2016.
“The guys played well man. I’m so proud of ‘em, and you know we hadn’t beaten these guys in so long. And for us to have an opportunity to come in here tonight and get a win, it was big,” Eagles head coach Trei Oliver said.
Within the first three minutes of the game, NCCU quarterback Davius Richard completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to running back J’Mari Taylor.
The scoreboard only went up from there.
NCCU defensive back Kole Jones made a huge play with eight minutes left in the 1st quarter, forcing a fumble on SCSU’s 20-yard line that linebacker Max U’Ren took to the house. The Eagles were up 14-0 … and the crowd went nuts.
The Eagle offense kept rolling with two rushing touchdowns from Richards, a 60-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver Devin Smith, and a 30-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver Twan Flip Jr.
By the time halftime arrived the Eagles had scored 41 points.
“We finally got off to a fast start. We talked about it, we talked about it, but at some point you gotta, you know, do something about it,” Oliver said.
“We had a staff meeting, coach Bennett suggested that we change our pregame routine and we did that, and I think that had a lot to do with us getting off to a fast start.”
The Eagles’ star running back Latrell “Mookie” Collier went down with an injury early in the game but that didn’t deter the team.
“They always preach having the two string, third string, whenever they come in we can’t miss a beat,” Richards said. “Everybody knows what the standard is and everyone lives up to that standard.”
The Eagles added to the scoreboard in the second half with Taylor’s 26-yard touchdown catch, and wide receiver Chauncey Spikes’ 16-yard touchdown catch.
The defense held the Bulldogs to 81 passing yards, made key tackles, and won the 3rd down battle. SCSU’s offense only converted two first downs out of 12 attempts.
NCCU dominated the Bulldogs in all phases of the game including special teams with defensive back Romeo Stancil recovering a muffed punt for a touchdown with 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
Oliver said, “we preach that all three phases are just as important. We spend just as much time in special teams that we do on offense and defense. It was a team effort across the board and it was really good to see that.”
NCCU collected a season high 482 total yards of offense.
Richards lit up the Bulldogs’ defense by throwing for 352 passing yards and 5 touchdowns and rushing for 26 yards and 2 touchdowns. He rightfully earned player of the game.
“Excellent effort by my teammates, O-line giving me the time to be back there to pass the ball to my playmakers, and then the playmakers doing what they need to do when the ball gets in their hands,” Richards said.
The Eagles will host Norfolk State University Saturday Nov. 4 for the long awaited homecoming game.
“It’s gonna be a family affair this weekend,” Oliver said.