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Preview: NCCU Football versus Gardner-Webb

Davanta Reynolds

North Carolina Central University’s defense was locked and loaded last Saturday as they came from behind to beat the Howard University Bisons 13-7 in the nation’s capitol.

Previously, North Carolina Central (4-1, 3-0 MEAC) came out very lethargic against the Bisons last Saturday. Coach Jerry Mack has continued to lead them on their 18-game conference winning streak as they improve to 3-0 in the MEAC this season.

Starting off with quarterback Caylin Newton (Cam’s little brother) and the Howard offesne moving the ball down the field quickly and completing a 75-yard pass to receiver Damion Gillispie, they led the game 7-0 with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter. The Eagles made sure this was the first and last time that they put points on the board Saturday.

Kicker Aedan Johnson added three points on the board on a short 21-yard field goal to give the Eagles their first three points of the day. Redshirt senior linebacker Reggie Hunter picked off Newton’s pass late in the second quarter to set up another Johnson field goal to cut the deficit to one as the score was 7-6 Howard at halftime.

Freshman quarterback Chauncey Caldwell would work his magic in the third quarter, hooking up with receiver Jacen Murphy on a 30-yard touchdown strike to give NCCU the 13-7 lead, which would hold up to be the final score.

Caldwell finished the game with 119 passing yards, 89 rushing yards, and a touchdown pass on the night. Isaiah Totten also had another big game as well, rushing for 112 yards in the contest.

The Caldwell-to-Murphy touchdown came two plays after senior safety Davanta Reynolds got an interception and returned it back 35-yards. The interception makes it his fourth straight game recording a turnover. Reynolds finished with four tackles on the night. Reggie Hunter led the visitors with eight total tackles, including one and a half tackles for a loss, a sack, and the interception in the second quarter to set up the second NCCU field goal.

Gardner-Webb (1-4, 0-0 Big South) has opened their season playing two top-25 ranked teams in their first five games, they will come in to one of the toughest venues to play in as far as HBCU’s go to play another top-25 ranked opponent in the NCCU Eagles. Despite falling three points short of the upset against ninth-ranked Wofford, they have come up very short in the other big games they have played. GWU only averages 19 points per game and they have thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns.

Have you ever seen an Eagle attack a Running Bulldog? No, well get ready to see that this Saturday as I expect the Eagles defense to have a great game neutralizing their opponent. This steady effort will help Chauncey Caldwell and the NCCU offense find their rhythm early and the Eagles should soar this weekend in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium Saturday at 2 pm.

 

(Photos Courtesy of NCCU Athletics)

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