Eagles not overlooking St. Augustine’s in season-openerhttp://www.heraldsun.com/sports/eagles-not-overlooking-st-augustine-s-in-season-opener/article_6f253dd2-5376-11e5-bfd6-63d7f54ab550.html
DURHAM — On paper, N.C. Central’s season-opening game against Division-II opponent St. Augustine’s (6 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com) should be a cakewalk.
The Falcons, who went 3-7 last season, are seeking their first win against a Division I opponent, and NCCU, a defending MEAC co-champion, returns 51 lettermen to the Falcons’ 30. NCCU also holds a 27-2-1 record in the series.
But in 2013, the Falcons marched into O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium and nearly stole one from the Eagles, leading until late in the game when then-quarterback Jordan Reid threw a touchdown pass with seconds left to force overtime. NCCU eventually won that contest 23-20 in double overtime.
“It was one of those games that some of the young men feel like they took for granted,” coach Jerry Mack said. “They didn't go out there and execute the game plan well. They allowed the other team to hang around throughout the second and third quarters and when you give anybody that kind of momentum, you're going to be in a dogfight at the end.”
Reid, now an offensive assistant for the Eagles remembers the game well. Junior quarterback Malcolm Bell and senior defensive back C.J. Moore were on the sideline for that game and watched on as Reid added another touchdown to force the second overtime and Oleg Parent made a 19-yard field goal to win.
“From what I remember from that game, it was a lot of taking people for granted,” Moore said, echoing his coach. “You come in and you take a team like that for granted, and they're going to come in ready. They're still well coached and any time you play a team that's well coached and prepares hard, they're going to have a chance to beat you.
“I just remember they ran the ball well. Their defense was attacking our offense and gave our offense a lot of problems. It was a tough day. The game was longer than we expected.”
The game, which lasted 3 hours 40 minutes, is still talked about and used as an example throughout the program. With a lack of film on St. Augustine’s, NCCU must rely on tape from the last couple of years, including the infamous 2013 meeting. Many of the players on the team now, including starting running back Idreis Augustus were on the field in the 2013 game. Augustus led the team with 66 yards on 14 carries in that game, including a long rush of 23 yards.
On the other side of the ball, NCCU had trouble stopping the Falcons’ ground game and allowed Roderick Davenport to run for 94 yards on 15 carries, including an explosive run of 49 yards.
Davenport, an All-CIAA selection after leading the conference in rushing last season, will anchor St. Augustine’s ground game once again Saturday afternoon.
But this time around, NCCU is prepared for the attack.
“It's one of those things because you have to respect anyone that lines up in front of you, and I don't think we did that a few years ago,” Moore said. “Now we're really respecting them like we should. They've got some good players over there. They've got a good running back and can run the ball really well. They're a well coached team and we’ll see a lot of play action.”
Since that game, a lot has changed around NCCU’s program — new coach, new quarterback, new defensive scheme. But one thing remains a constant after an almost calamitous start to the 2013 season: no team, no matter the size, record or division, should be overlooked.
“They're still the same team and they're still the same school,” Reid said. “Being that we're an FCS I-AA team, they're going to come in here hungry with that extra motivation being that they're a Division II team. We've got that target on our back.”