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25th Atlanta Football Classic Bulldogs win Dog Fight

SC State defeats NC A&T in 25th Atlanta Football Classic.

by Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Magazine

Richard Cue threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns to guide the Bulldogs of South Carolina State to a 29-24 win over the Aggies of North Carolina A&T in the Silver Anniversary of the Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

The Aggies entered the game undefeated at 3-0 with a huge 24-21 win over Appalachian State as well as Elon and Howard. South Carolina State made the trip over from Columbia sporting a three game winning streak after dropping their first two games.

Twelve minutes crept by before either team managed to poke a hole in the opposing defense. A&T erased their bagel thanks to SCSUs Nick Belcher shanked punt that traveled just 10 yards. The Aggies picked up two first downs and managed to get inside the 10 before the Bulldogs defense stiffened. Javon Hargrave’s sack of Kindle at the 14 on third and goal forced Head Coach Rod Broadway to signal for his kicker. Camacho Garcia split the uprights from 31 yards out to give the Aggies their first lead of the game 3-0.

SCSU Head Coach Buddy Pough’s offense went to work right away marching 75 yards for the Bulldogs first points of the game. Facing third and 14, Cue found Caleb Davis for a 36 yard pass to the Aggies 9 yard line. Dondre Lewis-Freeman took the load from there. Lewis-Freeman took three consecutive hand-offs that ended in the Bulldogs first touchdown of the day.

Both teams added touchdowns later in the second quarter to end the first half of play 14-10.

The Aggies took a 17-14 lead on their second offensive possession of the third and appeared to have snatched the momentum. It was brief, Nick Belcher pinned the Aggies offense inside the 20 and allowed the defense to pin its ears back. Defensive back Darius Drummond sacked Kindle on first down for a loss of 9 yards to start the downward spiral. Unable to move the ball, Dominic Frescura set up to punt from his endzone. The Bulldogs who had been close to blocking a couple of Frescura’s punts on previous series finally made it happen. “It was called to go after,” stated Pough. “It wasn’t one of those punts where someone accidently blocked it. It was an occasion that we actually designed and went after a punt and made it. It was a designed play.

It was a play that resulted in a safety for the Bulldogs and shifted the momentum according to Pough. “It was big because it created some momentum for us,” said Pough. “It allowed us to get the football back in a way where it showed that we had some life left in us.”

Coach Broadway echoed Pough’s thoughts on the play’s impact on the game. “That was huge,” said the veteran coach. “You can’t give up points like that in the kicking game. You can’t afford to do it especially in the position that we’re in we can’t do that. To give up negative plays and give up points and then you create extra points because of the kicking game then it’s just a bad job on our part.”

The Bulldogs scored on their next three possessions to take a 29-17 lead early in the 4Q.

A&T finally found its way back in the end zone midway through the final quarter. Kindle marched the blue and gold 76 yards on 10 plays. His 25 yard completion to wide receiver Desmond Lawrence in the end zone moved them within a touchdown.

A solid defensive stand from the Aggies defense gave the offense one more bite at the apple. Kindle and company picked up two first downs to get to the Bulldogs 32. It was as far as they would get. Defensive end Andrew Carter sacked Kindle for a 10 yard loss on first down. Kindle’s next three pass attempts fell to the turf as did their hopes of maintaining their perfect record.

South Carolina State Bulldogs 29 - North Carolina A and T Aggies 24

photos and video Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Magazine

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