Written by: Bradford Brooks
The North Carolina A&T Aggies started the 2017 season with one lingering question that people have asked all offseason, how do you replace production?
Rod Broadway’s team lost a couple of MEAC standouts, losing senior Quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro, senior Wide Receiver Denzel Keys, senior Defensive End Marquis Ragland, and all-time MEAC leading rusher running Tarik Cohen.
The Aggies entered the season predicted to finish second in the MEAC, behind in state rival and defending MEAC champ North Carolina Central.
After capturing 3 back to back MEAC championships and a celebration bowl appearance back in the 2015 season, there were a lot of question marks of how the Aggies could continue to produce at a high level.
The Aggies opened the 2017 season down in Boiling Springs, NC, facing off against Big South opponent Gardner Webb.
North Carolina A&T came out the gate ready to show the spectators what they were made of lead by their elite defense and Senior and preseason MEAC first team QB, Lamar Raynard.
The Aggies were able to defeat Gardner Webb by a score of 45 to 3, led by Senior QB Lamar Raynard who accounted for 4 of the aggies 7 touchdowns. Raynard threw for a career high 321 passing yards and also set a new high for completion percentage registering an 86 completion percentage by connecting on 19 of his 22 passes, throwing for 3 touchdowns in the air and also registering 1 on the ground.
FCS All American return Specialist Khris Gardin also had a big day as he returned 5 punts for 150 yards, including an 88 yard punt that he returned for a touchdown.
The Aggies defense also held the Bulldogs and 2016 Big South player of the year Tyron Maxwell to a total of just 114 yards of offense in the game.
Any questions or concerns on how the Aggies would function without running back Tarik Cohen were answered in this season opener.
The Aggies face off against Mars Hill this Saturday on September 9th for the home opener.