Monday, November 21, 2016
42-21 victory against N.C. A&T also gives them outright MEAC football title
DURHAM, North Carolina -- North Carolina Central was a football team looking for some respect.
It got exactly that as the Eagles dominated North Carolina A&T, the top-ranked team among historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), 42-21 for its first outright Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) football title and a berth in the 2nd Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17 in Atlanta.
NCCU will face the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion at the Georgia Dome for the HBCU national championship.
A jubilant overflow crowd of 15,715 at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium and a national TV audience on ESPN3 watched senior quarterback Malcolm Bell steer the Eagles to victory. Bell ran for a career-high 131 yards, including scoring runs of 15 and 41 yards and passing for 184 yards (10 of 18) and another score in the proudest moments of his record-setting career.
“We wanted an opportunity to have an outright championship and we finally worked hard enough to get one at the end of the year,” said NCCU head coach Jerry Mack, who has now beaten A&T (9-2, 7-1 MEAC) and claimed titles in his first three years, leading the Eagles (9-2, 8-0 MEAC). NCCU, who was ranked 20th in the FCS Coaches Poll, has won 15 straight MEAC games and boasts a 21-3 conference record during Mack’s tenure.