True Freshman QB Kevin White Leads Aggies to Upset Victory over Norfolk State
North Carolina A&T first year head football coach Vincent Brown seemed upbeat and optimistic despite his team starting the season losing their first three games. After all, their first three losses were to an FBS team in UAB, reigning Celebration Bowl champions and in-state rival North Carolina Central, and 2022 FCS playoff participant Elon. So when they traveled to Norfolk Virginia to take on Norfolk State, Brown knew they had not come close to putting their best foot forward. So when the Aggies came out and secured a 24-22 road victory over 3-1 Norfolk State at William "Dick" Price Stadium, it was not a surprise, at least not to them.
What was a surprise is who lined up behind center. True freshman quarterback Kevin White, who is from right down the road in Newport News, made his first collegiate start for the Aggies and led the team to victory. White rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw for 98 yards. Running back Kenji Christian had a strong game for the Aggies, rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore receiver Amonte Jones skies over two defenders to make the highlight reel catch. Photo credit: NCAT Football
The Aggies got off to a fast start, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. White's 65-yard touchdown run on the game's second play gave the Aggies a 7-0 lead, and Christian's 34-yard touchdown run later in the quarter extended the lead to 14-0.
The Spartans scored a touchdown just before the half to cut the deficit to 14-12, but the Aggies dominated the third quarter. White scored on a 40-yard run in the third quarter, and Christian added a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Aggies a 28-12 lead.
The Spartans made a late push, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 28-26. However, the Aggies defense held on in the final minutes to secure the victory.
Graduate linebacker BJ Turner was outstanding for the Aggies defense. Turner made a career-high 19 tackles, including nine unassisted and 2 ½ for loss. Turner also had a sack and a forced fumble. His most significant play came on a Norfolk State two-point conversion that would have tied the game. He was able to jump up and bat down a pass (one of two critical pass breakups on the day).
BJ Turner highlights from his performance against Norfork State. Video credit: NCAT Football Instagram
It was a much needed win for Brown who was definitely feeling pressure based on the slow start to the season.
"I'm just so happy for our players and coaches," said Brown. "We faced a lot of scrutiny and questions about our program and our players. So, seeing our young men fight so hard today against a team that we felt was really going to be hard to beat at home is great. But I'm just happy to get this one behind us and build on it."
The Aggies CAA schedule is daunting and performing well against one of the better teams in the MEAC on the road will be helpful as they go through the meat grinder. Their schedule is much more difficult than others in the conference. They play all of the perceived best programs in the conference. However, Coach Brown is only focused on his team and what they are doing.
The Aggies will look to build on their momentum next Saturday when they take on CAA foe Villanova.