The North Carolina Central University Eagles (MEAC) won the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff by beating the Alcorn State University Braves (SWAC) 23-14. The two teams were evenly matched most of the game, both offensively and defensively. The difference maker in this one came down to special teams.
NCCU’s special teams was all business today as their field goal unit and specialist on punt return essentially won them the game. Adrian Olivo converted a 28-yd field goal early in the 4th quarter to take the lead 16-14. Soon after, Brandon Codrington ran back a 77-yd punt return for a touchdown. The 10 points accrued over two minutes of the 4th quarter meant the end of the road for the Braves.
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff was a celebration of the start of the college football season after a tumultuous 2020 when coronavirus upended sports. From the crack of dawn, the entire day was a massive celebration across Atlanta. From the concert with The Migos to the battle of the bands during halftime, it was a day that fans needed as they had the chance to grasp a sliver of normalcy.
Alcorn State’s Felix Harper led the Braves in passing going 17 of 27 for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Stadford Anderson held down the braves in rushing with 128 yards on 11 carries, followed by Niko Duffey who tallied 63 yards of his own. Duffey was also responsible for a touchdown reception, along with wide receiver Juan Anthony Jr.
Quarterback Davius Richard worked hard for his 184 yards of passing offense. Notching similar numbers to Braves’ Harper, Richard separated himself by racking up 64 rushing yards. Wide receiver back Ryan McDaniel recorded 72 yards receiving while running back Jorden Freeman matched that number on the ground.
NCCU will enjoy their bye week as they gear up for a difficult matchup with Marshall on Saturday, Sept. 11th. Alcorn State will try to pickup the pieces and get things right for their Sept. 11th matchup with Northwestern State.
Cover photo: Hakim Wright