South Carolina State head football coach Buddy Pough told a story Monday of traveling to Greensboro to watch his alma mater face North Carolina A&T.
“It was right after I graduated, and we won the game,” Pough said. “I threw my hands in the air, my four-year lettermen’s ring flew off, and I lost it.”
Pough and the Bulldogs have currently lost six-straight against North Carolina A&T, but hope to break the streak Saturday. A&T is 0-3 to start the season, but Pough knows the record does not reflect how talented the Aggies are.
“This is same team that has beat us six years in a row,” Pough said. “We have our work cut out for us. It’s a rivalry, and a big game for us. I’m interested to see how we carry over from the Bethune-Cookman game.”
South Carolina State enters Saturday’s game after a bye week. The last time the Bulldogs were on the field they defeated Bethune-Cookman 33-9.
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“I think both teams are still trying to find themselves,” Pough said. “This situation is ripe for some unknowns to show themselves. I think both teams will know a little bit more about themselves once this game is over.”
North Carolina A&T is led by running back Bhayshul Tuten who leads the Big South Conference in rushing with 280 yards.
“Tuten is as good of a running back we will see,” Pough said. “He’s rushed for right around 100 yards each game, he’s a top notch player.”
Earlier this week, North Carolina A&T head coach Sam Washington said his team must take advantage of some inexperience in South Carolina State’s secondary.
“I hope our corners can stand up to the pressure of what A&T can do,” Pough said. “They have really good speed, but they have a bit of an issue trying to figure out their quarterback situation.”
The Aggies have played three different quarterbacks this season. Jalen Fowler started last week against Duke but would later be replaced with freshman Eli Brickhandler. Zachary Yeager did not play against the Blue Devils, but Washington expects him to be ready Saturday.
“We’re wondering who is going to be the guy,” Pough said. “That’s a concern of our, but the quarterbacks are not much different. One throws it a little better and the other runs it a little better, but we just have to prepare for the overall offense.”
Pough said he expects a close game Saturday.
“Our guys are used to being in tight ball games,” Pough said. “I think we’re going to be pretty good, I hope our guys can hang in with these guys and have a chance to win in the end.”
SC State has not won in Greensboro since 2010. The Bulldogs last defeated North Carolina A&T during the 2014 season in Atlanta. Saturday will be the Aggies first home game of the season. Washington is currently 11-4 all-time at home as coach of North Carolina A&T.