By Jailen Leach, NCCU 2021
DURHAM, N.C. - North Carolina Central University defeated Saint Augustine’s 51-14 on Saturday behind five passing touchdowns from a pair of quarterbacks.
The game started off as a defensive battle, until NCCU junior quarterback Naiil Ramadan, starting for the first time in his college career, threw touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver E.J. Hicks and redshirt freshman tight end Sherman McLeod late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Ramadan to McLeod connection added another touchdown to make the score 20-0 with 11:13 left before intermission.
Saint Augustine’s quarterback D.J. Johnson threw a touchdown to running back Jeremiah Miller at the 4:17 mark, before the Eagles responded with an Adam Lippy 36-yard field goal before the half making the score 23-7.
The second half was all defense for the Eagles. Junior safety Anthony Sherrill intercepted a SAU pass and ran it back 38 yards for an Eagle touchdown. NCCU’s defense only allowed seven points in the half.
The passing game seemed to be a point of emphasis for the Eagles this week. Ramadan ended the contest throwing for 169 yards on 15 for 28 attempts with three passing touchdowns and no interceptions.
Quarterback Chauncey Caldwell provided some offense for the Eagles in the second half, passing for 105 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a team-high 62 yards on the ground.
McLeod was a big target for the Eagles’ red zone offense, catching three passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
NCCU junior wide receiver Xavier McKoy caught four passes for 67 yards. Freshman Tyler Barnes had 4 catches and 64 yards for the Eagles, including a 48-yard touchdown.
The night was capped by a pair of NCCU touchdowns with sophomore receiver Nique Martin catching a 24-yard pass from Caldwell and junior running back Tyquan Watson finding the end zone from two yards out.
The Eagles’ defense was led by sophomore cornerback Marcus Martin with six tackles. The unit also managed to get four sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and forced two turnovers. Senior lineman Darius Royster contributed three takedowns behind the line of scrimmage with a sack, bringing his two-game total to 9.0 tackles for a loss.
For the Falcons’ offense, Johnson finished the game with 145 yards passing on 12 for 26 attempts, two touchdowns, and one interception. Miller rushed for 66 yards on 14 carries. He also added two receptions and one touchdown for SAU. The Falcons leading receiver was Deandre Conley, who had four catches for 58 yards.
NCCU (1-1) travels to South Carolina State next Saturday (Sept. 15) for its first conference game. SAU (0-2) hosts Virginia State on Saturday.