Celebration Bowl: N.C. A&T vs. Grambling State by the numbers
Y’all want stats? Here you go, Tigers and Aggies fans
Two teams, both on 11-game winning streaks, both champions, will be on a collision course in a stadium that has yet to host a bowl game.
Welcome to the third rendition of the Celebration Bowl, which will pit Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champion Grambling State and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) winner North Carolina A&T against one another on Dec. 16 at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Tigers and Aggies, both former winners of the historically black colleges and universities’ (HBCUs) championship game, will christen the venue when their teams and fans congregate Dec. 16.
N.C. A&T was the inaugural winner of the event in 2015, when it defeated Alcorn 41-34, and Grambling took home the trophy last season with a 10-9 victory over North Carolina Central.
We’re going to be discussing more storylines in the days to follow, but first, let’s get into the numbers. Our friends at ESPN Stats & Information pulled together enough data to give fans on both sides plenty to brag about as the two best HBCU football programs get ready to face off. So if you’re looking for some facts to throw at the Aggies or Tigers adversary in your life, we got you.
North Carolina A&T Aggies, 11-0 (8-0 meac)
- No MEAC team has ever (ever, ever) had a perfect season, but N.C. A&T is looking to become the first MEAC team to do so since the conference first played football in 1971. Granted, the Aggies have completed two perfect seasons, in 1927 and 1943, but again, that was before the creation of the MEAC.
- It’s been 14 years since N.C. A&T won the MEAC championship outright.
- For the second year in a row, the Aggies defeated an FBS team. This season, it was a 35-31 victory over the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and last year it was against Kent State.
- A school-record 12 N.C. A&T football players were named first-team All-MEAC. This blew the previous school record of seven out of the water.
- Timadre Abram, junior, defensive back
- Elijah Bell, sophomore, wide receiver
- Marquell Cartwright, redshirt junior, running back
- Khris Gardin, senior, return specialist
- Darryl Johnson Jr., redshirt sophomore, defensive lineman
- Darriel Mack, redshirt senior, center
- Franklin “Mac” McCain III, redshirt freshman, defensive back
- Brandon Parker, redshirt senior, offensive lineman; named offensive lineman of the year for the third year in a row by MEAC
- Marcus Pettiford, redshirt sophomore, offensive lineman
- Lamar Raynard, redshirt junior, quarterback
- Trey Scott, graduate, tight end
- Jeremy Taylor, redshirt senior, linebacker
- The Aggies are tied for the second-fewest points per game (12.3) in the FCS.
Grambling Tigers, 11-1 (7-0 SWAC)
- If it hadn’t been for pesky Tulane, Grambling might also be strolling into the Celebration Bowl with a perfect record and an FBS win under its belt.
- This is the second straight year that the Tigers have won the SWAC championship and the program’s 26th overall. That leads all schools, but especially Grambling’s archrival, Southern, which has the second most at 18.
- Brandon Parker & Co. had better be ready along the Aggies’ offensive line, as the Tigers are coming in with the most sacks in the FCS (45).
- And if that weren’t enough, Grambling is also second in the FCS with 97 tackles for a loss.