ATLANTA, Ga. (WLBT) - After combining for 46 points in the Celebration Bowl last season, North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State eclipsed that mark in the third quarter alone,
The two teams turned a football game into a track meet Saturday Morning at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but while it was brand new era in offense, the end result stayed the same as the Braves fell 64-44 for their third Celebration Bowl loss to the Aggies in five seasons.
“Too many mistakes,” said ASU coach Fred McNair. “We didn’t play that perfect game that we were looking for. Too many points given up and we just didn’t get it done.”
The 108 total points scored is a Celebration Bowl record, as is the 64 points scored by NC A&T and the 49 combined points in third quarter.
ASU twice had a lead in the game, starting with Corey McCullough field goal to open up the scoring in the first quarter. After an Aggie touchdown, the Braves retook the lead in with 10:16 left in the second when Felix Harper hit Chris Blair for a 36 yard touchdown pass to go up 10-7.
After that, the Aggie offense took control with 17 unanswered points to go into the half with a 24-10 lead. NC A&T quarterback Kylil Carter was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after he tossed six touchdowns and 364 yards.
The second half began with fireworks with all seven possessions ending with a touchdown with four of them totaling over 40 yards.
Harper finished the game with three touchdown passes and 341 passing yards. Aggie running back Jah-Main Martin led all rushers with 110 yards and two touchdowns.
With the win, NC A&T clinches the HBCU national title for a third straight year and fourth time in the Celebration Bowl era. The SWAC’s record in the bowl drops to 1-4 with the only win coming in 2016 when Grambling beat North Carolina Central.