Running backs key solid NCCU ground game
N.C. Central’s running game over the weekend was better without quarterback Jordan Reid as the main ball carrier.
Reid entered Saturday’s game against Charlotte having run the ball 21 times a week prior against Saint Augustine’s.
NCCU needed Reid’s 45 rushing yards and 4-yard touchdown run for a double-overtime win over Saint Augustine’s, but the redshirt senior signal caller was able to rely on his running backs to carry the load against Charlotte.
Idreis Augustus averaged five yards per carry, leading NCCU’s ground game with 80 yards and two touchdowns.
NCCU running backs Deyonta Wright (43 rushing yards) and Kevin Thompson (53 rushing yards) were productive for the Eagles, who beat Charlotte 40-13 at the 49ers’ place.
Augustus scored on 2-yard and 5-yard runs, and Wright found his way into the end zone from 4 yards away.
“We knew they were going to be the best backs we’ve seen all year, and they were,” Charlotte linebacker Mark Hogan said.
NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster was pleased with the Eagles’ improved rushing attack but said the offense still left too many touchdowns near pay dirt.
The Eagles were 4 of 6 in the red zone with three touchdowns and a field goal, but Foster wanted more production from that area.
“We have to take advantage when we get in the red zone, so that was disappointing,” Foster said. “Certainly, we’ll take the three points when we have to. But we want to turn those into touchdowns. We have to turn those into touchdowns.”
While Reid completed 61 percent of his passes for 178 yards, he still was doing his thing with this legs, picking up 29 yards on nine carries, eluding defenders to extend plays.
“We had him in some third-and-longs and let him out,” Charlotte coach Brad Lambert said.
“We knew he was quick,” Hogan said. “We knew he could bounce around a little bit, and those were some huge plays.”
Charlotte got off 106 plays and piled up 533 yards worth of passing and running on offense, compared to NCCU’s 385 yards in 64 plays.
The Eagles would have generated grander offensive numbers if it weren’t for guys like NCCU’s Adrian Wilkins breaking the 49ers’ backs on special teams, Lambert said.
Wilkins scored on a 100-yard kickoff return, and NCCU’s Thomas Dixon put the Eagles’ offense in good shape with a 52-yard return that led to seven more points.
“The reason their offense didn’t need as much is they got nine first downs on the kickoff return,” Lambert said.
The Eagles’ defensive backs ran for 103 yards on five interception returns, one of them by Tony Williams, who turned his pick into six points with a 48-yard sprint to the end zone.