12th man needed to help protect Eagles' nest
The whiteout expected to blanket a portion of N.C. Central University this evening is perfectly safe and may have some social benefits in terms of promoting unity and solidarity in greater Durham.
The promotional campaign that has set in motion a potential sea of white shirts could be a strong look on national televison when cameras peer inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, where NCCU’s football team will be working to keep the S.C. State Bulldogs penned up (7:30 p.m., ESPNU).
NCCU linebacker Tazmon Foster, from Henderson, leads the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with 58 tackles, and the plan is for him and the rest of the Eagles defenders to fly around and keep tabs on the Bulldogs.
Football coaches will tell you that good defense is about getting 11 guys rallying to the ball.
But NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster has been scheming about tonight’s game and believes the Eagles also will need a little help from The 12th Man.
“It’s going to be very important for our Eagle fans to come on out and make it extremely uncomfortable for South Carolina State as they come into our home, and we look forward to protecting our nest,” Coach Foster said.
NCCU a year ago beat S.C. State 40-10 during the Circle City Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Bringing those two squads together this time under the lights on a Thursday night for the whole country to see will give tremendous exposure to not only the football teams specifically but also NCCU in its entirety, Foster said.
“That’s priceless,” he said.
Plus, it’s an opportunity to show that up-and-coming NCCU’s win last year against an historically good S.C. State team was no fluke, NCCU defensive back Sayyid Muhammad said.
“We’re prepared to shock the world,” Muhammad said.
NCCU wants its football brand to be as strong as S.C. State’s, Foster said. Tonight’s game is a prime opportunity for those unfamiliar with the Eagles experience to get a taste of what it’s all about, he said.
“We’d love for the city of Durham to come on out and support us even more if you haven’t been to a North Carolina Central University football game, to go and grab a ticket and come and see a great showing,” Coach Foster said. “A hardworking football team is going to play hard for you (tonight).”
The last time NCCU played on ESPNU was during the 2012 season when the Eagles protected their nest in a 37-20 win over Hampton. Tazmon Foster scored on an 80-yard interception return and made the highlight reel on ESPN’s “SportsCenter Top 10.”