Eagles squeak by Crusaders 17-14
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Eagles squeak by Crusaders 17-14

DURHAM, NC—A fourth-quarter field goal lifted North Carolina Central University 17-14 over North Greenville University Saturday at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium. The Eagles improve to 5-2 on the season, while the Crusaders fall to 1-6.

Taylor Gray connected from 22 yards at the 14:52 remaining in the game to put the Eagles up 17-14. The score was set up by a Derrick Ray interception at the Eagle 3-yardline on the Crusaders’ prior possession.

North Greenville had an opportunity to tie at the 9:18 mark, but Adrian Escalona’s 40-yard field goal attempt fell short.

North Greenville played in front of its largest crowd ever, 11,327 in attendance for a festive NCCU Homecoming.

The Eagles gained 306 yards of total offense, 174 of which came through the air. Stadford Brown completed 14 of 33 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown to lead the Eagle passing attack.

Will Scott led the NCCU receiving corps with five receptions for 73 yards.

Eric Moeller led a Crusader offense that gained 284 yards by completing 19 of 32 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown. Travis Talbert made six receptions for 51 yards. Rashad Cumming led the rushing attack with 92 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries.

Matt Moore, a third-year running back, switched to right cornerback for today’s game. Moore made three tackles and broke up two passes.

Andre Bernardi, back in full action since returning from knee surgery, and Doug Wilson led the Crusader defense with 11 tackles each. Bernardi recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss, including one sack.

North Greenville lit up the scoreboard first on a one-yard run from Cummings with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter to cap an 11-play, 60-yard drive. The PAT attempt failed, giving the Crusaders an early 6-0 lead.

North Carolina Central responded on the ensuing possession as Brown connected from 22 yards out with Corey Harris for a touchdown. Gray’s PAT gave the Eagles a 7-6 advantage with 14:54 remaining in the second quarter.

North Greenville looked to have a great opportunity late in the second quarter as Xavier Boykin intercepted a Brown pass at the 4:22 mark. The Eagles responded, however, by promptly intercepting a Moeller pass on the next play. Rakeem Vick grabbed a tipped pass out of the air and returned it to the Eagle 28-yardline. Four plays later Tim Shankle ran in from four yards out for the score. Gray’s PAT put the Eagles up 14-6 at halftime.

The Crusaders tied the game on their first possession of the second half, driving 70 yards in nine plays. Moeller connected with Jarvis Garrett for a nine-yard touchdown strike at the 10:59 mark. Talbert caught Moeller’s pass over an Eagle defender for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14.

Then, Gray’s 22-yard field goal made the score its final of 17-14.

North Greenville will cap a three-game road trip next Saturday at Chowan. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.