Braves Will Have Nowhere To Run In Celebration Bowl Against North Carolina A&T

Alcorn State vs North Carolina A&T

Rainman M.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 1:38 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 1:38 PM UTC

Get the latest Celebration Bowl college football picks on Alcorn State vs North Carolina A&T. The game from Atlanta is Saturday, Dec. 15 at noon ET on ABC. Bet confident with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Alcorn State (9-3) vs North Carolina A&T (9-2)Saturday, Dec. 15, noon ET (ABC)Mercedes-Benz Stadium, AtlantaFree NCAAF Pick: Aggies ATSBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Since its inception in 2015, the Celebration Bowl pits the MEAC and the SWAC champions against each other. Both Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T met in the inaugural game, which the Aggies won. Although largely composed of different players, the Braves will look to exact a measure of revenge. The Aggies, though, have dominated the early history of this bowl game, winning it both in 2015 and 2017.

How They Got Here

Alcorn State makes its first appearance in the Celebration Bowl since 2015. Last year’s SWAC champion, Grambling State, finished only 6-5. The Braves were head-and-shoulder better than the other teams in their conference and lost only one conference game in seven tries. On the other side, qualifying for the Celebration Bowl is old hat for the Aggies. They lost two conference games, but by a combined deficit of only four points. Otherwise, they steamrolled through the MEAC schedule, beating every other opponent by double digits. The Aggies have a stifling defense. They’re the only team in the conference to concede a total fewer than 100 points.

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Let's take a look at where De'Shawn Waller ranks nationally:
10th in rushing yards per game (116.4)
18th in rushing TD’s (12)
22nd in all-purpose yards (126.9 ypg)
23rd in total rushing yards (1,048) pic.twitter.com/SngN6KHULa

— Alcorn Sports (@BRAVESSPORTS) 3 de dezembro de 2018
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Why Alcorn State Can Win/Cover

The Braves are a run-first team. They typically like to run the ball and even their quarterback is always looking to scramble. They do what they prefer to do very well. Three different Braves running backs average over five YPC on at least 50 carries. Quarterback Noah Johnson averages 7.4 YPC. De’Shawn Waller has accrued over 1,000 rushing yards, averaging 6.2 YPC, and achieved 12 touchdowns. He achieved those stats despite playing only nine games. But he is healthy. In the conference championship against Southern, he ran for 177 yards on 11.1 YPC. Johnson added 147 yards on the ground.

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Aggie fans, we are SOLD OUT of our @CelebrationBowl ticket allotment. Thank you so much for all your support, and we’ll see you in Atlanta.

Please go directly to the Celebration Bowl website for any additional ticket needs.#NCAT #AggiesAllIn pic.twitter.com/GecTXAMZJb

— Aggies All In (@AggieMarketing) 4 de dezembro de 2018
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Why North Carolina A&T Can Win/Cover

The Aggies also like to run and likewise run the ball very well. They boast two different running backs who average well over five YPC on at least 80 carries. Marquell Cartwright is current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen’s replacement. He ran for 1,000 yards last year and is 108 rushing yards away from giving the Aggies its eighth 1,000-yard runner in nine years. The All-American boasts a nice combo of speed and power. His backup, Jah-Maine Martin, averages over seven YPC. The Aggies are very used to being in the Celebration Bowl and they’re 2-0 in the game. Whereas they at least match the Braves in running prowess, they definitely have the edge in experience.

Common Opponents/Series History

Both teams faced at least one FBS school. Alcorn State was rocked by Georgia Tech 41-0, but was more competitive against New Mexico State, losing 52-42. Conversely, the Aggies defeated their only FBS opponent, beating East Carolina 28-23.

The Verdict

The Braves are very dependent on the run. The Aggies, however, allow an average of only 2.7 YPC. The Braves are also dependent on their dual-threat quarterback. Again, the Aggies match-up well here. For example, they contained South Carolina State quarterback Tyrece Nick, allowing him to run for only 76 yards on 2.5 YPC. They also contained Delaware State’s quarterback Keenan Black, who mustered one meaningless long run, but otherwise 29 yards on 11 carries. The Aggies are too strong against opposing running backs and mobile quarterbacks. Their only two losses came against a pass-first team and in an early-season game where they didn’t run on offense as often as they should. On offense, they’ve scored over 30 points in six different games. They tend to dominate opponents and they will run past Alcorn State.

Celebration Bowl Trends & Betting History

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