Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 16:09
Matt Phillips/Echo editor-in-chief
Jordan Reid scrambles against Duke in the Bull City Gridiron Classic.
Despite the Eagles’ lopsided 54-17 loss to the Duke Blue Devils, Henry Frazier remained proud of his team. "All in all they didn't quit. They fought hard," NCCU head coach Henry Frazier III said.
"I think NCCU fans should be proud,” Frazier said. “We went against an ACC opponent. The score was ugly but we swung back." In the end, penalties and injuries were just too much to overcome.
The meeting at Wallace-Wade Stadium in the Bull City Gridiron Classic was the second time the schools met on the football field.
The first game in 2009 saw the Blue Devils coast to a 49-14 win. However, the schools agreed to extend the series. They will face each other next season, as well as in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The Eagles' offense continued last week's trend with a slow start, mishandling the first snap of the game.
The offense recovered and later punted the ball after a three-and-out series. An interception by redshirt freshman defensive back Ryan Smith ended the Blue Devils’ first offensive series on fourth down.
The Eagles’ first three offensive possessions resulted in negative-four yards. A second false start by redshirt junior offensive lineman Charles Goodwin on the second drive led to another three-and-out.
"All penalties are unnecessary. I don't know why we keep getting them," Frazier said.
The Blue Devils scored on their next two possessions, making the score 10-0, with 6:57 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the first quarter, Frazier made a big change. He substituted redshirt junior quarterback Matt Goggans for redshirt junior Jordan Reid, attempting to speed up the tempo and nullify the Blue Devils’ pressure.
After a 59-yard kickoff return by senior running back Arthur Goforth, Reid led a 41-yard drive, capped with a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore Andre Clarke.
"We talk about how we need somebody to make plays — plays just don't happen," Frazier said.
"Arthur made that kick return. It jolted us."
The Eagles continued to shoot themselves in the foot. On a third and long, the defense extended a Blue Devil drive with a late hit on quarterback Sean Renfree.
After the penalty the Blue Devils scored another touchdown, giving Duke a 17-7 lead with a minute left in the first quarter.
"We had some untimely penalties that pulled back some big plays," Frazier said. The second quarter brought more problems for the Eagles. Durham native and redshirt senior Geovonie Irvine went down with an ankle injury. He would later try to return, but finished the game on the bench.
"I was running the ball and he tackled me by my ankles," Irvine said. “I mean, it’s not bad, it’s alright. It’s just a little ankle injury.”
With star wide receiver Irvine injured, redshirt junior wide receiver Marvin Poole stepped up.
The chemistry Reid and Poole built over the summer was evident as both players posted career highs. Reid finished with a career best 208 passing yards and Poole finished with a career best six receptions for 83 yards.
"He [Reid] came in and played well," Frazier said. "This is the best I've seen him play since I’ve been here."
However, Reid's career day wasn't enough to pull off an upset for the Eagles.
After a close first quarter, the Blue Devils broke the score open, going into halftime with a 27-10 lead. A one-yard touchdown run by Reid was the lone score for the Eagles in the second half, while the Blue Devils continued to pour it on the Eagles with four touchdowns in the second half.
"I think the biggest thing is that we have to finish," Reid said. "The moral of the story is that we didn't finish in certain situations."
The Eagles will begin conference play next week, taking on Savannah State University with a new quarterback at the helm.
Frazier said Reid will have his opportunity this week practicing with the starters.