The fifth annual Celebration Bowl will take place on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Atlanta, GA at Mercedes Benz Stadium. For the third time in the bowl game’s five-year history, North Carolina A&T Aggies and Alcorn State Braves will meet up.
The Aggies will represent the MEAC for the fourth time. The Braves will represent the SWAC for the third time. North Carolina A&T look to keep their win streak alive as the HBCU National Champions. They have won the Celebration Bowl three of the previous four years, including two wins over Alcorn State. The only year the Aggies haven’t won this game is in 2016, the year they didn’t make the game.
N.C. A&T comes in this matchup looking to keep Alcorn State winless against them in this high stakes affair. The Aggies have taken two of the previous matchups, including the 2018 game 24-22 that featured a great second-half comeback attempt by the Braves.
The Aggies are also looking to become the first team to win three straight championships and win four out of five of the first Celebration Bowls or HBCU National Championships.
The Aggies head coach Sam Washington is looking to win his first back to back bowl games as head coach. Washington took over the program in 2018 and has known nothing but winning. In his first season, he went 10-2, and his squad was named HBCU national champs.
This season the Aggies come into the game with an 8-3 record and a top-scoring offense with another great running back. Jah-Maine Martin has broken two of former Aggie great Tarik Cohen’s single-season records. Martin has scored 21 rushing touchdowns, which breaks Cohen’s single-season 18 rushing touchdowns and 19 total touchdowns single-season records.
Martin also is a finalist for the Black College Player of the Year also known as the Deacon Jones Award. In 2019, the Aggies led their conference in scoring offense, rushing offense and total offense along with leading the MEAC in rushing defense and total defense.
Alcorn State is looking to avenge their previous two losses to the Aggies. The Braves have their own Deacon Jones Award finalist with junior quarterback Felix “Triggerman” Harper. Harper has thrown for 2,613 yards and 30 touchdowns with just interceptions.
Harper took over the starting role when senior Noah Johnson went down with an injury in the third game of the season. Harper has helped to lead this team to a 9-3 record and a 39-24 win over Southern in the SWAC championship game.
The Braves also have help outside of the quarterback position. Senior wide receiver LeCharles Pringle was named SWAC championship game offensive MVP with his career-high 145 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Pringle also has tied the single-season receiving touchdown record with 14 touchdowns. On the defensive side, the Braves have junior defensive back Juwan Taylor who was the SWAC championship games’ defensive MVP. Taylor recorded 11 solo tackles and an interception.
Besides the on the field rival between the two programs competing for conference bragging rights, other factors make this game special. HBCUs are known for their great African American culture along with the great band traditions, halftime battle of the band’s shows, fraternities & sororities step shows, tailgating, and black pride coming together as one. This game also brings charity work with the local Atlanta children’s hospitals and career opportunities.
The NFL and ESPN have partnered together to host a Football Forum career expo exclusively for HBCU students looking to pursue a career in sports. They cover all aspects of sports including but not limited to sports communications’ careers, sports reporters/writers, sports television, etc.
This is exclusively for HBCU students and provides them with networking opportunities, professional development, and internship opportunities. Both colleges compete hard on and off the field, but fans are ready to see the results in a win on the field this upcoming weekend!