The anticipation continues to grow as North Dakota State gets closer to kicking off the 2020 season.
The final game of the non-conference season for NDSU is an interesting one. North Carolina A&T will come to Fargo on September 19th, a rare MEAC opponent for the Bison. NDSU has matched up with Morgan State and Delaware State in the Division I era, but this program is by far the best in the conference.
And that's the ironic part. A&T will be leaving the MEAC after this season and heading for the Big South Conference in July of 2021. The Aggies are ready for a higher level of competition and with that, trips to the FCS Playoffs. Right now the champions of the MEAC and SWAC are automatically selected for the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta. The Aggies have been in that game the last three years and won the game, last year scoring 64 points against Alcorn State.
They have enjoyed the national spotlight that comes with that game as its televised on ABC. But they're ready for stronger competition. They'll get that in the Big South with Kennesaw State, Monmouth and North Alabama.
A&T has the reputation as "Tailback U". The Chicago Bears standout Tarik Cohen is an Aggies alum, who was a three-time MEAC player of the year. Jah-Maine Martin is hoping to follow in his footsteps. The Coastal Carolina transfer will be a senior this year and is primed for a monster senior season. As we previewed last week, Martin is coming off 1,300 yard, 23 touchdown season in 2019. He'll be fun to watch.
This program is one of the top in the FCS you may not know off. The Aggies had a stretch of three straight FBS wins from 2016-18. They beat Kent State, Charlotte and East Carolina in successive years. 2017 they earned an at-large berth to the FCS Playoffs, losing to Richmond in the opening round.
A&T will receive $240,000 for this game and a shot to prove they're ready for the big time of the FCS. Their record stands for itself at 31-5 over the last three years.