The Celebration Bowl matches the winner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference with the winner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and the four-year-old bowl game has become the province of the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
That's because they are making their third trip to the bowl game, which will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Saturday. The game will kick off at noon ET, it will be televised by ABC, and it can be streamed on ESPN3.
The Alcorn State Braves will attempt to keep the Aggies from rolling in Atlanta. However, North Carolina A&T's experience has helped make them an eight-point favorite in the game, per Vegas Insider.
North Carolina A&T (9-2) won the MEAC title and comes into the Celebration Bowl having won four games in a row. Quarterback Lamar Raynard has thrown for 1,373 yards and he has a 16-5 TD-interception ratio.
Running back Marquell Cartwright has been getting better as the season has progressed. He has rushed for 892 yards with five touchdowns, and he has averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Cartwright was at his best in his last game against North Carolina Central, as he ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
North Carolina A&T will depend on defensive end Darryl Johnson to cause huge problems for the Alcorn State offense. Johnson has 44 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He had seven tackles and a sack in September when the Aggies defeated East Carolina, an FBS program.
Johnson is a disruptive player with special qualities, according to his coach, Sam Washington.
"He is one of those guys who is willing to put in the extra time and give the extra effort and do the little things to be special," Washington said, per Jamie Williams and Chuck Burton of the College Sports Journal. "That is what separates him from the rest. It doesn’t hurt that he is also very athletic and can run. He has the attributes every coach dreams of."
Alcorn State (9-3) earned its third SWAC title in the last five year. The Braves defeated Southern 37-28 in the SWAC championship game to earn their way to the Celebration Bowl.
Alcorn State gets it done with an excellent defense. They have held three opponents to three points or less this season.
The Braves depend on quarterback Noah Johnson for offense, as he has thrown for 2,079 yards and 15 touchdowns. Johnson is also a strong runner, as he has picked up 960 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns.
Johnson was the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, and he also won offensive-player-of-the game honors in the SWAC title game.
Johnson gets quite a bit of help from running back De'Shawn Waller, who has rushed for 1,048 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had a dominant effort in the SWAC title game with 177 yards and three touchdowns.