By Brian Holloway, Associate Athletics Director/Communications, North Carolina A&T
Bhayshul Tuten, Andrew Brown and Wesley Graves come away with Big South weekly honors after A&T wins its first game of the season.
EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T football secured its first win on Saturday and collected its first set of Big South Weekly honors on Monday.
The Aggies had three players earn awards as the conference named sophomore running back Bhayshul Tuten offensive player of the week, sophomore kicker Andrew Brown special teams player of the week and Wesley Graves garnered freshman of the week recognition.
Tuten has been blazing of late. After only gaining 20 yards against N.C. Central in the season opener, Tuten has rushed for 400 yards and two touchdowns over the Aggies previous three games, going over 100 yards in each game.
On Saturday, Tuten posted a career-high 140 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He also had two receptions for 32 yards and one touchdown in which he did a flip into the end zone. Tuten’s 172 all-purpose yards are also a career-high.
“His importance grows weekly. He’s just a special young guy, and he has all the tools and the desire,” said A&T coach Sam Washington. “It is rare to get those combinations from one player. When you do, you have something special. When I say he practices with the same effort and the same energy, I’m not joking. He has one speed, and that’s wide open. I think that makes all of us better.”
Brown is off to a similarly hot start. He made two more field goals on Saturday to give him seven for the season. Brown connected on a critical field goal as time expired in the first half Saturday, a career-high 49-yarder to give the Aggies a 17-13 halftime lead. It was the third time in his career that he has connected from 49 yards out. He also had a 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
He did miss his first field goal of the season as his 53-yard attempt in the first quarter went wide right. Had the ball gone through the uprights, it would have been a school record. Brown is 7-for-8 on field goals this season, with five of those makes coming 40-plus yards. Brown leads the Big South in scoring (29 points), field goals made and field goal percentage (.875).
“We call him money,” said Washington about Brown. “Not only does the coaching staff have a lot of faith in him, but the whole team also believes him. They believe it’s points for us when he steps on the field.”
Graves had the best game of his career on Saturday, rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. His 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter marked his first career touchdown. He also had a run of 24 yards.
“I love the job Graves has been doing,” said Washington. “He’s that hidden gem. Teams know they must prepare for Tuten, but if you don’t watch it, Graves will cut your throat. We’ll use him as a weapon and continue to use him as a weapon.”
A&T plays its Big South opener at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, against Bryant at Truist Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the two teams.