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For the first football game in Niner history, you could say to expect the unexpected, but nobody really knew what to expect. Though I can promise you that a lot of fans expected to win, nobody really expected to win like they did and give the fans, who were excellent, a lot to cheer about.
Mark Hogan Scores First Touch Down. News Observer
The day started with loads of tailgating. For a game that had such an earl kickoff, the Niner fans showed up ready and on time. They had grills started, music cranked up and even their first beverages opened by early morning. To me it felt like it was the afternoon, but there was still dew on the ground. My favorite part was when a bus load of Campbell faithful walked through the Niner tailgaters, and like old pros, the Niners chanted “Forty!” followed by a “Niners!” and let them know immediately who's house they were in. Niners are NOT new at cheering for their teams, so this was expected.
Before kickoff, they sang the first National Anthem with a huge flag on display that covered all 100 yards of the field. It was a beautiful site and very emotional. Soon after, it was time for the Niners to run onto the field for the first time.
The team lined up at the Judy Rose Football Center and the crowd only got louder as they waited with anticipation. Soon, the gigantic 49er flag was ran onto the field as every Niner fan erupted. The Niners followed with the three front runners holding an American flag, a North Carolina State flag and a UNC Charlotte flag. It was enough to bring chills to the over 15,000 people in attendance that waited a long time for that specific moment….game time!
Jerry Richardson Field was rocking and during the kickoff the stadium was electric. The stadium itself would feel very intimidating to anyone who entered. The inset stadium has the crowd lining the entire field, so it's not only hard for the sound to escape, it also feels the same for opponents….there is no way out.
Not even a minute into the game, senior linebacker Mark Hogan made a history by intercepting a pass and taking it around 32 yards for the touchdown. Mark Hogan, who transferred from Georgia State and participated in their inaugural football season and experiencing this type of atmosphere for the second time, scored the first touchdown.
The Niners never looked back scoring 22 points in the first quarter alone. As an offensive machine, they scored every way they could and even racking up 488 yards. They aired it out for touchdowns to Justin Bolus (1 yard), Austin Duke (19 yards) and Trent Bostick (47 yards). The running game didn't hold back either, as Kalif Philips scored from 15 yards, Dakota Wolf from the 1 and even Corey Nesmith showed off his speed by taking an end around to the house from 33 yards out.
Quarterback Matt Johnson look outstanding completing 21 of 38 pass attempts and no interceptions. Kicker Blake Bewer handled his business as well, kicking field goals from 20 yards, 35 yards and then a 40 yarder.
When the clock hit zero, the scoreboard read 52-7….Niners winning. The emotional crowd cheered loudly. People surrounding the stadium cheered loudly as well. It will be in the books forever as not only the first game, but also the first win. Head Coach Brad Lambert was surprised by the team with a Gatorade shower and in true Niner fashion, there may have been another first….the Campbell Camels had the field stormed on them by the students. I guess you could say it was a long time coming!
Note: Each week one football player will earn the privilege of wearing the number 49 for a game. The player wearing the number 49 will represent the spirit of the entire university. This week the player was Nosegaurd Larry Ogunjobi, who normally wears number 65.
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