Win at ECU catapults A&T to No. 6 in national FCS rankings

The Aggies received two first place votes, the first time in program history that's happened

NC A&T's Zachary Leslie catches a touchdown pass over ECU's Colby Gore during Sunday's win against the Pirates ((Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector via AP)

  Beating FBS teams is becoming an annual occurrence for the NC A&T football team, which accomplished the feat for the third straight year on Sunday with its 28-23 win against East Carolina.

  It was a victory that has helped the Aggies do something they’ve never done before.

  Earn first place votes in the STATS FCS poll.

  Coach Sam Washington’s team, which has won 14 straight dating back to last season and is already off to a 2-0 start this year, received two first place votes from the national panel of media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. A&T’s current ranking of fifth is up nine places from its preseason position at No. 14 and is its highest placement in the national poll since 1993.

  The Aggies are ranked below only defending national champion North Dakota, which got 157 first place votes, runnerup James Madison, which got the other first place vote, South Dakota State and Sam Houston State.

   “We have a bunch of guys who have a will to win,” Washington said after Sunday’s weather delayed win in Greenville. “You can see that will to win every time these guys step on the field. “When you have a bunch of guys who are willing to fight until the final whistle you can’t help but be successful. I’m proud of the way these guys hung in there. These men truly believe they can line up and be successful against any team in the country.”

  A&T’s 14-game winning streak is tied with Central Florida for the nation’s longest in Division I football. The Aggies opened the season two weeks ago with a road win against then-No. 6 Jacksonville State in Washington’s debut as head coach.

  The former defensive coordinator took over after the retirement of former coach Rod Broadway.

  A&T plays its home opener this Saturday against Gardner Webb.