Dover, Del. (Nov. 16, 2019) --- Norfolk State scored 23 unanswered points after trailing 10-0 en route to a 33-17 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory over Delaware State under windy conditions at Alumni Stadium today.
The Spartans won their third game in a row to improve to 5-6 overall and 4-3 in the MEAC. The Hornets closed out their 2019 MEAC schedule at 1-7, and are 2-9 overal. NSU also defeated Delaware State for the third year in a row, although the Hornets hold a 16-9 lead in the all-time series.
Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter completed 18-of-31 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Spartans with 44 yards rushing on nine carries.
Delaware State’s Thomas Bertand-Hudon led all players with 137 yards rushing on 25 carries, marking his third straight 100-yard game. The last Hornet with 100-or-more rushing yards in three consecutive games was Emmanual Marc, who topped the century mark vs. Concord (118), Norfolk State (130) and Howard (165) in 2006.
Bertrand-Hudon put DSU on the board first with a 48-yard touchdown run on the Hornets first play from scrimmage. The Quebec native ran through a big hole on the right side of the offensive line and sprinted untouched to the endzone. The extra point kick by Jose Romo-Martinez gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead just a minute-58-seconds into the contest.
After Norfolk State failed to score on its next possession, Delaware State used a long drive to stretch its lead. The Hornets marched 59 yards on 11 plays to the NSU six, but had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Romo-Martinez to open up a 10-0 lead with 2:36 to go in the opening quarter.
The Spartans began their comeback with a second quarter touchdown. Carter connected with Da’Kendall James on an 11-yard touchdown pass to cap off a 13-play, 78-yard drive that consumed five-minutes-48 seconds. The extra point attempt was blocked by DSU’s Jahad Neibauer, cutting the Hornets’ lead to 10-6 at the 11:42 mark of the second quarter.
Norfolk State took advantage of a Delaware State turnover to take the lead for good. Four plays after NSU’s Devyn Coles intercepted a Tylik Bethea pass, Kevin Johnson ran to the endzone from 14 yards out to put the Spartans ahead. After the extra point, NSU led 13-10 with 7:34 left in the second quarter.
Norfolk State’s Josh Nardone nailed a 33-yard field goal with 18 seconds to go before halftime to put the Spartans ahead 16-10 at the break.
Delaware State drove to the NSU 21 after receiving the second half kickoff, but a pass by Bethea was picked off by Bobby Price, who darted 84 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The Spartans led 23-10 after the extra point kick with 12:06 left in the third quarter.
The Hornets finally broke the Norfolk State scoring run when Bethea rushed 28 yards for a touchdown to cap off a five-play, 50-yard drive with 4:16 to go in the third quarter.
Bethea rushed for a career-high 71 yards on 10 carries in the contest, although he was successful on just five-of-15 passes for 54 yards and two interceptions.
The Hornets still only trailed 23-17 when an apparent 49-yard touchdown on a punt return by DSU’s Keenan Black was nullified by two penalties with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Carter threw his second touchdown of a game, a 24-yard strike to Justin Smith, to stretch the Spartans’ lead to 30-17 with 14:02 left to play.
Nardone nailed his second field goal of the game for NSU, a 20-yarder, to close out the scoring.
Norfolk State held a slight edge in total yards, 313-303, although the Hornets had a 249 to 131 advantage in rushing yards.
Linebackers Tristin Murrin and Brooks Parker, along lineman Corey St. John, led Delaware State with six tackles each.
The Hornets wrap up their 2019 season at home against St. Francis (Pa.) of the Northeast Conference. The Senior / Military Appreciation Day contest is set for 2:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.