SAVANNAH, Ga. – Tyler Clark threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score in the first quarter, and the Norfolk State defense made it stand up for a 14-7 Spartans’ victory over Savannah State on Saturday afternoon at Ted A. Wright Stadium.
The win was the second in a row for the Spartans (2-4, 2-0 MEAC) and keeps them unbeaten in conference play heading into next week’s Homecoming game with Delaware State. The Tigers (0-5, 0-2), meanwhile, lost their 14th straight game dating to last season.
Clark accounted for two touchdowns in the first quarter. He capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive with a 21-yard TD pass to Isaac White with 2:39 left in the period. After Leon Prunty connected with Jeremiah Harris on a 34-yard TD play one minute later for the Tigers to tie the score, Clark and the Spartans answered right back. Clark found White on a 57-yard TD pass to move NSU deep into Tiger territory. Clark ran on the next two plays, gaining 10 yards then dashing in for a 15-yard scoring run with 16 seconds to play in the opening stanza.
Neither team scored in the second quarter. SSU’s John Barron missed a 34-yard field goal try late in the period, keeping the Spartans’ lead at 14-7 entering the intermission.
The teams played a scoreless third quarter as well, but NSU looked like it may seal the win early in the fourth. Eric Pittman ripped off a 25-yard run, Aaron Daniels carried for 23 on the next play, and two plays later, Daniels bulled straight ahead for 16 more. Clark scampered 10 yards on a keeper to move the Spartans into the SSU red zone. On the next play, Daniels ran for six yards down to the SSU 10. But Daniels was stripped of the ball as he fought for extra yardage through a pile of defenders, and the Tigers’ Juwuan Tolbert recovered.
The Spartan defense came up with two big stops in the final quarter to preserve the win. After the change of possession, Prunty drove the Tigers inside the NSU 30. But faced with 4th-and-1 from the NSU 22, running back Nicholas Bentley was dropped for no gain by NSU linebacker Lynden Trail to give the Spartans the ball back.
The Tigers got the ball back once more after a Spartan punt. But a third down sack by George Riddick forced a 4th-and-23, and SSU quarterback Tino Smith’s desperation pass fell incomplete to turn the ball back over to NSU. The Spartans ran out the clock.
Clark ran for a career-high 106 yards on 19 carries. He also completed 9-of-16 passes for 153 yards. White made three receptions for 84 yards for NSU.
The Tigers managed 252 total yards. NSU held SSU to just 13 net rushing yards on 23 attempts.
Trail and Deon King had eight tackles each for NSU. Trail had two tackles for loss and a pass breakup, and Riddick made two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss among his six total tackles.