HAMPTON, Va. – Terrance Ervin passed for a career-high 335 yards and three touchdowns to help Norfolk State snap a two-game losing streak to Hampton with a 21-13 victory in the annual Battle of the Bay on Saturday afternoon at Armstrong Stadium.
Ervin threw two touchdown passes to Isaac White and one to Keith Johnson.
White registered career highs of 10 receptions for 150 yards for the Spartans (3-5, 3-1 MEAC), who also snapped an eight-game road losing streak in the series. NSU’s last win at Hampton (1-6, 0-3) came in 1996, the Spartans’ last year in Division II.
A 47-yard completion from HU quarterback Jaylian Washington to Twarn Mixson led to the game’s first points, a 26-yard Anthony Prevost field goal with 10:16 left in the first.
After the teams traded punts, Ervin directed a 60-yard, four-play drive.
Ervin completed a 29-yard pass to Markice Street to get NSU into Pirate territory.
Then on third down and long, Ervin hit Johnson open behind the defense for a 29-yard TD pass with 4:33 left in the opening period, giving the Spartans a 7-3 lead.
The Pirates regained the lead, though, early in the second quarter.
Hampton benefited from two 15-yard penalties against NSU on an 80-yard drive, which Bryan Bailey capped by throwing a 29-yard pass to Rashawn Proctor with 13:07 remaining in the half.
NSU capped the back-and-forth first half with a clutch scoring drive late in the second quarter. NSU marched 82 yards in eight plays for the go-ahead score.
White, who had three tip-toe catches near the NSU sideline earlier in the possession, scored on a 12-yard TD pass from Ervin with 43 seconds remaining in the period. That gave the Spartans a 14-10 lead entering the intermission.
NSU never relinquished that lead in the second half.
Hampton drew within 14-13 on Prevost’s 36-yard field goal with 9:38 left in the third. Prevost would have two chances later to put the Pirates into the lead, but couldn’t connect.
Jordan Hill intercepted Ervin to give the Pirates a first down at the NSU 33 later in the third. But Prevost missed wide left on a 28-yard field goal.
Then on the second play of the fourth quarter, Spartan defensive lineman Kevin Williams blocked Prevost’s 34-yard try to again preserve NSU’s lead.
After the teams exchanged punts, NSU scored what proved to be the clinching touchdown.
Ervin went 5-for-5 for 78 yards on an eight-play, 80-yard drive, connecting with White three times and Brendon Riddick twice. On 2nd-and-7 from the Pirates’ 30, Ervin pump-faked towards White, who then got by the defense and caught a 30-yard scoring pass to give NSU a 21-13 edge with 4:41 left.
The Spartans’ defense did the rest. Hampton reached as far as the Spartans’ 33 with their last drive before Williams and Darrin Marrow both came up with a pair of key plays.
Williams dropped Bailey for a sack on first down, then deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage on second down. On third down, Marrow dropped Rayshad Riddick for no gain after a short completion.
And on 4th-and-19, Marrow deflected Bailey’s long pass inside the 10 intended for Proctor.
Ervin was named the Battle of the Bay Offensive MVP. He completed 22-of-31 passes for 335 yards and three scores.
It was NSU’s first 300-yard passing game since Jake Basmagian’s 312 against Delaware State in 2012. No Spartan QB has passed for more than 335 yards since Chris Walley threw for 363 in the FCS playoffs at Old Dominion in 2011.