NORFOLK, Va. – Brandon Walker’s 50-yard interception return for a touchdown, coupled with a stingy second-half defensive effort, lifted the Norfolk State defense to a 39-31 win over the NSU offense in the Green & Gold intrasquad scrimmage before roughly 3,000 fans at Dick Price Stadium.
Saturday’s scrimmage, the last day of this year’s spring practice for the Spartans and first-year head coach Latrell Scott, was played using a modified scoring system and consisted of four eight-minute quarters. The offense was awarded points for first downs and reaching the red zone in addition to normal scoring for touchdowns and field goals. The defense earned points for forcing punts, three-and-outs and turnovers, among other things.
Walker’s interception, when he stepped in front of a Terrance Ervin pass and eluded several tacklers en route to the end zone, gave the defense the lead for good late in the second quarter. The defense built a double-digit lead in the third quarter by forcing four consecutive three-and-outs from the offense and held on late. The offense pulled within 39-31 with two first downs on its final drive of the game, but time ran out before the offense could find the end zone.
Walker’s touchdown was the only one in Saturday’s scrimmage. The offense started strong with a 15-play scoring drive to open the game. It appeared the offense found the end zone when Gerard Johnson scampered in from 19 yards out, but the touchdown was negated by a holding penalty. The offense settled for a 32-yard field goal by Cameron Marouf.
But aside from points for first downs, Marouf’s field goal was the only scoring for the offense. The defense forced three turnovers: Walker’s interception, a fumble recovery by linebacker Jay Anderson and another fumble recovery on a muffed punt. The defense also had a fourth-down stop, as the middle of the defense stuffed Shakeem Copeland on a 4th-and-1 run in the first half to earn more points for the defense in the modified scoring system.
Ervin completed 14-of-28 passes for 127 yards to lead the NSU offense. Johnson rushed for 39 yards and Copeland ran for 33.
“We still have a way to go, but I’m really pleased with the effort from our guys this spring,” Scott said. “I was also excited about the (fan) turnout today. I think the community sees that we are building something special here and they want to be a part of it. We can’t wait for the season.”