NORFOLK, Va. – Hampton jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and outlasted Norfolk State 16-14 in the 55th edition of the Battle of the Bay rivalry on Saturday afternoon at Dick Price Stadium.
In a matchup of teams without a MEAC loss coming in, the Pirates (4-2, 3-0) held a 16-7 edge entering the fourth quarter, then had to hold off the Spartans (2-4, 2-1 MEAC) in the closing minutes to snap NSU’s three-game win streak in the series.
Shai McKenzie scored on touchdown runs of 6 and 4 yards in the opening quarter to give the Pirates a 14-0 lead and all the momentum heading into the second quarter. But NSU cut its deficit in half early in the second quarter. Quarterback Juwan Carter found wideout Marcus Taylor in the open field. Taylor made two defenders miss and sprinted past the rest of the defense en route to a 52-yard TD play with 13:32 left in the second quarter.
NSU had a chance to cut further into the Pirates’ lead, but Josh Nardone missed a 34-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
The two defenses traded big plays in the third quarter. Hampton took its first possession of the period and drove deep into NSU territory. On 4th-and-goal from the 2, Hampton decided not to kick a field goal and put the ball into the hands of McKenzie. But Spartan cornerback Aaron Chandler and linebacker Kyle Archie tackled McKenzie a yard short of the end zone to turn the ball back over to NSU.
Hampton’s defense quickly responded with a big play of its own. Hampton safety Oral Varcciann tackled NSU fullback Larry Bishop III in the end zone for a safety on the next play following the fourth-down goal line stop, giving Hampton a 16-7 edge with 7:12 left in the third.
The Spartans rallied in the fourth. Carter capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Taylor to slice the Hampton lead to 16-14 with 7:27 left in regulation. Taylor made four receptions on the drive, including a 28-yarder in between defenders to give NSU a 1st-and-goal at the Hampton 8.
NSU forced Hampton into a three-and-out and promptly drove 48 yards inside the Hampton 10-yard line. But Nardone was wide on a 25-yard attempt with 2:29 left to play.
The Spartans again forced a three-and-out from the Pirates and took over on the Hampton 41 with nine seconds remaining. But Carter’s pass near the Hampton goal line was knocked away on the final play of the game as the Pirates held on.
Carter completed 16 of 31 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns for NSU. Taylor had seven catches for a career-high 111 yards and both scores. It was his first collegiate 100-yard receiving game. Freshman Isaiah Winstead added four receptions for 54 yards.
Hampton rushed for 173 yards, led by Yahkee Johnson’s 27 rushes for 112 yards.
Archie made a career-high 15 tackles and Nigel Chavis 10 to lead NSU’s defensive effort.
The Spartans are on the road next Saturday to face defending MEAC champion North Carolina Central at 2 p.m. in Durham, N.C.
Courtesy: NSU Athletics