NORFOLK, Va. — Quarterback Juwan Carter threw four touchdown passes and Norfolk State forced six Virginia State turnovers as the Spartans cruised to a 44-21 win in their home opener in front of 15,538 fans at Dick Price Stadium Saturday.
Carter and backup QB D’Andre Thomas, who also threw for one touchdown, hit five different receivers on scoring passes as NSU evened its record at 1-1 on the year. Carter got the scoring started with a 33-yard dump pass for a touchdown to freshman running back Kevin Johnson at the 9:35 mark of the opening quarter.
VSU tied the game early in the second quarter on a 7-yard TD run by backup Cordelral Cook, but NSU scored 37 unanswered points spanning the second through fourth quarters to break the game open. Following VSU’s touchdown, Carter capped a 10-play, 76-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to freshman Tremayne Talbert.
When the Trojans got the ball back, NSU linebacker Tyre Givers-Wilson forced VSU’s Toure Wallace to fumble, and safety Bobby Price recovered. Nine plays and 94 yards later, Carter found Gerald Hulett out of the backfield for a 4-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 20-7. On the ensuing kickoff, NSU defensive back Brandon Savage stripped the ball from VSU kick returner Vincent Parker and recovered the fumble at the Trojans’ 10. That led to a 29-yard Josh Nardone field goal and a 23-7 Spartan lead heading into the half.
On their second drive of the third quarter, the Spartans found the end zone again when Carter found Marcque Ellington on a 7-yard scoring pass at the 5:08 mark of the period. Ellington’s first career TD reception stretched the lead to 30-7.
NSU’s last two touchdowns were set up by interceptions. Savage’s first pick of the year thwarted a VSU drive in Spartan territory. Four plays later, Thomas found Tylan McElhenie in stride down the left sideline, and McElhenie tiptoed down the sideline and carried a defender into the end zone for a 53-yard TD reception. Givers-Wilson intercepted Cook on the following drive, and Thomas capped a short 12-yard scoring march with a 2-yard run on the third play of the fourth quarter.
The Trojans scored twice against the NSU reserves in the fourth quarter, on a pair of touchdown passes to Marquez Phillips and Christian Harden, respectively.
VSU actually outgained the Spartans in total offense, 502-430. But NSU did not commit a single turnover while forcing six, four on fumble recoveries and two on interceptions. That marks the most take-aways by a Spartan team since 2008 when NSU forced seven in a win over Morgan State. The Spartans scored 24 points off VSU turnovers on Saturday.
Carter completed 11-of-21 passes for 203 yards and the four touchdowns, which matched a career-high. Nine different Spartans caught at least one pass, with five finding the end zone. Each one caught his first career TD pass.
Hulett accounted for 90 all-purpose yards, 55 on three receptions and 35 on 10 carries. Johnson had 82 all-purpose yards, including 44 on the ground and 38 through the air. Aaron Savage also rushed for a team-high 47 yards as NSU finished with 155 yards on the ground.
Price led the NSU defense with seven tackles, one tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Chris Myers had a pair of sacks among his five tackles. Givers-Wilson was also busy, notching five tackles, one tackle for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble.
Cook passed for 207 yards and rushed for 77 for the Trojans (0-1).
NSU hits the road for its next two games, beginning with a 2 p.m. game at Coastal Carolina next Saturday.
Courtesy: NSU Athletics