North Carolina Central University overcame a 21-point deficit to capture a thrilling, double-overtime, homecoming victory over Norfolk State University, 38-36, in front of 10,027 fans at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium on Saturday.
Norfolk State (6-3, 2-1 MEAC) entered the contest riding a six-game win streak with an unbeaten conference record, and stormed out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
However, the homecoming hosts never quit. The Eagles used a 27-yard touchdown run by Latrell Collier, a 22-yard touchdown pass from Davius Richard to Devin Smith, and a 31-yard field goal by Adrian Olivo to narrow the NSU advantage to 21-17 at halftime.
Late in the third quarter, Richard connected with Ryan McDaniel for a 29-yard touchdown to give NCCU the lead, 24-21.
With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the visiting Spartans used a 13-play, 81-yard drive to kick the game-tying field goal with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
In the first overtime, Richard scored on a 6-yard run, but NCCU’s extra-point kick was blocked.
NSU running back J.J. Davis evened the score at 30-30 with a chance to win the game with the PAT kick, but the try was missed to force a second overtime.
In the second extra session, Davis scored his third rushing touchdown of the day for Norfolk State, finishing with 217 ground yards, but the two-point pass attempt was broken up by Manny Smith after an NSU personal foul penalty made the try from 18 yards out.
Needing a touchdown to stay in the game, Isaiah Totten bulled his way into the end zone from the 5-yard line to tie the score. On the extra point, Richard found Daeshawn Stephens for the game-winning conversion, setting off a huge homecoming celebration.
Richard completed the contest with 182 passing yards and two touchdowns to spark NCCU. McDaniel, the leading receiver in the MEAC, gathered four catches for 81 yards and a score, while Devin Smith tallied three receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown. Totten and Collier each posted 60 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles.
The NCCU defense, which held the conference’s top-scoring offense scoreless for nearly 45 minutes of gameplay, was powered by Noah Rainbow-Douglas with 15 tackles, including 2.5 stops for a loss with a sack and a pass break-up. Manny Smith recorded 14 takedowns and a pass break-up, while Stephen Stokes, Cole Williams and Jaden Taylor each registered 11 tackles for the Eagles.
Courtesy: North Carolina Central