DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University sent its 13 seniors out in thrilling fashion as the host Eagles edged Delaware State University 34-28 in overtime inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium on Saturday, providing NCCU with its first three-game win streak and first winning season since 2017.
The Eagles (6-5) also conclude the campaign with a 4-1 conference record to finish as MEAC runner-up.
NCCU sophomore quarterback Davius Richard accounted for three touchdowns, one on the ground and two through the air, including the game-winning 8-yard touchdown toss to sophomore running back Latrell Collier in the extra session.
Collier added a rushing score to finish the season with a team-high nine touchdowns.
Richard’s 150 passing yards on Saturday brings his season total to 2,133, making him just the second quarterback in NCCU history to throw for 2,000 yards in consecutive campaigns. The Belle Glade, Florida, native passed for 2,020 yards as a freshman in 2019 and his 4,153 passing yards rank eighth among NCCU career leaders.
Senior receiver Daeshawn Stephens topped the Eagles with five receptions for 43 yards and scored a 2-yard touchdown when he scooped up a bouncing ball after a blocked punt by freshman Marseille Miller to open the scoring for NCCU.
Senior Ryan McDaniel wraps up his final year with 52 receptions to rank ninth on the NCCU single-season list.
Senior running back Isaiah Totten ends his tenure in maroon and gray as NCCU’s fourth all-time leading rushing with 2,418 yards.
Defensively, NCCU was led by sophomore defensive tackle Jaden Taylor, who was a dominant force up front with a game-high 11 tackles, including 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, and a forced fumble that was recovered by fellow defensive lineman Chidi Okonya.
Senior linebacker Noah Rainbow-Douglas, who entered the contest with a MEAC-best 78 tackles, added 10 takedowns to his season total, along with 1.5 hits for a loss.
On special teams, besides the touchdown on the blocked punt, NCCU sophomore Brandon Codrington, who registered five tackles on defense, raced off the edge to block Delaware State’s field goal attempt in overtime, keeping the Hornets off the scoreboard in the first possession of the extra session.
Delaware State (5-6, 2-3 MEAC) was highlighted by senior wide receiver Trey Gross, who amassed 12 catches for 142 yards and four touchdowns.
Courtesy: North Carolina Central Athletics