BALTIMORE, Md. – Da’Quan Felton snared a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jaylan Adams with five seconds left to play, lifting Norfolk State to a 24-21 win over Morgan State in the MEAC opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at Hughes Stadium.
Felton’s dramatic touchdown grab over a Morgan State defender helped the Spartans rally. NSU (1-5, 1-0 MEAC) stormed out to a 17-0 lead in the first half only to see the Bears score the next 21 points. Alfonzo Graham gave MSU (2-3, 0-1 MEAC) its first lead of the game at 21-17 on a 51-yard TD run with 1:53 remaining, firing up the Homecoming crowd.
But the Spartans weren’t rattled. Otto Kuhns, who passed for a season-high 288 yards, completed passes of 31 yards to Chris Butler and 12 yards to Felton to move NSU inside the Bears’ 30. Two more short completions to Felton and Butler moved NSU closer, and Kuhns then scrambled 10 yards for a first down before taking a big hit at the MSU 2 with 10 seconds left.
Adams came off the bench and a Spartan running play lost 1 yard. After an NSU timeout with 10 seconds remaining, Adams lofted a fade pass to Felton, who went over the cornerback despite being interfered with for the winning score.
The grab was Felton’s career-high eighth of the game. He also had a game-high 94 receiving yards.
The Spartans got off to a fast start. Kuhns hit Felton for a 27-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage after the opening kickoff. Two plays later, freshman Kevon King burst threw the middle of the line and outraced the defense for a 34-yard TD run, the first of his career.
The Bears appeared ready to tie the game later in the quarter as Graham ran 21 yards toward the goal line. But Spartan safety Stuart Anderson Jr. knocked the ball loose just before Graham scored, and NSU linebacker Daylan Long recovered.
Kuhns helped the Spartans double their lead with a 1-yard TD sneak at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter. Grandin Willcox pushed the lead to 17-0 with a 29-yard field goal with 1:57 left before halftime.
The Bears began mounting their rally just before the intermission. Carson Baker threw a 35-yard TD pass to Tyler Wilkins on the last play of the second quarter to cut NSU’s advantage to 17-7.
Baker trimmed the NSU lead to 17-14 with a 13-yard TD run at the 8:29 mark of the fourth quarter. The Bears drove into NSU territory on their next drive, but Spartan lineman Anthony Blume dropped Graham for no gain on 4th-and-1.
But the Bears forced NSU to punt before taking over for the go-ahead scoring drive.
Kuhns completed 25-of-34 passes for a career-best 288 yards. Butler also registered a career day with six catches for 88 yards. Tremayne Talbert added four grabs for 48 yards.
Anderson and Marquis Hall both registered nine tackles to pace the NSU defense. Anderson had one tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
Graham ran for 203 yards in defeat for MSU.
Courtesy: Norfolk State Athletics