NORFOLK, Va. (RELEASE VIA NORFOLK STATE ATHLETICS)- Visiting South Carolina State rushed for 305 yards Saturday, pushing the Bulldogs to a 44-17 win over Norfolk State in the season finale for both teams at Dick Price Stadium.
SCSU quarterback Corey Fields passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while SCSU limited NSU (3-8, 1-4 MEAC) to 231 yards of total offense.
NSU started the game off on the right foot. The Spartans hit a 55-yard pass play on the first snap from scrimmage, with Cameron Sapp finding Andre Pegues behind the defense for a big gain. NSU’s opening drive would reach as far as the Bulldog 3-yard line, but the SCSU defense stiffened. A third-down sack of Sapp forced NSU to settle for a 33-yard Grandin Willcox field goal for the game’s first points.
The Bulldogs quickly regained the lead, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives. Josh Shaw scored on an 8-yard run to finish an 11-play, 58-yard Bulldog drive that put the guests in front, 7-3, with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
After an NSU punt, the Bulldogs then drove 74 yards in eight plays for another touchdown. Tyler Smith scored on a 21-yard run to finish the drive, putting the Bulldogs in front 14-3 early in the second.
The Bulldogs then scored on their first three drives of the second half to take control. Fields threw a 13-yard TD pass to Jordan Smith to extend SCSU’s advantage to 20-3 after the first possession of the third quarter. An interception ended NSU’s first possession of the third quarter, and Field scored on a 6-yard run five plays later to make it a 27-3 lead.
A botched punt led to a turnover on downs following the Spartans’ ensuing drive, and Fields capped the Bulldogs’ following possession with a 22-yard TD scoring strike to Smith to make it a 34-3 ballgame.
NSU stopped the Bulldog run when Cameron Sapp threw a 5-yard TD pass to Xzavion Evans with 59 seconds left in the third quarter.
T.J. Smith scored on a 1-yard run and Gavyn Zimmerman kicked a 24-yard field goal as SCSU stretched its lead in the final period.
The Spartans capped the scoring when backup quarterback Nolan James finished a six-play, 63-yard scoring drive with a 19-yard touchdown run with just more than five minutes left in the game. It was James’ first career touchdown.
Checking the Box Score
- SCSU ended the game with a 305-57 edge in rushing yards, and 441-231 in total offense.
- Mohamed Nyangamukenga led the Spartans with 48 yards on five rushes, all in the fourth quarter.
- Sapp passed for 174 yards and a touchdown in his second straight start, before leaving late in the game due to an injury.
- Pegues paced NSU with 63 yards on two catches.
- Three different Bulldogs ran for at least 69 yards, led by T.J. Smith with 86 yards.
- Linebacker A.J. Richardson and safety Joseph White tied for NSU’s team-high honors with 10 tackles.
- White was also credited with a forced fumble and fumble recovery in his final game for the Spartans.
- Linebacker Javoni Hales also recovered a fumble for NSU on a botched Bulldog punt return in the second half.
News and Notes
- The Spartans finished the 2023 season with a 3-8 record, 1-4 in the MEAC.
- SCSU’s campaign ended at 5-6, 3-2 in the MEAC.
- Saturday marked the final game in the tenure of long-time SCSU coach Oliver Buddy Pough.
- NSU has just five seniors on its roster, all of whom were honored in a pre-game ceremony: Pegues, White, receiver Tremayne Talbert, offensive lineman Evan Gregory and cornerback Robert Rhem.