NORFOLK, Va. (Release via NSU Athletics) – Fresh off their first win of the season, the Spartans (1-5, 1-0 MEAC) look to make it two in a row when they host Delaware State (3-2, 0-0) this Saturday for homecoming. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. at Dick Price Stadium.
• Norfolk State won its first game of the year in dramatic fashion last Saturday, as receiver Da’Quan Felton caught a 3-yard TD pass with five seconds left to lift the Spartans past Morgan State, 24-21.
• NSU led 17-0 in the second quarter only to see Morgan State score the game’s next 21 points, including the go-ahead TD with 1:53 to play.
• But the Spartans drove 66 yards in nine plays, capped by Jaylan Adams’ TD throw to Felton.
• The win came in the MEAC’s first conference game of 2022, giving the Spartans the early lead in the conference standings.
• Delaware State is off to a 3-2 start on the season after a 14-9 home win over Robert Morris on Oct. 1 in Dover. The Hornets had a bye week last week.
• DSU also has early-season wins over Lincoln (Pa.), 34-0, and Virginia Lynchburg, 35-19. Their losses have come to nationally-ranked Delaware (35-9) and Merrimack (26-13).
• The Hornets lead the MEAC thus far in total defense (298.2 ypg allowed) and rushing defense (96.0 ypg). DSU is strong on the ground this year, as both Marquis Gillis (231 yards) and Wade Inge (203) rank in the MEAC top 10 in rushing.
• Hornet defender Omakus Langley leads the conference with four sacks.
• DSU was picked to finish fourth in the conference preseason poll. Three Hornet defenders – lineman Isaiah Williams, linebacker Ronald Holmes and defensive back Esaias Guthrie – were voted to the All-MEAC preseason first team.
• Delaware State leads the all-time series with Norfolk State, 17-6. That includes last year’s improbable 28-26 DSU win in Dover on Nov. 13, when the Hornets rallied from a 26-0 halftime deficit.
• The Spartans played near flawless football in a first half which ended with them on top 26-0. But the Hornets slowly rallied, eventually overcoming their deficit on a pair of fourth-down touchdown passes – the last a 30-yard TD throw from Jared Lewis to Trey Gross with 1:53 remaining to put the Hornets in front 28-26.
• J.J. Davis ran for 115 yards and a touchdown and Christian Ruffin returned a blocked punt for a touchdown for NSU.
• DSU’s win last year snapped a three-game series win streak for the Spartans.
BY LAND AND BY AIR
NSU has shown the ability to move the ball in different ways the last three weeks. The Spartans ran for more than 200 yards in back-to-back games against St. Francis and Sacred Heart, including a season-high 254 against St. Francis. Against Sacred Heart, six different players logged carries, with four rushing for at least 38 yards. Against Morgan State, the Spartans passed for a season-high 291 yards, including a career-best 88 by Otto Kuhns. Da’Quan Felton (eight) and Chris Butler (six) had career highs in receptions.
THREE EARN MEAC HONORS
Three Spartans earned MEAC weekly honors following the Morgan State win: receiver Da’Quan Felton was selected Co-Offensive Player of the Week, defensive back Stuart Anderson Jr. was named Defensive Player of the Week and running back Kevon King was selected Rookie of the Week.
• Felton caught a career-high eight passes for 94 yards and the game-winning touchdown with five seconds left. He is currently third in the MEAC with 288 total receiving yards, and tied for second with three TD catches this year.
• Anderson registered nine tackles, including one for loss and a forced fumble. His forced fumble in the first quarter came at the Spartan 1-yard line with MSU about to score, and teammate Daylan Long recovered for NSU.
• King carried four times for 36 yards for NSU, including a 34-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game. That marked King’s first career touchdown as a Spartan.
YOUTH IS SERVED
After losing more than 30 letterwinners from last year’s team, the Spartans have welcomed in more than 40 newcomers this season. That has led to a youth movement of sorts for the Spartans.
• To date, 14 true freshmen and 13 redshirt freshmen have played in at least one game for NSU.
• Two true freshmen have started so far in OL Vincent Byrd Jr. and Lamar Robinson.
• Redshirt freshmen to start so far include TE Ikeem Wright, OL Baron Franks, DL Levontae Jacobs and DE T.J. Stevenson.
• True freshmen were NSU’s leading rushers twice in the last three games. Jason Wonodi led the way with 81 yards against St. Francis, all on a third-quarter TD run. Kevon King ran four times for 36 yards and a TD at Morgan State.
• Freshmen have accounted for five of NSU’s nine touchdowns the last three games: Jordin Lennon and Wonodi against St. Francis, Lennon and redshirt freshman Ikeem Wright at Sacred Heart, and King at Morgan State.
TYLER TALLIES TACKLES
NSU junior Tyler Long has been racking up the tackles of late. More on the standout linebacker:
• Long leads the MEAC and is 26th in all of the Division I FCS with 57 total tackles in six games.
• He has reached double figures three times, with 11 at Marshall, a then career-high tying 12 against St. Francis and a career-high 13 at Sacred Heart.
• Long also leads NSU and is sixth in the MEAC with 2.5 sacks on the year.