NORFOLK, Va. (NSU Athletics) The Norfolk State University football team had two opportunities in the final minutes to upend Virginia State in the annual Labor Day Classic on Saturday afternoon. However, both opportunities fell just short as the Trojans escaped with a 33-24 victory at William “Dick” Price Stadium.

“I want to apologize to our fans,” Norfolk State head coach Dawson Odums said. “We have to do a better job in preparing our team. You make the biggest adjustments from Week 1 to Week 2 and we have to be ready to go because we have another game next week.”

Norfolk State (0-1) started out of the gate quickly, taking advantage of a Virginia State turnover.

A fumble by Zyshawn White-Muhamed gave NSU the ball at the Trojans 36. Six plays later, Lex Henry busted through the middle for the 4-yard touchdown score as the Spartans grabbed a quick 7-0 lead with 12:11 remaining in the opening quarter.

However, the lead was short lived as Upton Bailey went 80 yards for the score, tying the game at 7 with 11:34 left.

On NSU’s next drive, the Spartans moved the ball to the VSU 18, but Grandin Willcox’s 35-yard field goal attempt was wide left, keeping the score tied at 7.

After a VSU punt, Norfolk State went 45 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 26-yard field goal by Willcox as the Spartans grabbed the 10-7 lead with 4:09 remaining in the first period.

On the ensuing kick, Kymani Clarke fumbled the ball and was recovered by AJ Richardson at the VSU 13.

Norfolk State cashed the turnover into seven points as Otto Kuhns connected with Henry for 13 yards as the Spartans pushed the lead to 17-7 with 2:37 left.

Virginia State (1-0) trimmed the margin to 17-13 after Clarke scored a 16-yard touchdown run, capping an 8-play, 90-yard drive with 14:09 remaining in the first half.

After a NSU punt, the Trojans grabbed their first lead of the day (20-17) with just over 10 minutes to play when Malik Hunter caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Steve Williams.

Norfolk State took the opening kickoff of the second half and went 57 yards in 13 plays with Andre Pegues hauling in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Kuhns, putting the Spartans back on top, 24-20 with 8:45 left in the third.

The scored remained 24-20 until early in the fourth when Williams scored on a 2-yard touchdown run, capping an 11-play, 66-yard drive with 13:21 left.

The Trojans tried to run out the clock, but were forced to punt the football as NSU set up shop of its own 39 with 2:49 remaining.

Norfolk State pushed the ball into the Red Zone and on fourth-and-1 from the VSU 4, Kuhns was stopped, turning the ball over to Virginia State with just 59 seconds left.

The Spartans burned their final two timeouts and with six seconds remaining, VSU called a timeout. Instead of punting the football, the Trojans elected to try to run out of the clock as Bailey was stopped short of the first down marker with 1 second left, turning the ball back over to the Spartans with an opportunity to potentially tie the game.

But just when it appeared the game was headed to overtime, the snap of the field goal attempt was high as Dante Clark picked up the loose ball and sprinted 77 yards into the end zone as time expired.