Games / MEAC

Spartan Football Looks for 2-0 MEAC Start at Howard

Spartan Football Looks for 2-0 MEAC Start at Howard

Spartan Football Looks for 2-0 MEAC Start at Howard

NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State (1-3, 1-0 MEAC) returns to the road for its first MEAC contest away from Dick Price Stadium this year when the Spartans face Howard University (0-4, 0-2) this Saturday at Greene Stadium in Washington, D.C. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The game is the first home game for the Bison this year in addition to serving as their homecoming. NSU it looking for its third straight year starting conference play at 2-0.

WGH Star 1310 AM is in its second season as the flagship network for NSU football and basketball games. Ross Gordon will handle the play-by-play duties. The game can also be heard online at

Norfolk State rebounded from a seven-point halftime deficit by outscoring Hampton 17-0 in the second half to take a 24-14 win in the 53rd annual Battle of the Bay on Saturday afternoon at Dick Price Stadium.

The win was the first in the NSU tenure of first-year Spartans’ head coach Latrell Scott and came in the team’s home opener after three straight road games against Division I FBS competition. Gerard Johnson ran 20 times for 119 yards and a touchdown, his first 100-yard game as a Spartan. Quarterback Greg Hankerson Jr. passed for 176 yards and another score, and the Spartans scored 14 points off four Hampton turnovers.

Hampton had the 14-7 lead and the momentum heading into the second half after scoring a pair of second-quarter touchdowns. But NSU played its best quarter of the season in the third period, outscoring the Pirates 17-0. Cameron Marouf kicked a 24-yard field goal to start the spurt. NSU forced a Hampton three-and-out on the next possession, then drove for the go-ahead score, a 12-yard TD pass from Hankerson to Isaac White. Three plays following a D’Metrius Williams interception, freshman Quintreil Chung bulled his way into the end zone from 2 yards out, increasing the Spartans’ advantage to 24-14 with 1:09 remaining in the quarter.

Howard dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the MEAC with a 21-13 loss to Morgan State on Saturday in the Chicago Football Classic. Andrew King caught two touchdown passes from Moses Skillon to send the Bears to an early lead, which they made stand up. The Bison offense could not find the end zone, scoring their only touchdown on a 27-yard second-quarter fumble recovery by Craig Johnson. John Fleck kicked two second-half field goals for Howard.

Howard was outgained 406-260. Donnell Pleasant led the Bison with 90 yards rushing.

The Bison have scored just 32 points in four games. Aquanius Freeman leads the HU ground game with 157 rushing yards, while Pleasant has 105. Quarterbacks Kalen Johnson and Jamie Cunningham have split time this year under center, combining to pass for 445 yards.

• This will be the team’s first meeting since 2012, a 37-36 overtime win by Howard in Norfolk.
• The teams’ last matchup in Washington, D.C., came in 2011, when NSU won 23-9 en route to the MEAC title.
• Howard holds a 16-8 all-time edge in the series. The teams did not play in 2013 and 2014 due to the league’s unbalanced schedule.
• The Bison’s win in 2012 snapped their four-game losing streak in the series. NSU won the previous four meetings (2008-11) by a combined score of 123-36.

A few notes from last Saturday’s win over Hampton:
• The win gives NSU wins in back-to-back years against Hampton for the first time since 1990-91.
• RB Gerard Johnson scored the first rushing touchdown for NSU this year, and his first as a Spartan, with a 23-yard run in the first quarter.
• Freshman RB Quintreil Chung scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
• WR Isaac White caught his first TD pass of the season, a 12-yarder in the third quarter.
• After registering just one sack in their first three games, the Spartans had two sacks and five quarterback hurries against Hampton.
• OLB Jay Anderson had a career-high seven tackles and his first career sack.

After forcing four turnovers against Hampton last week, the Spartans are now first in the MEAC in turnover margin this year, at +4. The last time NSU forced four turnovers from an opponent was on Nov. 23, 2013, when South Carolina State also committed four.

Offensively, NSU has committed just four turnovers this season – tied for fewest in the MEAC with North Carolina Central – and has forced nine turnovers.

NSU cornerback D’Metrius Williams has made quite an impact in the first four games of the season. The senior from Virginia Beach leads the MEAC and is third in the nation with eight total passes defended (seven breakups, one interception) in the four games. All of those figures have been tallied in the last three contests, as he was not credited with any passes defended at Rutgers.

Williams had a career-best four passes defended last week, with three deflections and his first interception of the season in the win over Hampton.

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