BALTIMORE, Md. – Quarterback Chris Walley passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Norfolk State defense held Morgan State scoreless in the second half to lead the Spartans to a 47-14 win on Saturday afternoon at Hughes Stadium, clinching the Spartans’ first-ever outright MEAC football title and Division I FCS playoff bid.
The 22nd-ranked Spartans (9-2, 7-1 MEAC) secured the school’s fifth conference football title of any kind, and the first since the 1984 team won the last of the program’s four CIAA titles in Division II. NSU also won its ninth game of the year Saturday, second-most in school history behind the 1984 team, which finished 10-2.
The Spartans also secured the MEAC’s automatic berth in the 20-team Division I FCS playoffs, which begin on Nov. 26. NSU has a bye week next Saturday, the final week of the regular season, before learning its playoff fate on Sunday, Nov. 20.
NSU led just 20-14 at halftime, but scored 17 points in a four-minute span early in the third quarter to pull away. Junior running back Randy Maynes gave NSU some immediate breathing room on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, bursting through the middle of the defense for a 56-yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a 27-14 lead.
Morgan State (5-5, 4-3) was held three-and-out on its next drive, and a 48-yard completion from Walley to freshman Keith Johnson moved the Spartans deep into Bear territory again. A 28-yard Ryan Estep field goal extended the lead to 30-14 with 10:50 left in the third quarter.
NSU wasn’t done, as special teamer Tyrece Shepherd forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that the Spartans’ Marcell Coke recovered and returned to the MSU 1. Walley bulled in from there to make it 37-14 just 16 seconds later.
The Spartans added 10 more points in the fourth quarter, on a 23-yard Estep field goal – his fourth of the day – and a 2-yard TD run by Takeem Hedgeman to complete the scoring.
“I’m so proud of our players right now for working as hard as they have and making history like this,” NSU head coach Pete Adrian said. “The chemistry on this team is great. They’ve been a special group to coach. All they talk about is winning, not about personal goals.”
Read the complete story at NSUSpartans.com.
Courtesy of the Associated Press