HAMPTON — Hampton University coach Connell Maynor said it himself earlier in the week: The Pirates should have more weapons than Kentucky State, a Division II program that won only three games last season.
Yet early in the fourth quarter, with HU’s defense reeling and the offense suddenly mistake-prone, it had become a one-possession game. The Pirates would need those weapons, and deeper into the evening than most expected.
Quarterback David Watford and wideout T.J. Mixson provided them. Watford, the former Hampton Crabber who transferred from Virginia, threw for 345 yards and five touchdowns as the Pirates held on for a 35-20 win Saturday at Armstrong Stadium. Four of his scoring passes went to Mixson, who finished with 135 yards on seven catches.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think they had been playing together for three years instead of only a few months.
“We were here every day throwing in the summer,” Mixson said. “I didn’t go home, and me and David just stayed, trying to get our connection going. We’d go to Buckroe Beach and throw.”
Hampton (1-0) led 21-0 with 7:17 left in the second quarter but seemed to forget the game wasn’t even half over. Kentucky State scored on three consecutive possessions to cut the Pirates’ lead to 21-17 midway through the third quarter.