NORFOLK, Va. – Trenton Cannon rushed for 145 yards and Virginia State quarterback Cordelral Cook ran for two short touchdowns to lead the Trojans to a 14-10 win over Norfolk State on Saturday night at the ABNB Labor Day Classic at Dick Price Stadium.
In the teams’ first clash in five years, VSU (1-0) beat NSU (0-1) on the field for the first time since 2005.
Cook scored on a 2-yard run with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter to give the Trojans a 14-10 lead. The VSU defense made that lead stand up, holding the Spartans without a point on three fourth-quarter drives, all of which reached Trojan territory.
The Spartans punted on their first possession of the fourth, then reached the Trojan 35 on their next possession. Juwan Carter’s 4th-and-5 pass to Marcus Taylor fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs back to VSU with 2:54 left to play.
The Trojans tried to run out the clock, but NSU used its final three timeouts to force VSU to punt. NSU took over at its own 37 with 1:12 left and Carter completed passes of 11 yards to Isaiah Winstead and 18 yards to Taylor to march NSU down to the Trojan 34. But on 3rd-and-10, Carter’s pass was intercepted by Kurtis Brooks to seal the win for the Trojans.
VSU scored on the first drive of the game. Cook capped an 11-play, 55-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run at the 10:41 mark of the first quarter. But the Spartans scored the next 10 points. NSU safety Bobby Price’s interception in VSU territory set up a 28-yard field goal by Josh Nardone with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans then took the lead thanks to their special teams and defense in the second quarter. Punter Taylor Goettie’s 32-yard punt pinned the Trojans at their own 1-yard line as a steady rain began falling. One play later, Cook fumbled a snap in the end zone and NSU defensive end Nigel Chavis fell on it for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 10-7 lead, which they took into halftime.
For the night, VSU outgained the Spartans 275-214, including a 190-98 edge on the ground. Carter led NSU with 39 yards rushing on four carries and 67 yards on 7-of-19 passing. Tripp Harrington, who started the game and split time with Carter, was 6-of-12 for 49 yards and also rushed for 17 yards.
Taylor led all players with seven receptions for 84 yards. Defensively, Price (game-high 10) and nose guard Deshaywn Middleton (nine) both posted career highs in tackles.
The Spartans are home again next Saturday when they welcome William & Mary to Dick Price Stadium for a 6 p.m. game at Dick Price Stadium.