GREENSBORO, N.C. - Tarik Cohen rushed for 200 yards to break the MEAC's all-time rushing record and the North Carolina A&T defense limited Norfolk State to 137 yards in a 35-0 win over the Spartans on Thursday night at Aggie Stadium.
Cohen ran 23 times to accumulate his 200 rushing yards. NSU kept him bottled up in the first half before he scampered for runs of 44 yards to set up a third-quarter A&T touchdown and 62 yards on a fourth-quarter TD that broke the conference record.
Quarterback Greg Hankerson passed for 111 yards and ran for 26 for the Spartans (1-5, 0-3 MEAC), who have lost five in a row.
The teams played a scoreless first quarter with NSU containing Cohen and company in the opening 15 minutes. A&T broke the scoreless deadlock midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Lamar Raynard capped a 12-play, 66-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. The Spartans looked to have forced a three-and-out on the drive, but a running-into-the-punter penalty kept the drive alive. A&T also converted a 3rd-and-11 on the scoring march.
A 31-yard punt return by Khris Gardin set up the Aggies with excellent field position and set up their next score. A&T needed just 25 yards to find paydirt, with Raynard tossing an 8-yard scoring pass to Elijah Bell to give the Aggies a 14-0 lead entering the half.
The Spartans had a prime scoring chance early in the third quarter when a Bo Lomax punt hit an Aggie blocker and the Spartans' Sandy Chapman recovered at the N.C. A&T 31. But NSU turned the ball over on downs as Greg Hankerson's pass on 4th-and-1 was batted away.
A&T promptly drove 78 yards in six plays for another score. Backup quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Denzel Keyes to end the march and put the Aggies ahead 21-0 with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
Cohen scored from 62 yards out with 13:57 left in the fourth, and Darryl Johnson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone two minutes later to account for the final scores of the ball game.
North Carolina A&T finished with five sacks and yielded just 26 net rushing yards to NSU, which went 1-of-15 on third down and 0-of-4 on fourth down.
Gerard Johnson (54 receiving yards) and Marcus Taylor (27) both had five receptions each for NSU. Defensively, linebackers Kyle Archie had 12 tackles to lead the way, his second consecutive game in double figures. Linebacker T.C. Livingston added 10.
The Spartans are off next week before returning home on Oct. 22 against Bethune-Cookman.