NORFOLK- The Bulldogs (9-3 overall, 7-1 MEAC) will be MEAC co-champions if Bethune-Cookman (6-1 MEAC entering Saturday) beats Florida A&M, though B-CU would earn the league's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs in that scenario.
Bulldogs spoil senior day for Spartans
Visiting South Carolina State registered seven sacks and kept Norfolk State out of the end zone as the Bulldogs earned at least a share of the MEAC regular-season title with a 17-3 win over the Spartans
The Spartans (3-9, 3-5) put up a game effort, holding SCSU to its second-lowest offensive yardage output of the year. But with the game tied 3-3 at the half, the Bulldogs' defense set up two second-half touchdowns by forcing a pair of turnovers, one on downs and one on a fumble.
NSU struck first, marching 87 yards in 19 plays with its second possession of the game. The drive, which took 8:26 off the clock, was capped by a 22-yard field goal by Cameron Marouf with2:52 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs tied things up with Nicholas Belcher's 24-yard field goal late in the second quarter, capping a 13-play drive.
The score remained that way until well into the third quarter. The Spartans had a 4th-and-1 at the SCSU 41, but Brendon Riddick was stopped for a 2-yard loss by Alex Glover and Sheldon Robinson. SCSU then drove 57 yards in seven plays for the go-ahead score, a 23-yard TD pass from Richard Cue to Temarrick Hemingway with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
SCSU scored the clinching touchdown with 3:20 left in the fourth. SCSU defensive lineman James Robinson sacked NSU quarterback Malik Stokes and forced a fumble, which Robinson fell on at the Spartans' 28-yard line Backup SCSU quarterback Adrian Kollock scored on a 17-yard run two plays later, pushing the Bulldogs' lead to 17-3.
NSU outgained SCSU 218-209. Rolandan Finch led all players with 18 carries for 75 yards for NSU before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He finished his final season with 1,113 yards rushing, second-most in the conference this year and fourth-most in NSU's Division I era (since 1997).
Stokes completed 7-of-16 passes for 128 yards and one interception. Tight end Joseph Hawkins was NSU's leading receiver in his final collegiate game with three catches for 44 yards. Lynden Trail had a career-high 13 tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble that led to an SCSU turnover in the third quarter.
Cue passed and rushed for 41 yards apiece for SCSU. Cue and Kollock combined to complete just 4-of-16 passes for 70 yards. Defensive lineman Javon Hargrave led the stout SCSU defense with 11 total tackles and two sacks.
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