SAVANNAH, Ga, - A 33-yard touchdown pass from Delmon Williams to Aulden Knight with 6:41 left provided the final margin as Hampton survived a turnover fest to defeat Savannah State 17-10 on a steamy Saturday afternoon. Both teams turned the ball over four times each, two fumbles and two interceptions per team stalled many chances. Hampton defeated Savannah for the eighth straight time leading the series 8-0.
The Hampton defense helped set up the first score of the day as Brendan Cole stripped Rashad Saxton and returned it 10 yards to give the Pirates possession at the Tiger18. Yahkee Johnson closed the four-play, 18-yard drive with a seven-yard run up the middle to lead 7-0 at 13:38 of the first quarter.
Savannah State responded with a scoring drive capped off by a fourth down conversion with a 32-yard scoring pass from D'Vonne Givens to Cameron White. Hampton had stopped the Tigers on consecutive plays for losses before Givens found White on a slant pattern and he outraced defenders into the end zone. The first possession of the second quarter for Hampton saw Delmon Williams connect with Johnson for a 57-yard pass down to the SSU 33. Savannah then intercepted a Williams pass and proceeded to drive down to the Hampton 42 before Owen Obasuyi forced a Givens fumble that was recovered by Steven Smith Jr. to put Hampton in possession at its own 44.
Hampton drove down to the SSU 19 before Williams threw his second pick of the half as Darrell Bonner stepped in front of a fourth down pass and returned it 61 yards to the Hampton 24. The defense for the Pirates stepped up again as Raheim Huskey stepped in front of a Givens pass to stop a potential SSU scoring threat. After a fumble by Hampton on the opening kickoff of the second half, Joshua Swilling stepped on front of a Givens pass to stop a SSU drive that started inside the Hampton 30.
The Pirates drove down and were snuffed out at the SSU five as Adam Brown hit a 23-yard field goal with 9:38 left in the third to put Hampton 10-7. Hampton dodged a potential tie with 13:07 left in the game as after another turnover, SSU drove down to the Hampton 25 before a 43-yard field goal attempt was wide left. The Pirates finally got some breathing room on a 33-yard scoring pass from Williams to Aulden Knight to pus h the lead to 17-7 with 6:41 left. Those two had missed on a similar pass early in the drive, but the touchdown found Knight two steps past the defense and Williams lead him right into the end zone.
Savannah State had one threat left as David Handler found Elijah Shah for an apparent 53-yard touchdown, but Shah dove into the end zone from the one to get called for a celebration penalty. Hampton stiffened and forced a 41-yard field goal from Giovanni Lugo to trim the lead to 17-10 with 3:18 remaining. Johnson was the leading rusher for Hampton with 76 yards and a touchdown along with two receptions for a team-high 62 yards. Huskey topped the team in tackles with 11, including a half sack, one tackle for loss and one interception.