NORFOLK, Va. - Juwan Carter threw three touchdown passes and the Norfolk State defense held a potent Howard offense in check in a 29-17 Spartan victory on Saturday at Dick Price Stadium. Carter passes for 256 yards and three scoring passes to three different receivers to help NSU (4-5, 2-4 MEAC) snap its four-game losing streak. The Spartans, who amassed a season-high 439 total yards, also used a balance ground game to run for a season-best 178 yards. The NSU defense, meanwhile, limited the MEAC's top offense to its fewest points and total yards (273) against a conference opponent this season.
Howard (4-5, 4-3) scored on the game's first drive on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Caylin Newton to Jequez Ezzard just 1:59 into the game. The teams then traded field goals, with NSU's Josh Nardone hitting a 38-yarder and Faraji Joseph making a 30-yarder later in the opening quarter as Howard held a 10-3 edge after one stanza. But the Spartans scored on a pair of Carter touchdown passes in the second quarter to take the lead. First, Carter flipped a short pass to running back Cameryn Brent, who outraced the defense for a 15-yard scoring play to tie the game at the 13:29 mark of the second quarter.
NSU took the lead going into the half by perfectly executing its two-minute offense. Carter capped a nine-play, 80-yard TD drive with a 16-yard TD pass to Isaiah Winstead with six seconds left in the half. Nardone's PAT was blocked, keeping NSU's lead at 16-10 heading into the intermission. Howard briefly retook the lead on an 11-yard TD run by Newton with 8:38 left in the third quarter. The possession was set up by Devin Hurtado's interception of Carter off a tipped pass.
But the Spartans answered quickly with a nine-play drive, which Nardone capped with a 27-yard field goal with 3:19 remaining in the period. Nardone extended the lead to 22-17 with a 31-yard field goal with 11:16 left in the game. After the Spartan defense forced Howard to punt, the Spartans went ahead by two scores on a 37-yard TD pass from Carter to Marcus Taylor with 4:40 left to play. That capped an eight-play, 60-yard march which took five minutes off the clock.
On the first play of the next possession, NSU cornerback J.T. Wahee stepped in front of a Newton pass and intercepted it, all but ending the Bison's chances. Carter completed 23-of-35 passes and hit nine different receivers. Winstead (six catches) and Taylor (five) both had 74 receiving yards and a score. Four Spartans had at least 40 rushing yards: Aaron Savage led the way with 53, followed by Gerald Hulett with a season-high 51, Carter with 41 and Brent with 40.
Freshman linebacker Marquis Hall led the NSU defense with a career-high 12 tackles, including a half-tackle for loss. Nigel Chavis posted nine tackles, 2.5 for loss, with one sack, a forced fumble and three quarterback hurries. Wahee and Bobby Price both recorded an interception and a pass breakup. The Spartan defense forced Newton into a tough day through the air, as the Bison quarterback completed just 10-of-24 passes for 129 yards with two interceptions.