Dover, Del. (Sep. 23, 2017) --- Delaware State’s bid for a long-awaited victory was foiled by a series of penalties and turnovers, resulting in a frustrating 17-7 MEAC loss to Norfolk State in the Hornets’ 2017 home opener at Alumni Stadium today.
Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter completed 28-of-46 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, while the Spartan defense allowed just 226 yards and forced three turnovers.
The Hornets were also plagued by 12 penalties for 101 yards in the contest, each a season high.
Delaware State’s first possession set the tone for the game. The Hornets drove 39 yards to the Norfolk State 26, but Spartan defender Nigel Chavis intercepted a pass by Jack McDaniels to thwart the DSU drive.
Norfolk State drove to the DSU 17 on its first possession, but the Spartans failed to notch the first score of the game when Josh Nardone missed a 34-yard field goal attempt.
The contest remained scoreless until the final play of the first half when Nardone capped off a 17-play, 78-yard drive with a 19-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead at the break.
Norfolk State opened up a double-digit lead with a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. Carter connected with wide receiver Chuma Awanna on an eight-yard scoring pass to highlight the nine-play, 57-yard drive.
DSU's Brycen Alleyne returned the ensuing kickoff all the way back for an apparent touchdown, but the play was called back due to a penalty.
Delaware State’s special teams put the Hornets in great position to get back into the game. Caleb Hebron blocked his second punt of the season to give DSU the ball at the Norfolk State 18 yard line. The Hornets faced a fourth-and-goal at the Norfolk State two when redshirt freshman running back Nyfease West plunged into the endzone for the touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. The extra-point kick by Wisdom Nzidee cut Norfolk State’s lead to 10-7 with 14:54 left to play.
The Spartans answered with a touchdown on the ensuing possession to regain their 10-point lead.
Carter and Awanna again connected for the score, this time on a 16-yard pass to cap the six-play, 70-yard drive. Norfolk State led 17-7 after the extra point by Nardone with 11:25 remaining in the game.
Delaware State drove 73 yards to the Spartan seven on its next possession, but a pass by McDaniels was intercepted in the endzone by Norfolk State’s Bobby Price with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter to dash the Hornets’ comeback hopes.
West was Delaware State’s leading rusher with 47 yards on nine attempts. His fourth quarter touchdown was his team-leading second of the season.
McDaniels, making his fourth collegiate start, completed 16-of-30 passes for 156 yards.
Safety Jahad Niebauer led Delaware State with a career-high 11 tackles, including six solo stops. Freshman linebacker Devin Adams was second on the Hornets with eight tackles, while Keyjuan Selby had seven tackles (six unassisted) and two pass break-ups.
Norfolk State’s Chris Lee had six tackles, including two sacks and a forced fumble.
The Hornets fell to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the MEAC, while Norfolk State won for the first time this season (1-3; 1-0 MEAC).
STINGERS The Hornets played without running back Mike Waters and safety Brock Nichols due to injuries … linebacker Malik Harris and center Cade Pedro left the game and did not return after being injured … the Hornets are idle next week and will return to action on Oct. 7 at North Carolina A&T (1 p.m.) … the next home game is Oct. 14 against Howard in the annual homecoming contest (2 p.m.).