Norfolk, Va. (Oct. 6, 2012) --- Delaware State forced four turnovers, including a season-high three interceptions in a 20-17 MEAC win over Norfolk State at Dick Price Stadium today.
The Hornets scored the game winning touchdown on a 23-yard pass from Nick Elko to Justin Brewton with 10:01 left to play. DSU sealed the win when free safety Davon Moore intercepted a pass from Spartan quarterback Jake Basmagian at the Hornet 11 yard line with 29 seconds left to play. It was Moore's second interception of the game. His first, with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter, led to the Hornets' game-winning score.
"I really needed to do something to help the team," said Moore, who leads the Hornets with three interceptions this season. "I missed an assignment that led to a Norfolk State touchdown in the first half; so I was determined to make it up for it with a big play in the game. We really needed this win. It was a total team effort."
The Hornets snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the MEAC. DSU also halted a three-game skid to the Spartans. Norfolk State, the defending MEAC champ, dropped its fourth straight game to fall to 2-4 and 0-3.
"This is a huge win for our program," said Delaware State head coach Kermit Blount. "We've been battling hard all season, and really needed a win for our efforts. Our defense was really opportunistic, especially in the second half, and the offense made enough bi g plays to get us the win."
Delaware State trailed 17-13 when the Spartans appeared to open up a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter.
NSU's Basmagian connected with Xavier Boyce on what appeared to be a 54-yard touchdown pass; but Boyce was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a premature celebration. The Spartans were also flagged with another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following the initial call. On the next play, from the Delaware State 37, Basmagian was intercepted by DSU's Moore, who returned the ball to the Hornet 40.
Delaware State needed five plays for the game winning touchdown pass from Elko to Brewton. It was Brewton's first career TD reception.
Norfolk got on the board first with a touchdown early in the second quarter. Spartan running back Brandon Riddick capped off an 11-play, 56-yard drive (5:35) with a 13-yard touchdown run for the game's first score. Everett Goldberg's extra point kick gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead with 14:25 left in the second quarter.
Delaware State responded with a touchdown on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 7-7. Nick Elko connected with Justin Wilson on a 22-yard touchdown pass to cap off the five-play, 77 yard drive. The one-minute-34 second drive also featured a 28-yard pass from Elko to Travis Tarpley to the NSU 25. The touchdown pass was the 25th of Elko's career. It was Wilson's 19th career TD reception.
The Hornets took their first lead of the game on a field goal following a partially blocked Norfolk State punt.
Eight plays after Moore partially blocked a punt, Mitchell Ward hit his first of two field goals, 24-yarder, to give the Hornets a 10-7 lead.
Norfolk State regained the lead on the ensuing possession. Basmagian connected with Takeem Hedgeman on an 86-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans a 14-10 lead with 7:23 left in the second quarter.
Ward hit his second field goal of game, from 31 yards out, to cut Norfolk State's lead to 17-13 at the half.
Terrick Colston had a career-high 15 tackles to lead the Hornets. It was his second game with 10-or-more tackles this season. Joe Boyd had a season-high 11 tackles for DSU.
Delaware State returns home to take on South Carolina State next Saturday (Oct. 13). Game time is 1:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
Quadir Bryant led Delaware State with 45 yards rushing on 13 carries, each a career high ... DSU quarterback Nick Elko punted twice in the game, averaging 41.5 yards, including a long of 63 yards ... Travis Tarpley had three catches (42 yards) to move into fifth place on the Hornets all-time list with 127.