NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Norfolk State's defense forced a season-high five turnovers, four in a 20-point first quarter, and the Spartans notched their second shutout of the season in a 30-0 Senior Day victory over Morgan State on Saturday afternoon at Dick Price Stadium.
Nico Flores passed for 216 yards and two touchdown for the Spartans (4-7, 2-6 MEAC), who close the season on a two-game win streak. The Bears (3-7, 2-5), who were held to 221 yards of offense, lost their fifth in a row.
NSU's defense set the tone for the afternoon on the first drive of the game. The Bears received the opening kickoff, but on the second play of their possession, Spartan defensive lineman Cameron Jude sacked MSU quarterback Robert Council and forced a fumble. NSU linebacker Jamal Giddens pounced on it at the Bears' 4-yard line. Two plays later, freshman Brendon Riddick scored on a 2-yard TD run. The extra point hit the upright, keeping the Spartans' lead at 6-0.
On MSU's next possession, NSU safety Keenan Lambert picked off a third-down pass by Council deep in MSU territory. On the third play of the Spartans' next drive, Flores hit Xavier Boyce for a 16-yard TD pass, putting NSU on top 13-0 at the 11:17 mark of the first quarter.
The Spartans' defense was responsible for the game's next score. Freshman linebacker Deon King stepped in front of a Council pass and returned the interception 15 yards for a touchdown and the 20-0 lead. It was Council's third pick of the quarter.
NSU extended its lead to 27-0 early in the second quarter. On the Spartans' first drive of the period, Flores hit Joseph Hawkins for 44 yards on first down. On the next play, Flores found Derrick Demps behind the defense for a 29-yard touchdown pass up the right sideline, making it 27-0 with 12:46 left in the half.
The Bears lost another fumble later in the second quarter, NSU's fifth forced turnover of the half. It came courtesy of a strip by linebacker Marcell Coke and recovery by Lynden Trail following a completed pass.
MSU was able to hold onto the ball in the second half, but couldn't penetrate the NSU defense. The Bears reached as far as the Spartan 7-yard line early in the fourth, but two penalties backed them up 20 yards. Earvin Gonzalez came on for a 45-yard field goal to get MSU on the board, but his kick missed wide left.
NSU limited the Bears to 79 yards rushing on 34 carries, and MSU's two quarterbacks combined to complete 14-of-35 passes for 142 yards and three interceptions. Travis Davidson, the MEAC's No. 2 rusher, was held to 26 yards on 12 carries.
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