NORFOLK (WAVY) – Norfolk State outscored North Carolina Central 21-7 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Spartans (1-3, 0-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) fall 34-31 to the Eagles (2-2, 1-0) in the conference opener.
Greg Hankerson completed 16 of 31 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown for NSU, but he was also sacked four times. The Spartans managed a decent day on the ground, with Hankerson and Gerard Johnson combining for 148 yards and a score.
Central’s Ramone Simpson led the way with 97 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The Spartans only trailed 17-10 at halftime, but dug themselves into a 27-10 hole by the third quarter. They managed to make it a 27-23 game with 11:23 left in the fourth quarter before Eagles quarterback Malcolm Bell capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run to build his team’s lead back up to 11.
A 25-yard scoring strike from Hankerson to Marcus Taylor, along with a two-point conversion, made it a three-point game, but NSU failed to grab the ensuing onside kick, and the Eagles ran out the clock.
NSU will host Howard next weekend, with kickoff scheduled for 2:00 pm at Dick Price Stadium.