Norfolk State drops home finale to Morgan State 44-27

NORFOLK, Va. (Spartan Media Relations) – Visiting Morgan State used a relentless ground attack to jump out to a 31-6 lead and withstood a career-high 467 passing yards by Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter in the Bears’ 44-27 win over the Spartans on Saturday at Dick Price Stadium.

Norfolk State celebrates a touchdown.

The Bears (4-7, 3-4 MEAC) rushed 47 times for 333 yards, most by a Spartan opponent this season. MSU quarterback Dion Golatt Jr. ran for 156 of those and one touchdown, while also passing for 168 yards and three more scores in the Bears’ first win over NSU since 2006.

Carter did his best to rally the Spartans, completing 28 of 44 passes for 467 yards and three TDs. But even the third-most passing yards by a player in NSU history could not help the Spartans escape a big hole.

MSU scored on the game’s first drive, marching 72 yards in 11 plays before Golatt ended the possession with a 10-yard TD pass to Manasseh Bailey. The Spartans needed less than a minute to answer, with Carter hitting Marcus Taylor on a 71-yard TD pass at the 8:32 mark of the first quarter. The PAT missed, keeping the Bears ahead 7-6.

But MSU scored the game’s next 24 points. Alex Raya kicked a 39-yard field goal later in the first period. Early in the second quarter, Dominick Trigg returned an interception 57 yards for another Morgan State TD. Golatt scored on a 10-yard run just before halftime, then found Xavier Gravette on a 41-yard TD pass in the third to extend the MSU advantage to 31-6.

NSU did its best to make the game interesting in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points. Cameryn Brent scored on a 2-yard TD run with 9:21 left in the game. But the Bears had the answer, as Golatt connected with Gravette for an 8-yard TD pass.

The Spartans weren’t done. Carter would cap consecutive NSU drives with scoring passes to Isaiah Winstead, covering 5 and 34 yards. Those two TD passes sandwiched a 50-yard TD run by the Bears’ Jalen Jackson in a wild fourth quarter that saw 34 points scored, and the Spartans couldn’t get closer than the final margin.

Winstead (156) and Taylor (141) both had career highs in receiving yards for NSU. Winstead caught eight passes, tying his career best, and both Taylor and Chuma Awanna (6-89) made six catches.

Carter’s 467 yards are the most by a Spartan quarterback in the Division I era, and third in NSU history behind only Aaron Sparrow’s 516 yards against Winston-Salem State in 1994 and Sparrow’s 480 against Livingstone in 1995. As a team, NSU passed for 476 yards Saturday (D’Andre Thomas also passed for nine).

Gravette made six catches for 78 yards and two scores for the Bears.

NSU posted a season-high 522 yards of total offense, the most by an NSU team since a 559-yard day in a win over Savannah State in 2011.

The Spartans have next week off before playing a non-conference game at Liberty on Dec. 1. The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, but was rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence.