Hampton defense comes up big in win over South Carolina State

Posted at 11:50 PM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-29 23:50:57-04

HAMPTON, Va. - A 57-yard touchdown pass from Jaylian Williamson to Twarn Mixson with seven minutes left and a two-point conversion stop by the defense late in the quarter helped give the Hampton Pirates a 28-26 victory over South Carolina State in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) matchup at Armstrong Stadium on Saturday.

The win by Hampton (4-4, 4-2) snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Bulldogs as the Pirates had not defeated South Carolina State (3-4, 3-1) since a 14-10 win at Armstrong Stadium in 2005.

“I am very proud of these guys today,” said Hampton head coach Connell Maynor. “They could’ve easily quit but the defense got some big stops in the second half and helped us get a big MEAC win.”

The Pirates scored on their first possession going 68 yards in five plays as Eric Carter scored on a five-yard run. The tandem of Williamson and Mixson started connecting on the drive as they combined for a 27-yard completion followed by a 36 yarder.

South Carolina State took advantage of a bad punt to tie the game on a 41-yard, nine play drive as Bishop Ford pushed his way in on a one-yard run. The extra-point tied the game at 7-all with 4:09 left in the first.

Hampton responded to close the first quarter on an 81-yard drive as Williamson found Jack Willenbrock in the corner of the end zone on a 12-yard scoring pass. This drive saw Williamson connect with Rashawn Proctor on passes of 45 and 11 yards to start the scoring march. Anthony Provost converted the extra-point to put Hampton up 14-7 with 50 seconds left in the first.

The Bulldogs bit Hampton early and late in the second quarter as Caleb York found Kanome McIntosh on a 23-yard scoring pass at the 13:44 mark to tie the game at 14-all. With three seconds left in the half, York threw a floater into the end zone and found the hands of Ford to lead 20-14 after a missed extra point.

On the first drive of the second half, Hampton’s defense stiffened and held the Bulldogs to a 26-yard field goal attempt that was wide left with 9:48 left in the third. The Pirates marched 80 yards on their ensuing drive with Williamson finding Proctor for a four-yard touchdown and a 21-20 lead with 4:46 left.

In the fourth quarter, Hampton’s defense gave the Pirates a boost. On the first possession by the Bulldogs, they forced a turnover on downs and on the second drive Brendan Cole recovered a fumble on the Hampton 38.

The Pirates scored quickly on a three-play 65-yard drive in 96 seconds. Williamson found Mixson across the middle on a third down and after breaking a couple tackles he outraced the secondary for a 57-yard scoring pass to give Hampton a 28-20 lead with 7:04 left.

South Carolina State took advantage of a muffed Hampton punt return and took possession at the Pirate 18 with three minutes 36 seconds left. Ford covered the first 17 yards then Dondre Brown finished it with a one-yard run. A two-point run by Kollck was stopped to keep the Pirates up 28-26.

Hampton managed two first downs on the final drive with Yahkee Johnson’s 13-yard run locking up the first win by Hampton over SCSU since 2005.

Carter was the leading rusher for Hampton with 54 yards. Williamson was 16-of-27 for 271 yards and a season-best three touchdowns. For the first time this year, Hampton had a pair of 100-yard receivers as Proctor caught seven for 124 yards, while Mixson had six for 130 as each scored a touchdown. Cole had a season-high 11 tackles with a fumble recovery, while Robert Scott and Jayso’n Davidson had eight tackles each.

Hampton is now off until November 12 when they host Savannah State in a 1 pm kickoff at Armstrong Stadium.