DURHAM, N.C. (NSUSpartans.com) – Daeshawn Stephens caught a two-point conversion pass from Davius Richard following Isaiah Totten’s tying 5-yard touchdown run in the second overtime to lift North Carolina Central to a 38-36 win over Norfolk State on Saturday at O’Kelly Riddick Stadium.
The loss snapped a six game-winning streak for the Spartans (6-3, 2-1) and offset a day to remember for J.J. Davis, who ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns, and Juwan Carter, who became the school’s all-time passing yards leader.
NSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead just more than one quarter in, then saw the Eagles (4-5, 2-1) storm back with 24 unanswered points. NSU forced overtime thanks to a 32-yard field goal by Josh Nardone with 24 seconds left in regulation.
From there, both teams had several chances to win in an eventful overtime session. The Eagles got the ball first and scored on Richard’s 6-yard TD run. But NSU blocked the extra point to keep NCCU’s lead at 30-24.
A personal foul on the Spartans backed them up to the 40 to start their OT possession. On 4th-and-1, Davis exploded around the right side of the line and found the end zone on a 31-yard TD. But the Spartans missed the potential winning extra point, and the teams played on.
NSU got the ball first to start the second overtime. Six plays later, Davis scored on a 2-yard run to put the Spartans in front 36-30. A personal foul backed the two-point conversion up to the 18, and Carter’s pass to the end zone fell incomplete.
Another Spartan personal foul aided NCCU on the ensuing drive, and Totten scored on the fifth play of the possession. Richard then found Stephens in the middle of the field for the winning two-point conversion.
The Spartans got off to a tremendous start, scoring the first three times they had the ball. NSU linebacker Marquis Hall’s sack and fumble recovery on the game’s first drive set the Spartans up at the Eagle 5. Five plays later, Davis scored on a 2-yard run.
After forcing an Eagle punt, NSU marched nine plays and 60 yards, with Cameryn Brent scoring on a 1-yard TD run to put NSU ahead 14-0. After NCCU punted again, the Spartans marched 70 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a 1-yard TD run by Carter on the first play of the second quarter. Nardone’s PAT made it a 21-0 Spartan lead.
The Eagles then awakened, scoring on their next three possessions. Latrell Collier got the rally started with a 27-yard TD run. Following a short Spartan punt, Richard tossed a 22-yard TD pass to Devin Smith the next time the Eagles had the ball, cutting NSU’s lead to 21-14.
The Spartans’ missed a 43-yard field goal on their next drive, and NCCU cut its deficit to 21-17 on Adrian Olivo’s 31-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the second quarter.
NSU appeared poised to add to its lead midway through the third quarter. Davis found a seam and took off for an 88-yard run, the longest in school history, to position NSU at the Eagle 4. But the drive stalled and NCCU blocked Nardone’s 24-yard field goal.
NCCU then took its first lead on a 29-yard TD pass from Richard to Ryan McDaniel with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter.
The score remained that way until late in the fourth quarter. NSU took possession at its own 4 with 1:42 remaining. Carter proceeded to drive the Spartans 81 yards in 13 plays. Nardone knotted the score with a 32-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in regulation.
Despite the loss, it was a record-setting day for Carter and Davis. Carter completed 22 of 38 passes for 155 yards, surpassing Aaron Sparrow’s school record for career passing yards. Carter now has 8,906. Davis notched the most rushing yards by a Spartan since Daryl Jones’ 256 against Florida A&M in 2007. He did it in just 18 carries, which included the school-record long rush in the third period.
As a team, NSU outgained the Eagles 483-334.
NSU now falls into a second-place tie in the MEAC with the Eagles. Both trail S.C. State, which is now 4-0 in league play. The Spartans are on the road again next Saturday in a 1 p.m. game at Delaware State.