Daily Press (Sunday)

Late TD, INT rally Howard past NSU

Spartans can’t hold on to 17-6 lead in conference opener

- Staff and wire reports

Norfolk State led most of the game, but Howard bounced back with a late touchdown and clinching intercepti­on to beat the Spartans 27-23 Saturday in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams at William H. Greene Stadium in Washington.

Quinton Williams’ 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Jarett Hunter on the right side, open near the goal line, gave Howard (3-4) the lead with 1:17 remaining.

Aaron Moore returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to the Spartans’ 49, and NSU (2-5) got a first down to keep alive a desperatio­n drive. Bison senior defensive back Kenny Gallop Jr., a former Churchland High star, then made an intercepti­on against NSU receiver Andre Pegues on a “jump ball” around the Howard 2 in the final seconds, clinching Howard’s victory.

Norfolk State’s Otto Kuhns completed 16 of 26 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. Kevon King ran for 49 yards and a TD on 12 carries, while X’Zavion Evans had 41 yards on 17 rushes and Kuhns had 26 yards on nine carries.

After giving up a touchdown on Howard’s first drive, NSU (2-5) went ahead 17-6 in the second quarter. Grandin Willcox kicked a 20-yard first-quarter field goal, King ran 5 yards from the wildcat formation for a touchdown and Kuhns found RJ Baker for a 14-yard score soon after the Bison muffed a punt.

Two Howard field goals brought the score to 17-12 early in the third quarter, but Willcox responded by making a school-record 50-yard field goal to give NSU a 20-12 advantage with 12:33 to go in the game.

But Williams connected with Eden James on a 45-yard catchand-run for a Howard touchdown, and Kasey Hawthorne’s two-point conversion run tied the score at 20 with 9:38 remaining.

NSU answered with an eightplay, 56-yard drive to Willcox’s 36-yard field goal, giving the Spartans a 23-20 lead with 5:58 remaining. Tavian Morris’ 40-yard catch, part of his 87 receiving yards for the day, helped set it up.

The Spartans will return to action at 2 p.m. next Saturday for their homecoming game against Morgan State at Dick Price Stadium.

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