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Howard University Drops MEAC Opener At Home

H.U.Broadcast Journalism Major '13 | , Julee O'Neal | 9/20/2011, 11:34 a.m.

WASHINGTON DC-- September 17-- The Norfolk State Spartans relied on the senior leadership of their quarterback Chris Walley, a rock solid defense and their superior kicking game to defeat Howard University, 23-9 at Greene Stadium.

The Bison (1-2 overall, 0-1 in the MEAC) opened the game with an impressive drive that covered 80 yards in 10 plays with freshman quarterback connecting with Charles Anderson for a 21-yard TD pass.

The Spartans (2-1 overall, 1-0 in the MEAC) countered with a drive of their own that took six plays to go 62 yards with Walley hooking up with Victor Hairston from 21 yards to take the lead at 7-6 following a Ryan Estep PAT.

Norfolk State benefitted from one of Howard's mistakes, a bad snap on fourth down that lost 26 yards and gave the Spartans a short field. The Howard defense clamped down a forced a school record 51-yard field goal by Everett Goldberg that upped the margin to 10-6 to close out the first quarter.

From there both defenses took control. The Bison had opportunities, forcing five Norfolk State fumbles, but was failed to recover any of them as the score remained 10-6 at intermission..

The halftime ceremonies featured Honda representative, John Norris donating 1,000 dollars to both marching bands.

The highlight of the halftime show, was the performances of the Norfolk State Green and Gold Marching Band and the Howard University Showtime Marching Band, much to the delight of the crowd.

The Bison began the third quarter on a Parker Munoz 32-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 10-9 with 11:41 on the clock.

From the veteran Spartan defense took control and forced the Bison to several three and outs. Meanwhile, Walley began to find his rhythm and put together three drives that resulted in a TD and two field goals. That was all that Norfolk State would need as Howard would not score again.

"This was a learning experience for us," said Howard University first year head coach Gary "Flea" Harrell. "They (Norfolk) are one of the top teams in the conference. We had opportunities but we did not take advantage of them. You have to be able to capitalize on opportunities against good teams like them."

In last week's victory over Morehouse, senior All-conference wide receiver Willie Carter scored two touchdowns to give the Bison their first win of the season. But with their defense paying special attention to the talented playmaker, Carter was limited to two catches for 10 yards.

"We know that he is their go-to guy," said Norfolk State Coach Pete Adrian. "We were able to do a good job of finding where he was."

Another key to the game was the job that the Spartan defense did on Howard freshman quarterback Greg McGhee. The MEAC Rookie of the Week ran for a career-high 100 yards on 14 carries and 118 yards passing, but was only 18 of 38 and had a key interception.

"Norfolk State did a good job mixing things up," explained Harrell. "They forced Greg to throw the ball quicker than he wanted to and it resulted in some hurried throws. We were trying to stretch the field. We have to learn to be more patient and take the short gain."

"We just have to take advantage of those opportunities," said Harrell. "If we could have gotten some of those, it may have been a different outcome."

Walley, a pre-season All-MEAC selection, completed 17 of 23 for 239 passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Spartans effectively use both their placekickers, Ryan Estep and Everett Goldberg. Goldberg handles the long range kicks and Estep the shorter attempts. They combined for three in this game and a perfect 9 for 9 on the season.

"Howard was ready to play," said Norfolk head coach Pete Adrian. "They are a solid team...they will win some more football games. "We're just lucky we are not one of them."