The South Carolina State Bulldogs (2-3 overall, 1-1 MEAC) redeemed last season defeat, shutting out the defending MEAC Champions Norfolk State Spartans (2-3 overall, 0-2 MEAC) 14-0 Saturday at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium.
"We moved the ball some, but turned it over too much in the game," said SC State head coach Buddy Plough. "We got a lot of work ahead of us but we will enjoy this win and make some improvements on both sides of the ball."
The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a 3-yard run by sophomore running back Julius Pendergrass at the 13:41 mark in the first quarter. Junior defensive back Kimario McFadden's 34-yard interception for a touchdown with 2:27 left in the quarter gave SC State a 14-0 advantage early on in the contest.
The Spartans battled with the Bulldogs closes throughout the game, with both defenses holding each team scoreless in the second-half. Norfolk State sparked an impressive drive, to put them in scoring position at the SC State's two yard line early in the fourth quarter. McFadden sealed the victory for SC State, when he intercepted sophomore quarterback Jake Besmagian in the end zone for his second interception on the day with 13:33 left in the game.
The Bulldogs defense was spearheaded by junior linebacker Joe Thomas with a game-high nine tackles, while junior Darius Drummond had an impressive day with seven tackles in the victory. McFadden finished with four tackles, two tackles for losses, and two interceptions.
Lynden Trail led the Spartans with six tackles. Despite, he defense battle on both sides on the ball both teams finished with 261 yards total offense, while being intercepted three times.
Pough stated, "The defense did well and we stopped Norfolk, State most of the time but we need to improve more in our passing game. We missed some people that we shouldn't have missed down the stretch."
Junior quarterback Richard Cue finished 7-of-22 with 134 yards passing and three interceptions, while junior Tyler McDonald led the receiving corps with five catches for 71 yards. Norfolk States rushing attack was powered by Takeem Hedgeman with 26 carries for 148 yards in the loss.
SC State will return to action with a three-game road swing starting in Indianapolis, IN against the Eagles of N.C. Central in the Circle City Classic on Oct.6, in a 2:30 p.m. showdown. After that the Bulldogs travel to Dover, DE to take on the Hornets of Delaware State (Oct. 13), before headed to Tallahassee, FL to battle Florida A&M (Oct. 20) in a pivotal MEAC clashing.