NORFOLK, Va. -- Sophomore kicker Dillon Bredesen nailed two key field goals in the closing seconds, including overtime, to lift South Carolina State to a 20-17 victory over Norfolk State Saturday at Dick Price Stadium.
The win gives the Bulldogs (8-3 overall, 6-2 MEAC) their 17th Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship in school history and head coach Buddy Pough his seventh at the helm and first since 2014. They share the title with North Carolina A&T, which goes to the Celebration Bowl by virtue of its win over SC State.
“I'm just overjoyed and happy for this team and our program to be able to come in here and beat a good Norfollk State team,” Pough said. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the players never put their head down and we were able to capture a share of the league title.”
The Bulldogs jumped early to a 14-3 lead off a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by senior running back LaBron Morris. The Spartans responded on with a 39-yard field goal by Josh Nardone late in the second quarter to push the lead to 7-3 before intermission.
NSU’s Gerald Hulett made sure his presence was felt, powering the Spartans to back-to-back touchdown runs of 14 and 8 yards to give Norfolk State a 17-14 lead with 58 seconds remaining in regulation.
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Bredesen forced overtime play, nailing a 29-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining to tie the game 17-17. In overtime, SC State scored first on his 27-yarder to give the Bulldogs a 20-17 advantage.
The defense would not be denied, stopping the Spartan offense in its tracks. Senior linebacker Chad Gilchrist sealed the overtime victory off a blocked field goal.
Pough stated, “We knew that N.C. A&T had a strong chance of repeating as champions and go to the Celebration Bowl. Now we will just have to wait and see if we get a at-large bid in the FCS Playoffs."
The FCS field is to be announced Sunday.
Morris finished with 24 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns to lead the ground attack, while freshman Corey Fields threw 20 of 35 for 286 yards and no interceptions. Senior Demantra Burroughs grabbed six catches for 130 yards.
Redshirt freshman Shaqun Davis also had six catches for 95 yards and senior Bruce Johnson tallied a team-high eight tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss.