NCCU Eagles beat Norfolk State clinch MEAC Championship and a trip to Celebration Bowl

Sunday, November 13, 2022

North Carolina Central (NCCU) is the 2022 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Football (MEAC) Champions!

The Eagles beat Norfolk State 48-14 Saturday night in Virginia. The win clinches the Eagles their first MEAC championship in six years and a trip to the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on December 17.

After a slow start by NCCU, the Eagles scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 28-7 lead into the locker room at intermission. Norfolk State (1-9, 1-3) trimmed the gap to 28-14 in the third quarter, but the Eagles scored three more touchdowns in the second half to seal the victory.

In all, NCCU racked up 548 yards of total offense and junior quarterback Davius Richard had five touchdowns. Richard completed 22-of-31 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 24 yards and another score.

Eagles senior receiver E.J. Hicks converted five catches into 127 receiving yards, including an 81-yard touchdown dash. Andrew Smith finished for five grabs for 41 yards, Devin Smith collected four receptions for 81 yards, and Joaquin Davis added two catches for 14 yards with a touchdown. Running backs Latrell Collier and J'Mari Taylor registered two touchdowns apiece, one on the ground and another through the air. Collier recorded a team-best 96 rushing yards and caught four passes for 48 yards.

Sophomore defensive back Kole Jones and redshirt freshman Max U'Ren posted a team-high seven tackles each, while Jones prevented a Spartan touchdown with an interception in the end zone.

Freshman Jayden Flaker sparked the Eagles on special teams with a huge blocked punt, his second of the season, which set up NCCU for a touchdown and a two-score advantage late in the second quarter.

Trei Oliver is in his third year as head coach at NCCU.

NCCU (8-2, 4-1 MEAC) closes out its regular season at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 19.

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