Wilkins, NCCU top Savannah St.; Bell debuts at QB
Wilkins added a 19-yard touchdown reception from former backup quarterback Malcolm Bell and sapped the energy from the Savannah State Tigers and their homecoming crowd.
NCCU held the Tigers scoreless after Wilkins’ punt return to snap a two-game losing skid with a 24-10 road victory at Ted Wright Stadium.
Wilkins, a sophomore from Forest City, caught nine passes for 105 yards, including the score from redshirt-freshman Bell in the third quarter, while also tallying 82 punt return yards and 54 kickoff return yards. Wilkins became NCCU’s first 100-yard receiver since Demario Lackey tallied 100 yards receiving against Hampton in 2011.
Bell, making his first career start under center — Jordan Reid had started the Eagles' first seven games — completed 14 of 30 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while running for 33 yards including a 6-yard scoring run in the first quarter.
NCCU junior Andre Clarke pounded out 140 yards on 20 carries to become the first Eagle running back to reach the century-mark since he accomplished the feat against Savannah State last season.
A stingy NCCU defense was topped by senior linebacker Tazmon Foster with 11 tackles, while junior linebacker Tiron Guion added eight stops with an assisted sack and a pass break-up. Two first-year NCCU defensive backs, Cam Sullivan and Hakiem Swann, intercepted passes in the second half to help shut down the Tigers.
In the first half, Savannah State quarterback Antonio Bostick threw for 209 yards and a score on 22 of 31 passing. He was just 2 of 18 for 10 yards and two interceptions after intermission.
NCCU (4-4, 2-2 MEAC) recorded 411 yards of total offense, including 237 yards rushing. Savannah State (1-8, 0-5 MEAC) finished with 382 total yards, but only 90 of those yards came in the second half.
The Eagles return home to O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium on Saturday to host defending MEAC champion Bethune-Cookman at noon in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPNews.
|NC CENTRAL 24, SAVANNAH ST. 10|
Sav—FG Barron 22, 10:34.
NCCU—Bell 6 run (Parent kick), :21.
Sav—Lackey 3 pass from Bostick (Barron kick), 11:24.
NCCU—Wilkins 73 punt return (Parent kick), 1:32.
NCCU—Wilkins 19 pass from Bell (Parent kick), 7:16.
NCCU—FG Parent 25, 2:43.
|Time of Possession||30:36||29:24|
RUSHING—NC Central, Clarke 20-140, Wright 12-48, Bell 11-33,
Swinson 3-9, K.Thompson 4-7. Savannah St., Bostick 13-90, Veals 10-33,
Daniels 1-18, S.Barnes 1-16, Proctor 3-10, Frazier 1-(minus 1),
Prunty 3-(minus 3).
PASSING—NC Central, Bell 14-30-2-174. Savannah St.,
RECEIVING—NC Central, Wilkins 9-105, L.Scruggs 2-34,
N.Scruggs 2-24, Dixon 1-11. Savannah St., Lackey 7-54, Veals 3-26,
S.Barnes 3-16, Moore 2-45, Spaulding 2-37, Frazier 2-15, Drummond 2-11,
Brownlee 2-5, Roosevelt 1-10.