The streak is over.
For the first time since the 2015 season N.C. Central felt defeat in the MEAC conference.
Norfolk State forced four turnovers and held off a comeback attempt by the Eagles to leave Durham with a 28-21 win. N.C. Central (5-2, 3-1 MEAC) had won 18 consecutive conference games, which was the second-longest streak in MEAC history behind South Carolina State (21 straight from 2008-10). N.C. Central’s 11-game home winning streak also came to an end.
Eagles backup quarterback Naiil Ramadan hit Josh McCoy for two scores in the second half and ran for a score after replacing Chauncey Caldwell in the second quarter after N.C. Central was held scoreless in the first half.
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Norfolk State (2-5, 2-2) jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks in part to a combination of N.C. Central turnovers (2) and the Eagles’ inability to get out of their own way with penalties. N.C. Central was flagged 12 times for 111 yards in the first half.
Norfolk State was almost flawless on offense, scoring on three touchdown passes by freshman quarterback Juwan Carter. Carter hit C.J. Jones for a 3-yard score in the first quarter and one each to Isaiah Winstead (11 yards) and Taylor (42 yards).
The Spartans went up 28-14 when Carter hit Marcus Taylor for a 58-yard score with 8:41 remaining in the game.
Ramadan’s second score to McCoy covered 4 yards to make it a one-score game with 6:12 remaining. The N.C. Central defense did its job, but so did the Spartans, intercepting a Ramadan pass with 1:48 remaining in the game. Linebacker Kyle Archie took the ball from Ramone Simpson, who bobbled a high pass from Ramadan.
The last time N.C. Central fell to an opponent in the MEAC was Oct. 3, 2015, a 28-26 defeat against Bethune-Cookman. The Eagles would share the conference title with the Wildcats and N.C. A&T that season.