NC Central can’t contain Carter, Spartans, fall flat on homecoming

NCCU Athletics

Earlier this week, North Carolina Central coach Trei Oliver was asked if he had anyone on the scout team who could simulate Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter.

Oliver laughed. Carter, the Spartans’ multi-talented junior, came into Saturday’s game leading the MEAC in total offense and Oliver said that if they had anyone that talented in camp he definitely wouldn’t be running the scout team.

The Eagles got an up close and personal look at Carter in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, as he razzle-dazzled his way around the NCCU defense, leading NSU to a 38-21 win, spoiling homecoming for NCCU.

Carter, a 6-0, 175 pounder from Richmond, Va., finished with 251 total yards and three touchdowns.

He didn’t do much damage with his legs, unless you count the Harry Houdini escapability he displayed on one play in the second quarter, breaking the game wide open. NC Central pulled to within 10-7 and had a chance to get the Spartans off the field. Facing fourth and nine, Carter dropped back and put his magic on display. He juked around the Eagles’ defensive line, escaping at least a pair of sacks. Carter then rolled to his left, and with a flick of his wrist, threw the ball 34 yards to Tylan McElhenie, who caught it at the NCCU 2-yard line.

Spartans’ freshman Kevin Johnson scored on the next play, giving NSU a 17-7 lead heading into the locker room.

Carter threw a touchdown pass to Justin Smith in the first quarter, which put the visitors ahead 10-0 early. The Eagles (4-6, 3-3) made it close, scoring on their opening drive of the second half when Davis Richard connected with Daeshawn Stephens for a 23-yard score.

But Carter countered, leading Norfolk State (4-6, 3-3) on a 12-play, 70-yard drive, keeping it himself for a 1-yard score to make it 24-14.

Richard, NCCU’s freshman quarterback, lost a fumble on the next drive and Da’Shaan Dixon scooped it up, returning it five yards for a score.

The Eagles all but abandoned the running game, allowing the freshman to throw 40 times. NCCU drops to 0-4 this season when Richard has attempted more than 30 passes. That did not bold well for NCCU once it got down a couple of scores and NSU brought pressure on every play.

Richard (30-46-384) was sacked eight times and the Eagles entered the fourth with - 5 yards rushing on 17 attempts. Isaiah Totten broke for 12 yards on his first carry of the fourth, but that “big play” was too little, too late. NCCU finished with 68 yards on the ground.

The Eagles struggled from the start, picking up just 41 yards on their first nine plays.

NCCU returns to action next Saturday when it hosts South Carolina State at 2 PM.

Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.