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From Norfolk State Sports Information

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk State senior running back DeAngelo Branche (Norfolk, Va.) made his final home game in a Spartan uniform a memorable one, running for a career-high 212 yards and three touchdowns to lead NSU to its third straight win, 31-21, over Delaware State on Saturday afternoon at Dick Price Stadium.

The win improves NSU to 5-5 overall, 4-4 in the MEAC and gives the Spartans their first-ever two-game win streak over DSU. The Hornets fall to 2-8, 1-6.

Branche – who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the second half – scored on runs of 11 and 15 yards in the first half to help stake NSU to a 21-7 halftime lead. His 40-yard scoring run – the longest TD jaunt of his career – put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.

Branche’s 11-yard run finished off a six-play, 35-yard scoring drive which was set up by a 24-yard punt return by another senior, Jeremy Wicker (Quantico, Va.). Branche’s 15-yard TD run early in the second quarter finished off a 13-play, 87-yard drive. Branche ran for 48 yards on that possession on five carries.

The Hornets cut the lead in half with 7:50 left in the second quarter as Anthony Glaud hit Justin Wilson for a 25-yard touchdown pass, culminating a 10-play, 68-yard drive.

But NSU stretched its lead back to two scores at 21-7 when Chris Walley (Tallahassee, Fla.) found Wicker on a 4-yard TD pass with 25 seconds left before the half. It was Wicker’s first TD since his freshman year of 2007.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Ryan Estep (Chesapeake, Va.) kicked a key 22-yard field goal with 4:54 remaining in the game to push the Spartans’ lead to 24-7.

DSU answered quickly, though, as Glaud marched his team 51 yards in five plays. He capped the drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Charednick Williams with 3:00 left in the game.

But Branche put the game out of the Hornets’ grasp when he took a 3rd-and-9 snap in Wildcat formation and dashed 40 yards untouched down the right sideline for his 10th score of the season, making it 31-14.

Glaud capped the scoring by finding Wilson on a 16-yard TD pass with 37 seconds left.

NSU ran the ball for a season-high 310 yards on 59 carries. NSU gained 459 total yards, its second straight game over the 450-yard mark.

Besides Branche, key contributions were made by a number of NSU’s 19 seniors. Donovan Cotton (Tampa, Fla.) rushed for a season-high 72 yards on 13 carries. Jamie Short (Virginia Beach, Va.) intercepted his first pass of the season to thwart one fourth-quarter drive in Spartan territory. Ray Jennings (Chesapeake, Va.) matched his career high with seven tackles, tying for team-high honors on the day. Two of Jennings’ tackles went for loss, including one sack. Sherron Childress (Hampton, Va.) had a season-high three receptions, though sophomore Reggie Garrett (Chesapeake, Va.) led with a game-high eight catches.

Glaud completed 20 of 36 passes for 289 yards. Wilson had seven catches for 92 yards and two scores, and Donnell Dixon had six catches for 97 yards.

The Spartans look to end the season with a winning record next week, when they step out of conference to face future MEAC member Savannah State. Kickoff is 2 p.m. in Savannah, Ga. A win would give NSU’s senior class 26 wins over the last four years, which would be the most since the 1985 class had 27. The Spartans are also seeking their second straight winning record, which would be a first in the school’s Division I era.


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