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Spartans fall at Marshall in final MEAC tuneup

Spartans fall at Marshall in final MEAC tuneup  (photo courtesy of

Spartans fall at Marshall in final MEAC tuneup
(photo courtesy of

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Chase Litton passed for 270 yards and four touchdowns and Devon Johnson ran for 122 yards as Marshall topped Norfolk State 45-7 in the Spartans’ final non-conference game of the season on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

NSU (0-3) opened the game with a crisp 75-yard scoring drive, capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Greg Hankerson Jr. toGerard Johnson. But it was all Marshall (2-1) after that, as the Thundering Herd scored the game’s final 45 points en route to victory. The Thundering Herd were the third straight Division I FBS opponent to begin the year for NSU.

For the second time in three games this year, the Spartans took the game’s opening kickoff and drove for a touchdown. On the second play of the game, Hankerson found Johnson for a 40-yard pass play into Marshall territory. Those two would hook up on the seventh and final play of the drive as well for a 14-yard TD pass on 3rd-and-3, getting NSU on the board just 3:02 into the contest.

Marshall answered quickly with a 38-yard Nick Smith field goal, then took a 10-7 lead on Litton’s 13-yard TD pass to Deandre Reaves with four seconds left in the first quarter.

Reaves and Litton hooked up again early in the second, punctuating a quick six-play drive with a 36-yard touchdown hookup to extend the Herd’s lead to 17-7.

The Herd’s next drive went 83 yards in 13 plays and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Devon Johnson with 4:48 remaining in the second quarter.

Litton added an 11-yard TD pass to Davonte Allen and Keion Davis scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. A 25-yard Litton-to-Justin Hunt TD pass in the fourth quarter capped the scoring.

Hankerson passed for 95 yards and a touchdown in a little over three quarters of work. Johnson had a season-high 99 all-purpose yards (65 receiving, 34 rushing) and a score for the Spartans. Johnson and Isaac White had three receptions each.

Linebacker Deon King did yeoman’s work again on defense for the Spartans, tallying 21 tackles to match his career high from last week at ODU. The FCS leader in total tackles coming in became the first Spartan since Kevin Talley in 2004 to amass back-to-back 20-tackle games. Cornerback D’Metrius Williams made six tackles, one for loss, deflected two passes and forced a fumble. Fellow cornerback Sandy Chapman notched a fourth-quarter interception for the defense.

NSU will finally play its home opener next Saturday when the Spartans welcome rival Hampton to Dick Price Stadium for a 4 p.m. kickoff. The game will also be NSU’s MEAC opener.

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