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ORANGEBURG, S.C. – North Carolina Central University overcame a double-digit second half deficit by scoring 21 unanswered points to capture a 21-17 road win over South Carolina State University on Saturday inside Oliver C. Dawson Bulldog Stadium.NCCU brandonsharp 112418NCCU's Brandon Sharp breaks away for a 31-yard touchdown catch-and-run
KeShawn Ennis photo

NCCU (5-6, 3-4 MEAC) had two red zone scoring chances in the first half, but the Eagles lost a fumble on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line and had a 23-yard field goal attempt blocked. The Eagles also lost two other fumbles before halftime and trailed 10-0 at the break.

NCCU redshirt-freshman quarterback Dominique Shoffner came off the bench to start the second half, and engineered three touchdown drives of more than 60 yards.

Near the end of the third quarter, Shoffner threw a strike to senior receiver Brandon Sharp, who raced down the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown and the Eagles’ first score on an 11-play, 80-yard drive.

NCCU took its first lead at 10:36 of the fourth quarter when Tyquan Watson ran 19 yards to the end zone to put the Eagles ahead 14-10. Less than four minutes later, Watson caught a screen pass and outran the Bulldogs down the sideline for a touchdown and a 21-10 cushion with 6:40 left to play.

S.C. State (5-6, 4-3 MEAC) responded with 30-yard touchdown connection from quarterback Tyrece Nick to receiver Quan Caldwell with 4:56 remaining.

The NCCU defense nailed down the victory by forcing a turnover - the third fumble recovery of the season by linebacker King Kiaku - and stopping the Bulldogs inches short of a first down on S.C. State’s final possession.

Shoffner finished with 153 passing yards and two touchdown tosses, while rushing for 33 yards. Watson accumulated 49 yards on the ground with a touchdown, and 44 yards receiving with another score.

Jerome Foster topped the NCCU defense with nine tackles, while Darius Royster recorded seven takedowns, including 4.0 hits for a loss with a sack. Senior Davanta Reynolds tallied five tackles and a fumble recovery.

~ NCCUEaglePride.com

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