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Norfolk State plays tough, can’t hang with Rutgers

The final score may not show it, but the Latrell Scott Era at Norfolk State got off to a solid start on Saturday. NSU played well in the first half, but ultimately fell 63-13 to Rutgers in its regular season opener.

Norfolk State surprised everyone by taking an early 7-0 lead over Rutgers when Greg Hankerson connected with DeAndre Sangster for a 16-yard touchdown pass. People were surprised for good reason–Norfolk State was scoreless in its first three matchups with Rutgers.

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Rutgers looked to be ready to run away with it in after rolling off 21 consecutive first half points before Norfolk State struck again, with Hankerson connecting with Torian Henderson for a 29-yard touchdown toss. NSU would miss the PAT and head into halftime down 21-13. 

That was about as good as it got for Norfolk State, as Janarion Grant’s 80 yard kickoff return marked the first of 32 unanswered points that would give Rutgers itsfinal margin of victory.

Hankerson’s quarterback play was a bright spot for the Spartans, as he completed 18 of 28 passes for 199 yards, two touchdowns and zero picks. The Spartans struggled on the ground against the bigger Scarlet Knights, rushing for a loss of three yards on 22 attempts.

NSU will return home to Norfolk next week, but will head across town to face rival Old Dominion in the second of three FBS games to start the season. 

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