Defending HBCU national champion North Carolina Central flexed its muscle over its former conference rival Winston-Salem State (WSSU) in a blistering nine-minute stretch on Saturday.
NCCU scored 27 points in the second quarter, including an 81-yard punt return by Brandon Codrington, to take a commanding half time lead and cruise to a solid 47-21 win over WSSU in front of better than 9,300 fans at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
WSSU managed to close the gap in the second half, outscoring NCCU 21-10 as the reigning MEAC co-champions rotated starters out on defense in the second half but kept Davius Richard and Latrell Collier on the field into the fourth quarter.
“We were a tale of two halves. We played well in the first half and returned a punt. And I thought defensively, offensively, all three phases, we played really well in the first half and then you get outscored in the second half. That’s unacceptable,” NCCU head coach Trei Oliver said after the game.
WSSU’s offense was held in check against NCCU’s first-team defense in the second half as it picked up just two first downs, but found success in the second half against players deeper in the depth chart. Freshman quarterback Daylin Lee threw for 189 yards, 113 of them to RJ Mobley who caught a game-high seven passes.
“But I don’t care whose point is the threes, the fours, whatever the case may be — they sat in the same meetings and lifted the same weights,” Oliver said. “So we’ve got to — whoever is on the field — has got to play.”
NCCU finished with 448 total yards of offense as Richard completed 15 of 22 passes for 236 yards and three scores, while rushing for 42 yards and a touchdown. Latrell Collier finished with 124 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in the win.
Winston-Salem State will look to build on its second-half performance next week when it travels to Columbus, OH to take on Ohio Dominican. North Carolina Central will travel down I-40 to take on arch-rival North Carolina Central.