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The Battle of the Bay: Norfolk State Comes Out on Top

There’s nothing like a good ole rivalry during college football season, and today was no exception. Many fans got to witness their favorite college football teams take on their rivals today, and one of those games included the Battle of the Bay. The Battle of the Bay is a well-known rivalry between Norfolk State University and Hampton University, two HBCUs located in the state of Virginia.


The rivalry between Norfolk State and Hampton dates all the way back to 1963, as both schools are in the Hampton Roads region of coastal Virginia. There has been a total of 57 games played between the two teams, with Norfolk State leading the all-time series 29-27-1.

Both schools were members of the MEAC Conference until Hampton announced that they would become a member of the Big South Conference in 2018. The most recent meeting took place on September 17, 2022, in which Hampton defeated Norfolk State 17-7.

Game Recap

Today was the 58th meeting between the two schools, and it would be Norfolk State that takes the win. The game was supposed to start at 6:00 but due to an inclement weather delay, kickoff would be pushed to 6:33. After a heartbreaking season-opening loss to Virginia State last week, they managed to get their first win of the season. And it was only fitting that they got their first win against their arch-rival on the road, winning 31-23.

Norfolk State QB Otto Kuhns had a better showing in this game. He finished with 15/20 completions, 199 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Running backs X’Zavion Evans and Mohamed Nyangamukenga would combine for 24 carries, 127 rushing yards, and one touchdown.

Kicker and punter Grandin Willcox kicked for 33 yards and made all of the team’s field goal attempts, which totaled up to seven points. 

The game started off close at first as both defenses failed to allow the other to score. Norfolk eventually got an early lead after scoring a touchdown. Hampton would finally score on a made field goal attempt, making the score 7-3. Hampton would then take a two-point lead after scoring a touchdown. 

Norfolk would then respond with another touchdown to regain the lead going into halftime. Once the second half began, the Spartans would expand their lead in the third quarter and never looked back. The Pirates would eventually respond with a touchdown, and it became a close game again. 

Norfolk State’s defense is what helped them win this game as they held Hampton QB Christofer Zellous to only 14/26 completions, 211 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. 

One of those interceptions came with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter as defensive back Joseph White came up with the interception, which would ultimately seal the win for the Spartans.

This game was more about who would respond better when faced with adversity, and that is precisely what Norfolk State did. When Hampton had the chance to cut the deficit even closer, the Spartans’ defense came through when it was supposed to. 

What’s Next

Norfolk State will continue their three-game road trip and head to Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls next Saturday. Norfolk will look to extend their winning streak while Temple will attempt to bounce back after losing 7-36 to Rutgers.

Hampton will begin a two-game road trip as they take on the Howard Bisons in Washington D.C. next Saturday. Hampton will look to bounce back while Howard will try to extend their winning streak after a 65-17 win against Morehouse.

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