Undefeated Hampton meets winless Norfolk in Bay Battle

Fred Jeter | 9/15/2022, 6 p.m.
Hampton University’s Pirates couldn’t feel much higher.

Hampton University’s Pirates couldn’t feel much higher.

Norfolk State’s Spartans couldn’t feel much lower.

The highs and lows will collide Saturday when the HBCU across-the-pond rivals kickoff at 2 p.m. at NSU’s Dick Price Stadium. The classic billed as “The Battle of the Bay” will be televised on ESPN+.

Hampton, in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association, is 2-0 with victories over Howard and Tuskegee.

Norfolk State of the MEAC is 0-2 with a 55-3 loss at Marshall and a 63-7 loss Sept. 10 at James Madison.

In a series dating to 1963, NSU holds a 29- 26-1 all-time lead. The Spartans have won four of the last five, including a 47-44 thriller last season at Hampton.

The schools were longtime combatants in the CIAA and then the MEAC until Hampton broke away, first to the Big South Conference and now to the CAA.

Despite the different conference affilia- tions, the schools are still just 26 minutes apart across the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

If NSU wants to break into the win column, it must contend with Hampton’s “Killer B’s,” Elijah Burris and Jadakis Bonds.

In routing Tuskegee before 6,512 fans at Armstrong Stadium, Burris ran 14 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Bonds caught five passes for 122 yards and two TDs, including a 49-yarder.

Much to NSU’s credit, both of its early losses were to FBS foes, a peg higher than the Spartans’ FCS. Saturday marks NSU’s first shot at an opponent “in the same weight class.”

The trip to Harrisonburg wasn’t a total loss for NSU.

Da’Quan Felton beat the JMU secondary for three catches worth 141 yards and there was a dynamic 90-yard reception from Otto Kuhns, a transfer from Eastern Illinois.

Felton is a sophomore from Portsmouth’s Churchland High. Felton is coming off a solid freshman season in which he caught 28 passes for 492 yards and two TDs.