Norfolk, VA (Sports Network) - Hampton football coach Don Rose is headed to his native Norfolk on Saturday, but he laughs nobody will be giving him a homecoming.
He knows Norfolk State is not in the giving mood this season. The Spartans have surrendered the ball only three times this season, which is tied for the fewest turnovers in the FCS.
Not surprisingly, Norfolk State is off to a 5-1 start and sits atop the MEAC with a 3-0 conference record. That factor adds to the Spartans' 49th meeting with neighboring Hampton in the "Battle of the Bay" at Dick Price Stadium.
Hampton (3-2, 1-1) risks falling out of the MEAC title race if it doesn't pull an upset. The meeting features an excellent showdown of two of the conference's top quarterbacks, Hampton's David Legree and Norfolk State's Chris Walley. Each signal-caller went over 300 passing yards last weekend to set a career high.
"The conference standings, that's fine. And the rivalry, that's fine," Rose said. "You know it comes down to you've got two teams and there's only one that's going to come out victorous. The team that executes the best (in) the six inches between the ears will take care of that battle."
"These kids know each other real well," NSU coach Pete Adrian said. "They're together a lot in the offseason, even sometimes during the season. It's about bragging rights for both schools and it's always been a big football game. It's the fun part about college. You like to have these college rivalries."
Norfolk State holds a 24-23-1 series edge, but Hampton has won 11 of the 14 meetings since the Spartans moved to Division I in 1997. Hampton won last year's game, 7-6.
10/14 15:22:42 ET