DOVER — Delaware State gave fans a glimpse into what might be in the future.
But Saturday still served as a reminder that the present isn’t a pretty picture.
All of the Hornets’ touchdowns were scored by freshmen as they fell to Bethune-Cookman 49-21 in a MidEastern Athletic Conference football battle on Saturday afternoon. DelState dropped to 0-8 overall and 0-5 in the MEAC as first-year coach Kenny Carter is still searching for the first victory of his career.
Brycen Alleyne scored a rushing and receiving touchdown and Logan Wescott, a Woodbridge High product, returned a blocked field goal for a score.
But the Hornets were plagued by special teams miscues, a sluggish offense and a defense that struggled to stop the run.
“We still have the moments where it feels like nothing is happening or we kind of shut down for a bit,” Alleyne said. “We still know our potential, though. Every team is going to go through these moments but we have to know we can make explosive plays.”
One positive for the Hornets was they led for the first time all season.
Gabe Sherrod tore through the line to block a field goal attempt on Bethune-Cookman’s first drive of the game. Wescott scooped it up and ran 82 yards for the first touchdown of his career.
“I just wrapped around the end and it bounced right into my hands,” Wescott said. “I really don’t have the words for it.”
It put Delaware State up 7-0 in the first quarter but the Wildcats answered with five consecutive touchdowns for a 35-7 lead in the third quarter.
Bethune-Cookman rushed for 353 yards as a team led by 141 from Larry Brihm, who scored twice. Quentin Williams, Anthony Jordan, Cary White and M.D. Jones added rushing touchdowns for the Wildcats (7-2,5-1).
The closest the Hornets got in the second half was after a 14-yard touchdown catch by Alleyne from Gilbert Rivera to make it 35-21 at the start of the fourth quarter. DelState was able to force a Bethune-Cookman punt on the next drive.
The Hornets weren’t able to capitalize, as Rivera’s pass to freshman Tarron Selby was dropped at the first down marker. The Hornets were short-handed at wide receiver with Kamal Abrams sidelined for the game with an injury and Aris Scott who had to be pulled after he got hurt in the second quarter.
Rivera also had a pass dropped that could have been a touchdown two drives later by Morris Fraiser.
“We had two drops that were significant,” Carter said. “One was a freshman and one was a senior. Selby was too worried about scoring, which he probably would have because he had nothing but green grass. Then the other one Morris probably would’ve scored but the kid got it out of his hands. You’ve got to have strong hands and make that catch.”
DelState forced another punt after the Selby drop but it was fumbled by Malik Golson and the Wildcats recovered at the DSU five. Bethune-Cookman punched it in a few plays later.
The Wildcats scored six of the seven times they went into the red zone. The one time they didn’t was on the blocked field goal.
Delaware State failed to score on two of its red zone trips.
“We have to capitalize,” Carter said. “We’ve got to score in the red zone.”
“There’s no excuse for why we can’t put it in the box,” Rivera said.
The Hornets also gave up a blocked field goal of its own and a tipped punt.
Rivera, starting his third-straight game since Esayah Obado was injured, threw for 96 yards on 7-of-17 passing but was sacked five times.
“What Gil does when he has breakdowns in protection is he’s trying to be creative,” Carter said. “He’s courageous and instead of checking it down he wants to throw it down the field. Some of that is on him but we got bull-rushed sometimes. I’ll give the kid credit. He’s really trying to create. It takes a lot of courage to do that at that position.”