Error-prone Hornets fall to South Carolina State 13-7

By Jason Bowen
Posted 10/23/21

DOVER — In football, there is often one play that can typically turn the outcome of a game.

On Saturday afternoon in front of a homecoming crowd at Alumni Stadium, Delaware State University …

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Error-prone Hornets fall to South Carolina State 13-7

Posted

DOVER — In football, there is often one play that can typically turn the outcome of a game.

On Saturday afternoon in front of a homecoming crowd at Alumni Stadium, Delaware State University left the field still searching for that play in a frustrating 13-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference loss to South Carolina State (3-4, 2-0) The defeat, in their MEAC opener, dropped the Hornets to 3-4.

“We left a lot of plays on the table.” Delaware State coach Rod Milstead said. “We expected our playmakers to make them. Unfortunately we had some dropped passes, we had missed assignments. All in all it wasn’t DelState football.”

Whether it was a dropped pass, a penalty or a turnover, just when it seemed like the Hornets would take control of the game, they would shoot themselves in the foot.

“We were below the line today. There is a standard around here and we have to do better.” Milstead said. “ I gotta coach better. I gotta put more pressure on my coaches to get it done.”

In the first quarter, there were holding penalties that wiped a long run and a kickoff return that put the Hornets inside the South Carolina State 10-yard line. A fumble on a sack of quarterback Jared Lewis led to a 24-yard field goal.

Then in the second quarter, there was a dropped Lewis pass on fourth-and-three inside Bulldog territory with 11:03 until half. This was followed by a 28-yard field goal attempt by Jake Bridel that clanged off the right upright. That came with just 44 seconds left.

But perhaps the most painful miscue came about 10 minutes to go in the game with Delaware State trailing by six. Lewis rolled to his right, looked left and found Wade Inge running free down the sideline. Inge couldn’t come up with the catch.

It was the type of call play you save for a critical moment. A possession that could have given the Hornets the lead ended two plays later with a punt.

“We practiced it all week long,” Milstead said. “We drew it up, we talked about it. If he catches the ball it’s a touchdown. He walks into the end zone. We had a good game plan. Our players have to execute. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

Trailing 13-0 at the half, the Hornets got a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown by Charles Peeler to get them back in the game.

“I just tell my guys, give me two seconds” Peeler said. “I just put my trust in them. All 10 of those guys were blocking for me.”

Delaware State threatened to score early in the fourth quarter after a 46-yard pass play from Lewis to Devin Curry put the Hornets inside the Bulldog 30. But they made no headway and turned the ball over on downs four plays later.

“It wasn’t a good offensive day — 244 yards is not good enough,” Milstead said.

The Hornet defense limited South Carolina State to 235 yards, just 27 on the ground.

The Bulldogs scored the game’s lone offensive touchdown with 4:37 to go before the half. Jacory Benson ran in from three yards out to give South Carolina State a 13-0 lead.
Sophomore Shaquan Davis set up the score with a 50-yard reception from Corey Fields. The 6-foot-5 receiver topped all
receivers with 114 yards on four catches.
South Carolina State ran out most of the clock in the fourth quarter after taking over with 8:24 left. After failing to
convert their first 11 third down opportunities, Fields and the Bulldogs converted three in a row to drive into Hornet territory. Facing another third down with just over two minutes to play, Davis drew a pass interference penalty and South Carolina State took a knee three times before punting it back to the Hornets with 0:34 left.

Lewis completed a pass to Kwannah Kollie just short of midfield, but the Hornets moved no farther. Kollie led Hornet receivers with six catches for 53 yards and added 22 rushing yards.

Hornet freshman Sy’veon Wilkerson entered the game leading the MEAC in rushing yards and tallied 96 yards on 25 carries. He did most of his damage in the first half as the Bulldog defense limited him to -1 yard on six runs in the second.

Despite the loss, Milstead feels the program is making progress.

“We fought hard, we didn’t quit,” he said. “We are still a young team, the majority of the team is freshman and sophomores. We only have five seniors. We’ll be better. We’ll learn from it. The program is maturing, it’s getting better.“We just have to take care of our next game, this one is in the rear view mirror.”

Delaware State will host Howard at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Alumni Stadium.