DOVER — Each time there was hope for the Delaware State football team Saturday, it quickly disappeared.
A 14-point lead evaporated, interceptions and great field position were wiped out by penalties, then a potential go-ahead field goal was blocked.
It all led to Georgetown running back Joshua Stakely dragging multiple Hornet defenders with him over the goal-line for the game-winning touchdown. Stakely’s rush dealt the Hornets a 20-14 overtime loss as the Hoyas scored 20 unanswered points to drop Delaware State to a 1-1 record.
“This one hurts, it hurts bad,” said DSU coach Rod Milstead. “Penalties killed us and we hurt ourselves. We’ve got some maturing to do. We’ll learn from it and we’ll get out to practice again on Tuesday.”
Even after losing a 14-0 lead, the Hornets had plenty of chances to go back in front.
Esais Guthrie looked to have intercepted a pass for Delaware State in the fourth quarter to set up a potential go-ahead drive, but it was nullified due to an offside call. Georgetown was able to move into field goal range after the penalty, though the Hornets caught a break when Georgetown kicker Conor Hunt’s 35-yard attempt sailed wide left with 5:26 remaining.
Sy’Veon Wilkerson immediately ripped off a 26-yard run to bring the Hornets near midfield. Delaware State was unable to capitalize after three penalties — two false starts and a holding call.
The Hornets punted and the defense forced a Georgetown three-and-out, capped off by a sack from Isaiah Williams and Corey St. John. Delaware State’s chance to start a drive in Georgetown territory with less than a minute left was taken away when the Hornets committed a leaping infraction on the Hoyas punt.
The personal foul gifted the Hoyas a first down and a chance to run the clock out to take the game to overtime.
Delaware State finished the game with 10 penalties for 79 yards.
The Hornets had the ball first in overtime and failed to pick up a first down. Joe Delgado came on to kick his first field goal of his Delaware State career and it was blocked by the Georgetown line.
“Good snap, low kick,” Milstead said. “It’s Joe’s first time out there kicking. We’ve got to work on the area too. But it seemed like every aspect, special teams, offense and defense took time out and made mistakes. We have to grow as a football program and be more consistent.”
Georgetown ran just four plays to take the lead in overtime. Stakely was held to 18 yards rushing regulation but accounted for all 25 in overtime.
The Hornets let several things slip through their hands Saturday.
They were seeking their first 2-0 start to a season since defeating VMI and Shaw to begin 2011. They also were attempting to snap a 13-game losing streak vs. non-MEAC FCS opponents, which dates back to 2012.
All of that seemed within reach when Delaware State took the lead on a 11-yard touchdown rush by Wilkerson and a 14-yard touchdown pass by Tylik Bethea to Jerrish Halsey. The Hornet defense held Georgetown to just 12 first downs and only 48 yards rushing while forcing nine punts. Delaware State also out-gained the Hoyas 294-245.
But the Hornets were held scoreless for the final 39:38 of regulation, and their one possession in overtime.
“Too many letdowns,” Milstead said. “It’s tough. Too many mental mistakes, too many physical mistakes, too many mistakes.”
It was Georgetown’s first game in 658 days after sitting out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ... Milford High product David Bowman Jr. earned his first career interception for the Hornet defense. ... Bethea finished with 151 passing yards on 15-24 attempts with an interception. He missed the final two drives with an injury, Milstead said. Jared Lewis replaced him and completed two passes for seven yards. ... Wilkerson rushed for more than 90 yards for the second time in as many games with 98 yards on 19 carries. ... Georgetown quarterback Joseph Brunell threw a pair of touchdown passes. He is the son of former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell.