With bye week over, banged-up Hornets eye A&T

DSU head coach Kenny Carter (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Usually after a disappointing loss, Kenny Carter wants to get right back out on the field.

But considering the current health of the Delaware State football team, the Hornets’ coach was just fine with a week off.

The banged-up Hornets (0-2 MEAC, 0-4 overall) had a week to heal up before their next game, Saturday at North Carolina A&T (1 p.m.).

DelState’s offensive line has been bitten by the injury bug the most. DelState is without starting sophomore center Cade Pedro, while left tackle Joshua Fala has been dealing with a high ankle sprain and missed time in a home loss to Norfolk State two Saturdays ago.

The biggest injury is linebacker Malik Harris, DelState’s lone senior starter on offense and defense who left the Norfolk State game with a knee injury.
He’s been on crutches since the game and the Hornets staff is fearful he might not be able to return this season.

“Anytime is good for a bye week but this week is even better just because all of our injuries,” Carter said. “Those injuries are a part of football. The next man has to step up and we’ve got to accept those injuries if they’re serious. We’ve got to be able to put it all together and get a win.”

While the injuries piled up against Norfolk State, the Hornets still let a chance to end their losing streak slip away.

Instead DelState dropped its 15th contest in a row. The Hornets now have the longest losing streak in all of Division I.

Carter admits it’s impossible to not let frustration set in. But he’s also quick to point out DSU was starting four freshmen on the offensive line, three freshmen wide receivers and a freshman quarterback against Norfolk State.

“We’re young and the expectation level is very high,” Carter said. “Everybody is very hopeful and I am too. We’ve got to find a way to grind through this. The emotions get involved because that’s human nature. Anytime you lose something there’s negativity that will creep in. But we’re going to do everything we can do to keep fighting,”

For junior running back Brycen Alleyne, one of the team’s captains, the bye week came at a time for the players to clear their minds and focus back on the fundamentals.

“This is a time to reset,” Alleyne said. “We know how we can play, we just go to see where everybody’s heads are at. We’ve got to get together and regroup because we have some more important conference games.”

Alleyne blamed a slow start and key penalties for the 17-7 defeat to Norfolk State. That was a game the Hornets expected to win, he said, especially after an encouraging performance the week prior at FBS West Virginia.

But the Hornets only scored once against Norfolk State, while they had two touchdowns called back due to penalties and an potential game-changing interception by Keyjuan Selby wiped out thanks to another flag. Alleyne had one of the touchdowns that was waved off on a kick return where the Hornets were whistled for a block in the back.

While the disappointment of not snapping the losing streak was evident after their last game, the Hornets know they have seven more chances to get back into the win column this season.

“We can’t let that game determine the rest of our season,” Selby said. “We’ve got to come to practice every day to work hard to turn this around. We’ve just got to always come to play.”

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