Carter, DSU set for rough football slate vs. W. Va., Fla. State

DOVER — Kenny Carter knows exactly what he’s getting into.

He’s the one who put this schedule together, after all.

So one year after getting crushed 79-0 by Missouri — a game in which 10 minutes were taken off the clock in the second half because it was so lopsided — the Delaware State football team is doubling down in 2017.

This year the Hornets are going to face two major-college programs.

On Sept. 16, DelState — which went 0-11 in 2016 — will play at West Virginia. Then, on Nov. 18, the Hornets will finish the season with a game at Florida State.

Kenny Carter

Both teams finished last year ranked in the top-20 in the national polls.

“I’m excited about it,” said Carter, who is entering his third season as DSU’s coach. “I like the way we have it structured. You always want to play up a level as much as you can. It doesn’t matter what our record was last year. We had a lot of young players who will be good players and this is a way to test them.”

But the opposing fan-bases aren’t exactly welcoming to the Hornets.

A Florida State fan-website, Chop Chat, ran an article recently with the headline “Could FSU Football’s Game vs. Delaware State be Worst in Program History?”

Some comments on FSU message boards question the team selection for what amounts as a tune-up game for the Seminoles, saying they were scraping the bottom of the barrel by selecting DelState.

West Virginia fan websites shared a similar viewpoint. One comment on the news release said games like Delaware State will only hurt the WVU program in the long run and another asking why, of all FCS teams, did the Mountaineers have to pick one who had the worst record in college football.

Of course, there are other factors at play for DSU’s schedule.

The Hornets are being paid $475,000 from Florida State and $500,000 from West Virginia, according to multiple reports.

“You have finances you have to take care of, too,” Carter said. “With us, you have to find other resources to fund your program. This benefits the entire athletic program because the money doesn’t come directly to only the football team.”

Traditionally, Delaware State has played at least one game a season against a FBS school. The Hornets received around the same amount of money from those schools as well.

DelState has also played at Kent State, Temple, Cincinnati and Michigan in recent years.

In 2009, the Hornets famously forfeited a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game against North Carolina A&T to play at Michigan, a game DSU lost 63-6 and was paid a guarantee of $500,000.

DelState couldn’t switch around its MEAC schedule to fit in the Michigan game. It needed to switch the original A&T date in order to play Michigan and A&T agreed to move the game to a month later, a day DSU was already slated to play Norfolk State.

Then Norfolk State had to agree to play DelState on an open date for both schools. But Norfolk State refused, meaning DSU had to forfeit the A&T contest.

The Hornets avoided a similar conflict this season with the Florida State game being so late in the season.

According to Carter, fellow MEAC teams Hampton, Norfolk State and Howard all agreed to move their games against the Hornets to accommodate this year’s schedule.

“They were very good to us and let us change things around,” Carter said.

Delaware State was able to land the matchup against Florida State because of Carter’s relationship with FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. Carter is familiar with the FSU staff from his time as an assistant coach at Florida.

Playing an FCS school late in the season has become a traditional thing for Florida State under Fisher. The Seminoles have played nine FCS schools since Fisher took over in 2010 and three of those teams are from the MEAC.

Carter is positive when addressing the schedule.

As someone who was an assistant coach in the SEC, Big 10 and ACC, he knows playing in these types of environments is what high school players dream about.

“When I was at Florida, my guys loved the pageantry of it all when we would play at FSU,” Carter said. “When Chief Osceola comes out at you and plants his spear in the middle of the field, shoot that’s one of the coolest things in college football.

“You want to experience that. You want to do things like that in your life because not a lot of people can be on that field. Thousands of kids want to be on that field so go out there and play your butt off.”

The Hornets can only hope these games against FBS competition go better than their trip to Missouri in 2016.

Carter is quick to point out DSU had some injuries that day and were starting a lineup rife with inexperience. At one point, eight of the 11 players on defense were true freshmen.

“You want to play against the best teams you can play against,” Carter said. “It’s hard to speculate what we’ll learn from that game yet because we haven’t started playing that season yet.

“Obviously we want to play better than we did against Missouri. It will be a different team next year and those guys will have some experience behind them. There’s a lot of really good things we’re looking forward to.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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