DSU prepares for FBS opponent Kent State

Delaware State University first-year head coach Kenny Carter leads his players onto the field for the Hornets’ football season opener at Liberty Saturday night. DSU fell to the host Flames 32-13. (DSU submitted photo/Courtesy of David Duncan)

Delaware State University first-year head coach Kenny Carter leads his players onto the field for the Hornets’ football season opener at Liberty Saturday night. DSU fell to the host Flames 32-13. (DSU submitted photo/Courtesy of David Duncan)

DOVER — The last time Delaware State University played a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision, things didn’t go so well.

That was a 59-0 loss to Temple last season.

The Hornets are determined to not suffer the same fate this weekend when they travel to play Kent State of the Mid-American Conference on Saturday at 6 p.m.

“That atmosphere, that stage won’t rattle us this time,” said junior defensive end Gabe Sherrod. “We’ll be ready to go.”

First things first, though, DelState needs to make sure its starting quarterback is healthy enough to play.

Esayah Obado was held out of practice on Wednesday due to soreness. Obado, who missed all of 2014 with an injury, took a lot of hard hits during last week’s season opening 32-13 loss at Liberty.

“We’re trying to make sure we get him healthy,” said first-year coach Kenny Carter. “He got tattooed a bit. Quite frankly, we also have to develop our No. 2 and No. 3. [Obado] knows what’s going on with the plan. It’s a decision we made with our staff and we think we’re going to benefit from it.”

If Obado doesn’t heal in time, the Hornets have two options to replace him.

Freshman Kobie Lain was listed as No. 2 on the depth chart for the opener at Liberty, but Gilbert Rivera has the most college experience, starting five games last year with the Hornets and appearing in 10.

Obado went 16-of-27 for 227 yards with two interceptions and rushed for a touchdown last Saturday.

Defensively the Hornets did give up 32 points to the No. 14 ranked team in FCS, but considering the competition and the fact that the Hornets gave up 40 points or more four times last year under the old staff, it’s being looked at as a step in the right direction.

“The difference from last year is the mistakes are things we can control,” Sherrod said. “Those are things we can fix. We didn’t get out-schemed or out-coached. The things we messed up on, we messed up ourselves.”

The next step is to put the new system to the test against the Golden Flashes and Carter thinks his guys will be fired up after starting the season with a defeat.

“We’re 0-1 right now so every game we’re going in with a chip on our shoulder,” he said.

Carter pointed to FCS South Dakota State beating FBS Kansas and FCS Portland State beating FBS Washington State last week as even more motivation for the Hornets.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Carter said. “You’re playing a MAC school which gives you an opportunity to showcase what you can do as a program. Look at South Dakota State. North Dakota State does it every year. Every week there’s an FCS school that has a chance to beat an FBS school. We feel like if we go and play well we’ll have a chance.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.