Hornet notebook: McDaniels regains starting quarterback job

Jack McDaniels

DOVER — It’s been another tumultuous season at the quarterback position for Delaware State.

Just when it looks like someone has stamped their claim to the starting spot, it gets thrown into a state of flux.

Jack McDaniels has emerged in recent weeks as DelState’s starter once again. He’s expected to start on Saturday as the Hornets (0-7) host North Carolina Central in their homecoming game at 2:05 p.m.

McDaniels began the season as DelState’s No. 1 QB, albeit during a rotation. Keenan Black ended up winning the job before an injury thrust McDaniel back into relief duty, but Black eventually became the starter again after DSU’s bye week.

But the Hornets have turned to McDaniels the last two weeks. Last week in a loss at South Carolina State, McDaniels started his first game since the second week of the season.

“Jack is a very good student of the game,” said DSU coach Rod Milstead. “He watches more film than probably any other player on our roster. He’s always in the offensive coordinator’s room, just trying to gain more knowledge of the game.”

McDaniels threw a career-high 217 yards at South Carolina State on 18-of-36 attempts. He tossed a pair of touchdowns but also had two interceptions.

He added another personal best by rushing for 53 yards in the contest.

Milstead said he was pleased about the improved offensive performance. The Hornets gained 410 yards offensively but had numerous turnovers.

“Still he made some critical mistakes communication-wise,” Milstead said. “But he’s growing. He’s a much better football player than he was at this time when he was a freshman. We’re looking for some big things from him this weekend.”

The Hornets out-gained South Carolina State but still came up short in their search for their first victory this year.

The two interceptions and a pair of blocked punts had something to do with that as the Hornets allowed 23 points in the second half to fall 30-19.

“We had a good week of practice, a good week of preparation,” Milstead said. “For the first two quarters we played a very good football game. We came out in the third quarter and had some turnovers which really hurts you. … There were 21 points off turnovers which really hurt our program. That’s something that we’ve been trying to overcome all year long. Our maturity hasn’t kicked in yet the way it should be.”

The main event

This will be Milstead’s first homecoming game since he took over the head coaching job and only the second game the Hornets have played at home this year.

When Milstead played at DelState in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he said he remembers homecoming had a different feel.

“The football game was the main event,” he said.

Milstead went on to say in the last 10 years he felt like the fellowship aspect of homecoming has been what people looked forward to the most. He knows a better football team will change that.

“I’m trying to reestablish that excitement,” Milstead said. “I told the guys with a victory we can do that. We definitely want to get a homecoming victory, we want that first victory. The guys realize we’re close to getting it.”

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