Hornets aim to snap skid vs. Merrimack

DOVER — Looking to stabilize its season, the Delaware State football team welcomes an unfamiliar opponent to Dover this weekend.

The Hornets square off against Merrimack, a program in its first year at the Division I level, at 2 p.m.. Both teams have not defeated a Division I team this season.

Second-year DSU coach Rod Milstead didn’t waste words about how important this contest is for the Hornets.

“It’s a big game for us that we need to win,” Milstead said. “It’s a great opportunity for our guys to come back together, regroup and showcase some talent on Saturday.”

The Hornets (1-5 overall) enter the matchup on a four-game losing streak.

“We’re in a slump right now,” Milstead said. “We got to find a way to dig out of this slump and get us a win, a needed win.”

The nonconference game gives the Hornets a break from their so-far unsuccessful Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference campaign.

Delaware State is 0-4 in conference play. The Hornets fell 34-3 last week to Morgan State, giving the Bears their first victory of the season.

The Hornets are the only winless team remaining in the MEAC.

The road struggles continued for Delaware State last week. It was the 31st consecutive road loss for the Hornets who have not won on the road since at Norfolk State in 2014.

“Morgan came out and played a complete football game,” Milstead said of last weekend’s contest. “We struggled in the beginning and that struggle continued for four quarters. We really got to put together four quarters of football, complete football. We haven’t done that this season but one time.”

Delaware State’s only win this season came in the third week of the season against Division II opponent Lincoln. Merrimack meanwhile is 2-4 overall with its two victories coming against Virginia Lynchburg and Mayville State.

The Warriors enter the weekend on a two-game losing streak but Milstead warned that they’re getting closer and closer to earning that first victory as a Division I school. Merrimack fell only 24-17 last week against Bryant.

“I know they’re starting their way in FCS but they’ve put together a well-equipped football team,” Milstead said. “They’re smart, they don’t make mistakes and they’re playing very, very hard.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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