Hornets fall to Howard 24-9 on homecoming

Kwannah Kollie gets under a long pass near the end zone on Delaware State’s first possession in Saturday’s homecoming game against Howard. He caught a touchdown pass several plays later. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — The Delaware State offense spent all day trying to rediscover what it had on the opening drive of the game.
The Hornets never found it.

Delaware State slumped to a 24-9 defeat on Homecoming Saturday as the Hornets fell to Howard in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams. Delaware State dropped to 1-2 (0-1 MEAC).

The Hornets gained 84 yards on nine plays to start off the contest with a 7-0 lead after the first drive. But they only recorded 138 yards of total offense the rest of the game.

“We didn’t find it back,” said Delaware State second-year coach Rod Milstead. “We couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. For some reason we weren’t hitting on all cylinders. All 11 guys weren’t doing the same things they did on the first drive.”

Devin Smith of Delaware State was flagged for interference while trying to break up a pass intended for Kyle Anthony of Howard.

Due to the Hornets’ difficulties moving the ball, the defense found itself facing many short fields. Howard was aided by two interceptions, a blocked punt and a failed fake punt which gave the Bison plenty of chances deep inside DSU territory.

The Hornet defense only surrendered 18 first downs, but Howard took advantage of all those short fields. Caylin Newton led the Bison with a pair of passing touchdowns and one on the ground.

Howard’s longest touchdown drive was 50 yards. The others were four, 17 and 31.

“Our whole mentality is bend, don’t break,” said DSU senior linebacker Brian Cavicante, who led the Hornets with 12 tackles. “No matter where you put the ball, our mentality is they’re not going to score. We gave up a couple scores but we got to watch the film and get better next week.”

Delaware State’s short-lived lead came on a three-yard pass by Tylik Bethea to Kwannah Kollie. The two had hooked up moments before on a 32-yard completion to bring the Hornets inside the Howard five-yard line.

Newton then converted on third-and-goal from the 24 on a touchdown pass to Michael Cornwell. The extra point was wide right but Howard scored just a few plays later as Ray Williams intercepted a Bethea pass and brought the ball back to the DSU four-yard line. Newton ran into the end zone on the next play.

Delaware State receiver Kwannah Kollie trying to get around a Howard defender in the first quarter of game Saturday.

“I’m kind of lost for words,” Milstead said. “Defensively, we played a good football game, we played a solid football game defensively. Offensively, we’re young across the board. It just wasn’t a good day offensively for us. We kept stalling out for some reason.”

The Hornets only other points the rest of the day came when Cavicante blocked an extra point and D’Andre Blue-Eli scooped up the ball, taking it all the way back the other way for two points.

Howard went 0-for-2 on its extra point tries and finished 0-for-2 on two-point conversion attempts.

Bethea, making his second start as a true freshman after junior Shayne Smith broke his thumb, ended the game with 123 yards passing and went 11-of-32 on his attempts.

“You’re talking about a freshman starting a big homecoming game and he’s probably never seen a crowd like this and all the festivities all week long,” Milstead said. “Things are coming new and fast. … It was tough for him today. He took some shots, he knows what it’s like to get hit in a Division I football game. He took some hits and I don’t think he liked it. He’s got some bumps and bruises.”

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