Hornets get first win 28-13 over NC Central

Brycen Alleyne

DOVER — With Delaware State trying to bleed the clock, the offensive formation the Hornets came out in called for Brycen Alleyne to be on the bench.

But first-year coach Rod Milstead made an executive decision.

“Something just told me, it’s Brycen’s last Homecoming, I need to put him in there,” Milstead said. “We had to give it to the guy with the most experience. We ran two plays up the middle and saw them loading the box up. We knew if he got to the edge, he had to make one guy miss.”

Alleyne made everyone miss as the senior running back raced 76 yards for a touchdown to seal a Homecoming victory for the Hornets late in the fourth quarter.

DelState won its first game of the season and gave Milstead the first win of his career with a 28-13 victory over North Carolina Central on Saturday. The Hornets moved to 1-7 overall and 1-4 in the MEAC.

The Hornets were in control from the beginning after Jack McDaniels threw a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter. They led by double-digits for most of the contest until North Carolina Central cut it to 21-13 with 6:01 left.

Rod Milstead

That’s when Alleyne converted on third-and-long to set off a wild celebration on the DSU sideline.

“It was just really exciting,” Alleyne said. “We always say, ‘Chop the wood.’ Every week we’ve been chopping and chopping. That tree finally fell down.”

Freshman Michael Chris-Ike also scored a rushing touchdown for the Hornets. Chris-Ike shrugged off a tackler and raced 42 yards to give DelState a 21-7 lead into halftime.

Chris-Ike was the running back scheduled to be on the field before Milstead sent Alleyne out for the final touchdown.

The two combined for more than 250 yards. Chris-Ike had 127 yards on 21 carries while Alleyne recorded 122 yards on 16 carries.

“Homecoming had a big part to play in us focusing up and playing our best,” Chris-Ike said. “Our coaches have been encouraging us and showing us how to win. It feels great to win on homecoming. Everything went well for us.”

McDaniels started and played the full game at quarterback for the second-straight week.

The sophomore has won back the starting QB job and finished with 102 yards on 10-of-19 passing. He threw a five-yard touchdown to tight end Isiah Williams on the first drive before a 27-yard touchdown to Kwannah Kollie for the early 14-0 lead.

“It was crucial because we’ve been getting behind in a majority of our games which hurts the team morale,” McDaniels said. “To get ahead early gave us momentum and I think that carried over to the defense as well.”

“You could tell going into halftime this game was ours,” McDaniels said. “We just had to finish it.”

While Milstead would have liked to earn his first victory a little sooner, he couldn’t think of a better time to get it than Homecoming.

As one of the most famous alums in DelState history, Milstead spent all week talking about how he wants the alumni reengaged with the football program.

“That’s the deal,” Milstead said. “Homecoming is for the alumni and the game is the main event. Everybody came out to see the new-look Hornets and we gave them a show.

And for a team who had only three victories in the last three seasons entering 2018, it hopes this is a sign the struggles are near over.

“At the end of the day we showed we can do it,” Alleyne said. “It’s been done before and we did it tonight. This shouldn’t be our only win for the season. This shouldn’t determine the rest of our season. We know we can keep fighting and play really good football.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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