Hornets run out of time, suffer 34-21 home loss to Monmouth

DOVER — Delaware State spent most of Saturday failing to reward its improved defensive effort.

Finally, the points started showing up on the board and what was once a Monmouth blowout was a one-possession game in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets ran out of time, though, as Monmouth reasserted its stranglehold on this nonconference contest for a 34-21 defeat of Delaware State on Saturday evening.

DelState (0-2) was in too large of a hole, trailing 27-0 until the four-minute mark of the third quarter.

“We didn’t execute a lot of the plays properly,” said sophomore running back Brycen Alleyne. “It came, it just came too late.”

Monmouth (2-0) could have been up by a much larger margin if not for the play of the Hornet defense.

A week after giving up 56 points and 395 rushing yards to Delaware, DelState buckled down on Saturday. The Hornets were able to get off the field by stopping Monmouth on third down 12-of-19 teams, even with having to defend poor field position thanks to a pair of blocked punts by the Hawks.

And they made plays when they needed to as well.

During a span when the Hornets scored 20 unanswered points, the defense forced back-to-back three and outs. The second time led to a blocked punt by Kameron Rogers which was scooped up by Brock Nichols for a touchdown to make it 27-20.

“We definitely took a big step,” said linebacker Malik Harris who led all Hornets with 14 tackles. “There’s a lot of young guys on defense and we took a big step from what we did against UD. We were much more physical at the line of scrimmage.”

The Monmouth lead could have been larger, but the Hornets held the Hawks to field goal instead of touchdowns in the red zone, Monmouth also missed a pair of those field goals attempts.

“They did a really good job of holding their own and not letting them score in the red zone,” said second-year DSU coach Kenny Carter. “We did a much better job against the run for the most part.”

Alleyne got the rally started when he broke free down the left side and race untouched 64 yards. The next time the Hornets got the ball, Dan Epperson found a wide open Jerimiah Williams behind the Monmouth secondary for a 46-yard touchdown catch.

After the blocked punt for a touchdown, the Hawks held onto the ball by converting twice on fourth down. They doubled their lead on a touchdown rush by Ed Royds from four yards out.

Epperson threw an interception on the next drive to seal DelState’s fate. Epperson, who again split time with Kobie Lain at quarterback, was 3-of-7 for 77 yards. Lain, who got the start, completed 6-of-12 passes but for only 20 yards.

“I was proud of our team for being able to come back in the game but we made too many mistakes early,” Carter said. “We had penalties that allowed them to sustain drives and when you do that, you’re in a bad situation.”

Royds rushed for a pair of touchdowns to pace Monmouth while Reggie White Jr. had 11 catches for 129 yards for the Hawks, both career-highs.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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