Hornets shock MEAC foe Bethune-Cookman 16-13

DOVER — Tristan Murrin wrapped his arms around Bethune-Cookman quarterback Akevious Williams’ legs and held on for dear life.
Murrin had a chance to end numerous Delaware State losing streaks and was not about to let go.

On fourth-and-short Murrin stopped Williams from being able to run. The quarterback threw up a desperation pass and DSU cornerback Jawain Granger batted it out of the air.

Finally, the Hornets could celebrate.

Murrin’s fourth-down stop led Delaware State’s best defensive effort of the season in a stunning 16-13 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday afternoon in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup. It snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Hornets, who improved to 2-8 overall and 1-6 in MEAC play.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said DSU second-year coach Rod Milstead. “These guys have practiced so hard every week putting in the work. We practice to win and unfortunately it wasn’t happening. We would be close and then something would go wrong. But I challenged our guys to play four full quarters and they did it while playing as hard as they possibly could.”

Bethune-Cookman was 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the MEAC entering the contest. The Hornets played spoiler, ensuring Bethune-Cookman stayed tied with North Carolina A&T for the conference’s bid to the Celebration Bowl.

It was Delaware State’s first victory against a Division I opponent this year. The Hornets’ only other win was against Division II Lincoln in their second game of the season.

“I was acting like I was going to play coverage,” Murrin said of the final defensive play. “I knew I had to get to the quarterback because it didn’t look like he was going to hand it off. We had to stop them and we did. It’s a great day to be a Hornet.”

Saturday’s win also ended a six-game losing streak for the Hornets against Bethune-Cookman. The last time Delaware State defeated the Wildcats was in 2008.

The Hornets got touchdowns from running back Thomas Bertrand-Hudon and receiver Bizzett Woodley.

Woodley’s touchdown was one of the most impressive plays Milstead said he’s seen this season on a pass by freshman quarterback Tylik Bethea.

He was covered on the sideline before he reached up with one hand to snag the ball over his head. Woodley managed to stay inbounds while falling into the end zone, cradling the ball onto his chest.

“Coach always says catch it with two unless you know you can get it with one,” Woodley said. “I knew I had to catch it somehow.”

“Since this was an ESPN game that should be on the Top-10 plays tonight on Sportscenter,” Milstead said. “It really should be. He’s a phenomenal talent, a receiver with great hands.”

It gave Delaware State a 7-0 lead with 7:02 left in the first quarter. The Hornets added to the lead when Devin Smith chased Williams down in the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 advantage.

Bertrand-Hudon finished the scoring for the DSU offense on a 10-yard touchdown rush with 5:40 left in the second quarter.

He was getting his first start due to injuries to Richard Harris and Bryant Dallas and posted a career-high 133 rushing yards on 36 carries — tying the school record for most carries in a game.

“We needed the tough yards and he’s the guy to do that.” Milstead said.

“That’s football for me,” Bertrand-Hudon said. “I’ve been playing that type of football since I was a kid. My O-line blocked well for me today, gave me a couple of opportunities and I took them. This is a special feeling.”

Kamari Jackson paced the Delaware State defense with a game-high 11 tackles. DSU stopped Bethune-Cookman three times on fourth down, including twice in the fourth quarter.

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