Hudon-Bertrand earns more playing time for Hornets

Thomas Bertrand-Hudon

DOVER — Down nearly 30 points at halftime this weekend, Rod Milstead wanted to turn to some younger players in the second half to see what they can do.

Thomas Hudon-Bertrand answered the call.

The Delaware State running back posted a career game last Saturday and helped the Hornets to a strong second half. The redshirt freshman tallied a career-high 120 yards during a 52-30 defeat at Florida A&M as the Hornets dropped their seventh in a row to fall to 1-7.

Hudon-Bertrand is slated to continue to see more playing time as Delaware State hosts Bethune-Cookman in a MEAC contest at home on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Hudon-Bertrand, who redshirted last season, received 20 carries last week. He scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career before adding another as the Hornets attempted to rally in the second half.

“We’ve known what he could do since last season,” “Milstead said. We see it everyday in practice. Thomas was very patient, waited for his opportunity and when he got his opportunity he took advantage of it. He’s a very smart kid and very talented as he showed.”

Milstead said Hudon-Bertrand will see more action this week with the running back core of Richard Harris and Bryant Dallas.

“Going forward we’re going to have to put him in the rotation,” Milstead said.

Despite trailing 31-3 at halftime the Hornets came out and scored 27 points in the second half.

They were led by the two touchdowns from Hudon-Bertrand. Another freshman, Bizzett Woodley, caught a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Tylik Bethea.

Woodley moved into the team lead for touchdown receptions with five.

Senior defensive back Jahad Neibauer also added a touchdown on a 26-yard fumble recovery.

Milstead said he was proud of the way his team responded after being down to the first-place team in the MEAC.

“You’re down 31-3, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain at that point,” Milstead said. “We tried some different things and they started to work so we stayed with them.”

Plane not bus

Delaware State’s transportation to Florida A&M was a topic of conversation on the ESPN3 broadcast.

The Hornets elected to fly down to Tallahassee the same morning of the game and fly back immediately after.

Milstead defended the decision on Tuesday. Since the Hornets were able to charter a plane directly from Dover, Milstead said it was a simple decision, comparing the amount of travel time to when the Hornets bus to Howard or Morgan State.

It took Delaware State’s charter two hours and 10 minutes to reach Tallahassee from Dover.

“What’s the difference of us taking a two-hour drive across the Bay Bridge to get to D.C. and Baltimore or us taking a two-hour airbus to get to Tallahassee?” Milstead said. “It’s the exact same scenario. That’s the way I planned it, we’re going to hop in and hop out. A lot of teams do it.”

Delaware State had the same exact travel plans to Florida A&M twice before in its history.

The matter was complicated due to Florida State playing a home game against Miami the same weekend. Milstead said that made it difficult to find hotels in the area, the Hornets would have had to stay in Georgia if they went down on Friday night.

“I’m shocked a lot of people didn’t understand that,” Milstead said. “But understand, Florida State was playing Miami and there wasn’t a hotel room in Tallahassee. We had to stay way out in Georgia. I felt like it would be in the best interest for our guys that we make a business trip. Come in the day of and fly the day out.”

Flying down the day of the game had nothing to do with the Hornets’ performance Milstead said.

“I don’t think our travel had anything to do with the outcome of the football game,” Milstead said. “Our guys were still playing the same way in the fourth quarter. I’m curious, had we had won I guess every team in the country would start doing that. It’s nothing new to us, we have to live within our budget. That was definitely in our budget, to charter a flight from Dover and make it a one day trip.”

Snake-bit

Milstead has seen Saturday’s game a couple of times this year.

Where the Hornets have either a good quarter or a good half, but struggle the rest of the time.

“It’s kind of a snake-bitten season for us,” Milstead said. “We look good in spurts but sometimes we look like we need a lot of work.”

Despite the huge halftime deficit the Hornets were able to pull within 45-30, making it a two-possession game in the second half. But Florida A&M ended the contest by not allowing anymore points and shutting out DelState for the final 10:33.

Milstead hopes the Hornets can bring that momentum into the home game against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.

“We want to pick up where we left off,” Milstead said. “That’s not the first time this has happened to us. We’ve had good third and fourth quarters and just run out of time. We got to find a way when the ball is kicked off, we’re ready to play. We can’t wait to get down and try to come back. We’ve got to play four quarters the way we played the third quarter last week.”

Above all else, Milstead really wants to reward his seniors with another victory and end this seven-game losing streak.

“I’m very impatient, it’s not going as fast as I’d like it to go in terms of the wins,” Milstead said. “But our guys are working very, very hard. They’re giving everything they have. I told them that after the game. To play Florida A&M the way they played them, to not give up and to not be intimidated, it’s a good vibe going around Delaware State right now. We’ve got three more games and we’re going to go out and play these games as hard as we can play them.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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