Late kickoff return dooms Hornets in 30-23 loss at North Carolina Central

The Delaware State football team has experienced its fair share of heartbreak on the road in recent years.

This one might be the toughest of them all.

Delaware State’s bid for its first road win in more than five years ended with a stunning 30-23 loss to North Carolina Central in a wild Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference battle at O’Riddick-Kelly Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Hornets’ losing streak moved to six games as they fell to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in the MEAC.

It is the 32nd consecutive road defeat for the Hornets, who last won on the road Oct. 11, 2014 at Norfolk State.

Delaware State looked to have tied the game and was awaiting overtime when Tylike Bethea converted a two-yard pass to Bizzett Woodley with 50 seconds left on fourth down. It complete a comeback and knotted things up at 23-23.

But the Eagles scored the winning touchdown on a 75-yard return by Brandon Codrington on the ensuing kickoff. The Hornets were kicking off from their 20-yard line after Woodley was flagged for an excessive celebration penalty after his touchdown.

Codrington fielded the DSU kickoff at the NCCU 25-yard line and avoided several would-be tacklers before breaking free for a touchdown with 38 seconds left to play.

There was still time for one more Delaware State possession. The Hornets then fielded a squib kick at the DSU 48 and quickly drove 27 yards to the Eagles’ 25-yard line, but a pass by Bethea was intercepted on the final play of the game.

The interception was the second of the game for the Eagles and the fourth Delaware State turnover of the contest.

Woodley led the Hornets with a pair of receiving touchdowns. Jose Romo-Martinez added three field goals, the longest from 45 yards, to account for the rest of the DSU scoring.

North Carolina Central held a 308-296 advantage in total yards. Delaware State passed for 178 yards and rushed for 118 in the contest.
Bethea completed 16-of-29 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns with the two interceptions.

Bryant Dallas had a game-high 88 yards rushing on 21 carries in the game for DSU.

Delaware State linebacker Antquan Kinsey led the team with a career-best 10 tackles (five solo) to tie for game-high honors. Kinsey also forced a fumble, which was recovered by fellow linebacker Brook Parker, while defensive back Charles Peeler had his first career interception in the game for the Hornets.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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