Penalties cost DSU in 17-7 loss to Norfolk

DSU’s quarterback Jack McDaniels jumps to complete a first down in the second quarter against Norfolk at DSU on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Almost every time Delaware State thought it had gotten back into the game, there was a yellow piece of laundry on the field erasing that hope.

A few costly penalties derailed the Hornets’ comeback hopes and extended their losing streak to 15 games — the highest current streak in Division I football.

Delaware State dropped a MEAC contest 17-7 to Norfolk State on Saturday afternoon. The Hornets fell to 0-4 as they enter their bye week.

The Hornets had a pair of touchdowns taken off the board because of penalties. They also had a key interception nullified because of an offside call.

DSU’s Issiah Small reaches to tackle Norfolk’s Taylor Goettie at DSU on Saturday.

The interception was a one-handed grab by Keyjuan Selby early in the fourth quarter when Norfolk State was leading 10-7. Selby returned it deep into Norfolk State territory, but it didn’t matter once the referees announced the offside call.

“It hurts, flags killed us all day,” Selby said. “We had two touchdowns taken away and my interception. Plays like that can switch the game up for us but the flags killed us.”

The Hornets also missed out on a 78-yard kick return touchdown by Brycen Alleyne. Alleyne looked to have an immediate response after Norfolk State went up 10-0 in the third quarter but the play was called back because of a block in the back.

DSU’s Nyfease West leaps over a Norfolk defender at DSU on Saturday.

DSU’s Caleb Hebron chases Norfolk’s QB Juwan Carter in the second quarter at DSU on Saturday.

“It gave us a little bit of juice, then you find out you got the flag,” Alleyne said. “We definitely felt like this was one of the games that we’re not the same DSU we were last year. I still believe we’re not the same as last year, but the score shows differently.”

The other touchdown taken away was an 18-yard pass by Jack McDaniels to Jordan Hannah due to an illegal formation call. Delaware State was in such a good position to score because of a blocked punt by Caleb Hebron.

The Hornets were able to regroup on that drive, though. They scored the lone touchdown when they went for it on fourth-and-short thanks to a two-yard run by Nyfease West.

After Wisdom Nzidee’s extra point, the Hornets cut Norfolk State’s advantage to 10-7 with 14:51 left. They then thought they had a chance to go ahead when Selby picked off the pass until the offside call.

DSU’s head coach Kenny Carter at DSU on Saturday.

“That was disappointing, what it does is we had a chance to get good field position,” said DSU coach Kenny Carter. “That’s a possession missed because someone was undisciplined.”

Norfolk State was paced by a pair of second half passing touchdowns by freshman quarterback Juwan Carter. Both were to Chuma Awanna — the first went for eight yards and the second was for 16 yards.

The Hornets turned the ball over three times, all interceptions by freshman quarterback McDaniels, who finished with 156 passing yards on 16-of-30 attempts.

Delaware State had one final chance to get back into the game when it entered the red zone in the final five minutes. But Norfolk State’s Bobby Price intercepted McDaniels in the end zone with 4:50 remaining.

“First of all you can’t turn the ball over, then we had too many penalties,” Carter said. “The expectation level was very high but you cannot turn the ball over and make mistakes like that.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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