Short week: DSU visits defending MEAC champion N.C. A&T Thursday

DOVER — There isn’t much time for the Delaware State football team to dwell on Saturday’s tough defeat.

It only gets tougher from here.

The Hornets travel to play defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina A&T this week. To make matters worse, it’s a short turnaround for the Hornets.

The game is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

Second-year DSU coach Rod Milstead made sure his players were moving on from Saturday’s 24-9 disappointing home loss to Howard.

“The game is in the books,” Milstead said. “We can’t change it. We just need to make sure we’re prepared to play Thursday.”

DelState will have a different schedule this week to prepare for the Thursday contest.

The Hornets practiced Monday — typically their off day. They will instead have Friday as their rest day.

Delaware State has opened the season on a Thursday twice in the last three years, but this matchup will be their first Thursday game in the middle of the schedule since a visit to Morgan State on Oct. 25, 2012.

North Carolina A&T will have had an extra week of rest compared to DelState’s short week. The Aggies have been idle since defeating Charleston Southern on Sept. 14.

North Carolina A&T has won the last five meetings against the Hornets, including a 34-6 result in Dover a year ago. Delaware State last beat the Aggies in 2013.

The Aggies are 2-1 with the lone loss coming against Duke. Delaware State meanwhile is 1-2 with defeats to Howard and Delaware; the only win came against Division II Lincoln.

The Hornets struggled to move the ball against Howard, recording only 222 yards of total offense.

Milstead said Delaware State just looked out of sync all around after scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game.

“All three facets have to play together and play well together for four quarters,” Milstead said. “We still haven’t done that yet. Sometimes the offense looks good and the defense has problems. Sometimes the defense looks good and the offense is having problems, then you’ll have a special teams situation. As coaches we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and find a way to get our three units to play well for four quarters.”

The Hornets were also hampered by 13 penalties for 142 yards against Howard.

It was the second time in three games Delaware State tallied more than 100 penalty yards. The Hornets committed 11 penalties in the season-opening loss at Delaware for 108 yards.

The penalties are just another thing on Milstead’s list of what the Hornets need to work on this week.

“Penalties killed us again,” Milstead said. “That goes with maturity. We’ve got to find a way to overcome that.”

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