Greensboro, N.C. (Oct. 15, 2011) --- Delaware State cut a 28-point deficit to 11 before running out of steam in a 42-24 loss to North Carolina A&T in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contest before more than 20,000 homecoming fans at Aggie Stadium this afternoon.
The Hornets dropped their fifth straight game to fall to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the MEAC. The Aggies won their third straight to improve to 4-2 and 3-0.
North Carolina A&T scored touchdowns after two DSU turnovers en route to a 28-0 second quarter lead. Delaware State's Mitchell Ward kicked a 25-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter to cut the Aggies' lead to 28-3 at the half.
The Hornets pulled closer when Josh Bailey capped off a 12-play, 68-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 8:05 left in the third quarter. It was Bailey's first career touchdown with the Hornets. Ward's extra point kick cut the Aggies' lead to 28-10.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ward recovered his own onside kick to give Delaware State the ball at its 41-yard line. Five plays later, the Hornets cut deeper into the Aggies' lead when Nick Elko connected with Travis Tarpley on a 42-yard touchdown pass. The extra point kick by Ward cut DSU's deficit to 28-17 with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
North Carolina A&T answered with a 69-yard touchdown drive to stretch its lead and stave off the Hornets' momentum. Larry Raper capped off the drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Lewis Kindle to give the Aggies a 35-17 lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Raper and Kindle connected for their third touchdown pass of the game to give the Aggies a 42-17 lead with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. Raper had five catches for 109 yards and the three scores. Kindle connected on 13-of-20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns. North Carolina A&T's Mike Mayhew, the MEAC's leading rusher entering the contest, ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
Delaware State's Jaashawn Jones closed out the scoring on a one-yard touchdown run with 6:31 left to play.
"We are not into moral victories," said Delaware State first-year head coach Kermit Blount. "While I was pleased that we continued to fight after falling behind by 28 points, I was very disappointed that we played so poorly to allow ourselves to get into such a big hole."
The Hornets totaled 358 yards in the contest, their second-best offensive output of the season.
Elko completed 30-of-50 passes for 319 yards and a touchdown. It was the second 300-yard game of his career, each coming in the last two weeks.
Tarpley had career-highs of nine catches for 121 yards.
Quentin Ferguson lead the Hornets with nine tackles (6 solo), while fellow linebacker Brandon Harvey had eight tackles.
The Hornets are idle next weekend. They return to action on Oct. 29 for the annual homecoming contest against Morgan State. Game time is 1:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
Darius Jackson had five catches for 50 yards to move past Thomas Bolden (2001-04) for third place on the Hornets' career list with 130 receptions ...North Carolina A&T had held its previous two opponents to one field goal each.