Dover, Del. (Oct. 13, 2012) --Delaware State's offense racked up 399 total yards and the defense forced three more turnovers en route to a 31-17 win over South Carolina State in a MEAC contest at Alumni Stadium today.
The Hornets won their second straight game to improve to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the MEAC. DSU also snapped a four-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. SC State has dropped five of its last six games to fall to 2-5 and 1-3.
Quarterback Nick Elko completed 23 of 33 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hornet offense. Elko also moved passed Anthony Glaud (2008-10) for third place on the Hornets' all-time list with
4,233 passing yards.
Freshman Nagee Jackson rushed for a career-high 106 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He is the third DSU player to rush for at least 100 yards in a game this season. The Hornets did not have a 100-yard rusher during the 2011 season.
Travis Tarpley had seven receptions for 100 yards, while Justin Wilson hauled in six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Tarpley has moved into ninth place on the Hornets' all-time list with 1,520 receiving yards.
Delaware State had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in a game for the first time since 2009.
Freshman Terrick Colston led the DSU defense with nine tackles. He also returned his first career interception 53 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to help the Hornets grab a 14-0 lead. Colston also had a second half interception in the endzone to spoil a South Carolina State scoring drive.
Colston's performance marked the second straight game with a DSU player recording two interceptions. Davon Moore had two picks ikn the Hornets' 20-17 win at Norfolk State last week.
DSU defensive back Joe Boyd also had an interception in the contest.
Delaware State was second in the MEAC and fifth in the nation in turnover margin entering the contest. The Hornets have forced 17 turnovers in six games this season, four more than for all of 2011.
DSU opened the scoring on the game's first possession.
Elko capped off a seven-play, 68-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass to freshman back Dae-Hon Cheung to give the Hornets a 6-0 lead just 3:03 in the contest. Chueng hauled in the short pass and scampered to the endzone ahead of several SC State defenders. Jackson had a 12-yard first down run and Elko completed a 10-yard pass to Cheung during the drive. Mitchell Ward's extra point kick gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead.
Delaware State opened up a two touchdown lead when Colston stepped in front of a sideline pass from Bulldog quarterback Derrick Wiley and returned the ball 53 yards for a touchdown with 7:44 left in the opening quarter. It was Delaware State's first interception return for a touchdown since defensive tackle Darryl Brown scored on a pick against North Carolina Central in 2010.
South Carolina State used a defensive touchdown of its own cut DSU's lead in half. Bulldog linebacker Justin Hughes recovered a Delaware State fumble in the endzone to trim the Hornets' lead to 14-6 with 4:40 left in the first quarter. Nick Belcher tacked on the extra point to make it a 14-7 game.
Belcher kicked a 37-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the first half to pull the Bulldogs to within 14-10 at intermission.
South Carolina State appeared headed for a go-ahead touchdown on the opening drive of the second half before Colston struck again. The Bulldogs had marched 74 yards in 11 plays, consuming 5:20 on the clock, when Colston intercepted a pass in the endzone from SC State's Julian Pendergrass who took snap in a Wildcat formation.
Delaware State took advantage of the turnover to stretch its lead. Ward capped off a nine-play, 70-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal to give the Hornets a 17-10 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter. Elko was 3-for-4 for 46 yard during the drive, including passes of 28 yards to Wilson and 17 to Tarpley.
After the Bulldogs failed to score on their next possession, the Delaware State launched another scoring drive. The Hornets marched 80 yards on 10 plays, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Elko to Wilson with 11:39 left to play. Ward's extra point gave DSU a 24-10 lead.
Elko has thrown two touchdown passes in each of the last two games to give him 28 for his career. Wilson has caught to TD pass in each of the last two games to reach 20 with the Hornets.
Delaware State also scored on its next possession to take a three-touchdown lead. Jackson rushed for five yards to the endzone to give the Hornets a 31-10 lead with 4:03 left in the game. The nine-play, 62-yard drive was highlighted by a 31-yard pass from Elko to Wilson. Cheung also had a 10-yard first down run during the drive. Jackson leads the Hornets with three rushing touchdowns this season.
Delaware State returns to action against North Carolina A&T in the annual homecoming contest next Saturday (Oct. 20)> Game time is 1:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. The Hornets will be seeking their first three-game win streak since 2007.