Dover, Del. (Sep. 21, 2019) --- Delaware State drove 84 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession, but managed just 128 yards the rest of the way in a 24-9 homecoming loss to Howard in the MEAC opener for each team at Alumni Stadium this afternoon. The loss snapped a four-game home win streak for the Hornets, who fell to 1-2 overall, while the Bison won for the first time this season (1-3).
Howard quarterback Caylin Newton, the 2019 Preseason MEAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, completed 21-of-35 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bison, although he was sacked four times and the Hornet defense allowed just 73 rushing yards in the contest.
Delaware State started quickly, marching down the field on nine plays on the opening possession to draw first blood. The drive was capped off by a two-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Tylik Bethea to Kwannah Kollie (jr.). Bryant Dallas (sr.) rushed for 30 yards on five carries, while Bethea and Kollie also connected on a 32 yard pass to the Howard three-yard-line during the drive.
Kollie has a team-high three touchdowns this season.
The extra point kick by Jose Romo-Martinez gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead just three-minutes-54 seconds into the game.
On the ensuing Howard possession, the Bison drove 58 yards on nine plays to the DSU one, but lost eight yards on the next four plays, capped off by a six-yard fourth down sack of Newton by Hornet linebacker Alex Lozano to end the threat.
After each team recorded a three-and-out, the Hornets attempted a fourth down pass out of punt formation from its 31 yard line, but the pass by Fidel Romo-Martinez was incomplete.
Howard took advantage of the break to get on the board early in the second quarter. It took seven plays to cover the 31 yards, but Newton hooked up with Michael Cornwell on a 24-yard touchdown pass to cut the Hornets lead to 7-6. The Bison failed on the extra point kick to keep DSU ahead by a point with 14:35 left in the second quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing Delaware State possession, the Hornets committed their first turnover of the season when Bethea was intercepted by Howard’s Ray Williams at the DSU 27 yard line. Williams returned the pick 23 yards to the Hornet 4.
Newton scored a touchdown on a four-yard keeper on the first play after the turnover to give the Bison a 12-7 lead at the 14:10 mark of the second quarter. On the extra point attempt, the kick by Howard’s Nick Fariss was blocked by DSU’s Brian Cavicante. The ball was scooped up D’Andre Blue-Eli, who sprinted the length of the field for two points to cut the Bison lead to 12-9.
It marked the second straight week that the Hornets have converted a blocked extra point kick into two points. Delaware State has five blocked kicks in its three games this season.
After the Hornets failed to get a first down on their next possession, Howard drove 50 yards on four plays, highlighted by a six yard touchdown pass from Newton to Damio Gillespie, to open up an 18-9 lead with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter. The Bison failed on a two-point pass attempt after the touchdown.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, so the Hornets were still within striking distance, trailing 18-9 heading to the final 15 minutes.
Howard advanced to the DSU 13 after intercepting Bethea for the second time in the game, but the Hornets forced a turnover on downs to avoid falling further behind.
On the next Delaware State possession, Howard blocked a punt by Fidel Romo-Martinez and recovered the ball at the Hornet 17.
The Bison needed just one play to take advantage. Josiah Crute rushed 17 yards to the end zone for the final score of the game. Howard again failed on a two-point pass attempt following the score.
The Hornets were outgained 315-222 in the contest.
Bethea completed just 11-of-32 passes for 123 yards with the one touchdown and two interceptions. DSU’s Bryant Dallas led all players with 56 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
Defensively, Cavicante had a game-high 12 tackles (six solo), including two behind the line-of-scrimmage, and a sack.
Fellow linebacker Brook Parker (so.) had seven tackles and two quarterback hurries.
The Hornet defense recorded 10 tackles for loss for 50 yards in the game.
Delaware State will have little time to lick its wounds. The Hornets take on defending MEAC and HBCU national champ North Carolina A&T on Thursday (Sep.26) in Greensboro, N.C. The game is scheduled to be televised nationally on ESPNU. Kickoff is set for 7:35 p.m.