Orangeburg, S.C. (Oct. 20, 2018) --- South Carolina State scored two touchdowns after blocking punts and another on an interception return in a 30-19 win over Delaware State in a MEAC contest on homecoming Saturday at Oliver C. Stadium this afternoon.
The Bulldogs won for the second time in three games to improve to 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the MEAC, while the Hornets are winless in seven games, including four league contests this season.
Delaware State won the total yardage battle, 410-404, highlighted by a 217-136 edge in passing yards, but was plagued by critical miscues. In addition to the blocked punts and interception return for touchdown, the Hornets were set back by another interception that went in and out of a receiver’s hands and two holding penalties that negated 30-plus-yard passing gains.
The game was scoreless until late in the second quarter when South Carolina State recovered the ball at the Delaware State 29 after its first blocked punt. Three plays after the recovery, Farrika Grier scored on a five-yard run for the game’s first touchdown. The extra point kick by Dillon Bredesen put the Bulldogs ahead 7-0 with 36 seconds to go before halftime.
Less than four minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs repeated the scenario to set up its second touchdown. Two plays after its second blocked punt and recovery at the DSU 8, Grier scored from one yard out to give SC State a 13-0 lead at the 11:23 mark of the third quarter. The extra point kick was blocked by the Hornets.
Delaware State’s regular punter, Fidel Romo-Martinez, sat out the contest after suffering an injury at Howard last week. Fidel’s brother and Hornet placekicker Jose Romo-Martinez handled all kicking duties for the Hornets today.
On the ensuing possession, Delaware State used some big plays to key a scoring drive. Quarterback Jack McDaniels capped off the four-play, 75-yard march with a four-yard touchdown run. Brycen Alleyne had a season-high 43 yard run to the SC State 27 and Bryant Dallas followed with a 23-yard run, also his season best, to the Bulldog four during the drive. The Hornets cut the deficit to 13-7 after the extra point kick by Jose Romo-Martinez with 9:55 left in the third quarter.
South Carolina State stretched its lead to 20-7 on a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nick Tyrece later in the third quarter. Tyrece rushed for a game-high 130 yards and completed eight-of-23 passes for 133 yards.
The Bulldogs opened up a 23-7 lead on a 39-yard field goal by Bredesen with 13:32 left in the fourth quarter.
After the teams exchanged punts, the Hornets scored their second touchdown of the game with time running out in the fourth quarter.
Wide receiver Nahseem Woodard tallied his first career touchdown on a two-yard pass from McDaniels to cap off the 11-play, 90-yard scoring drive. McDaniels completed four-of-five passes for 60 yards during the drive, including a 21-yard completion to Trey Gross and a 28-yard catch and run by Taronn Selby to the Bulldog two. The Hornets failed to connect on a two-point pass attempt following the score, leaving them behind 23-13 with only 3:47 left to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs recovered an onsides kick attempt by the Hornets, but DSU got the ball back two plays later on a South Carolina State fumble with 3:05 remaining.
Delaware State drove from its 47 to the SC State 37 when a McDaniels pass was intercepted by Zafir Kelly and returned 72 yards for a touchdown with 1:54 left to seal the win for the Bulldogs.
The Hornets closed out the scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass from McDaniels to Selby with 10 seconds left to play.
McDaniels, making his first start since week two, completed 18-of-36 passes for a career-best 217 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for a personal-best 53 yards.
Alleyne led the Hornets with 96 yards rushing on 15 attempts. Dallas rushed for 45 yards on nine carries.
Gross and Selby tied for game-high honors with five receptions each. Gross had 94 receiving yards, while Selby collected a season-high 88.
DSU freshman Justin Castell led all players with 10 tackles (nine solo), including one behind the line-of-scrimmage. Jahad Niebauer had eight unassisted tackles, including a backfield stop, an assist and three pass break-ups. Brian Cavicante recorded seven tackles, including one in the South Carolina State backfield, and a fumble recovery.
The Hornets also played without Preseason All-MEAC cornerback Keyjuan Selby and leading rusher Mike Waters missed his second game in a row due to injury … after playing six of their first seven games on the road, DSU is home for the next two weeks beginning with the annual homecoming contest against North Carolina Central next Saturday (Oct. 27). Start time is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. The Hornets remain home the following week vs. Savannah State (Nov. 3) for a 2:05 p.m. contest.