Delaware State wraps up a four-game road swing to begin the season with a visit to Norfolk State in the Hornets’ 2018 MEAC opener. DSU has been idle since a 68-0 loss to FBS Western Michigan on Sep. 15. The Broncos scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in the rout. Delaware State was held to 123 total yards in the contest, including just eight by the pass. Western Michigan racked up 527 yards in the game. The Hornets opened the 2018 season with a 48-10 loss at FBS Buffalo on Sep. 1 and fell on the road to St. Francis (Pa.) 45-14 in week two. DSU will play its 2018 home opener next Saturday (Oct. 6) against North Carolina A&T. Norfolk State is coming off a 17-7 victory on the road at MEAC rival South Carolina State last weekend, although the game did not count in this year’s league standings. Spartan quarterback Juwan Carter completed 22-of-38 passes for 281 yards and touchdown, and rushed for a score, while the NSU defense forced two turnovers and came up with two critical fourth down stops to lead way. NSU linebacker Dale Craig had seven tackles and two of the Spartans’ four sacks, while defensive back Nhyre’ Quinerly produced an interception and forced fumble to go along with seven tackles in the contest. Norfolk State opened the season with a 34-13 win over Virginia State and fell to FCS powerhouse James Madison 17-0 in a storm-shortened game in week two. The Spartans’ scheduled week three contest at Liberty was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.
Delaware State is hoping the beginning of MEAC play will mark a change in its fortunes. The Hornets are eighth in the league in scoring (8.0 ppg), ninth in total offense (215.3 ypg) and 10th in passing offense (59.3 ypg). DSU, however, has shown some success in running the ball this season. The Hornets are second in the MEAC in rushing at 166.6 yards per game. DSU’s Mike Waters (jr.) is second in the conference in rushing at 78.7 yards per game (236 total). Waters rushed for a season-high 107 yards vs. St. Francis on Sep. 8. The Hornets are also hoping for more consistent quarterback play. Jack McDaniels (so.) has completed 15- of-34 passes (44.1%) for 101 yards in DSU’s three games. Keenan Black (jr.) has connected on 11-of-27 throws (40.7%) for 77 yards. Each QB has one interception and has yet to throw a touchdown. Delaware State’s leading receivers, Kwannah Kollie (so.) and Taronn Selby (sr.), each has seven catches. Defensively, the Hornets are fifth in the MEAC in yards allowed (405.0 ypg) and 11th in scoring (53.7 ppg). Linebacker Brian Cavicante (jr.) is second in the league in tackles at 10.0 per game (30 total). The Hornets have yet to record an interception or a sack this season.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Norfolk State’s defense has stood out in the early going this season. The Spartans are tops in the MEAC in scoring defense (8.0 ppg), total defense (236.3 ypg) and pass defense (131.7 ypg), while ranking second in rushing defense (104.7 ypg). Linebacker Dale Craig (jr.) is tops on the team and tied for ninth in the MEAC in tackles at 6.7 per game (20 total). Defensive back Nhyre’ Quinerly is second in the league with three interceptions and tied for second in passes defended. Quarterback Juwan Carter has completed 37-of-65 passes (56.9%) for 466 yards. He has two touchdowns and one interception. Aaron Savage leads the team with 202 yards rushing on 41 carries (4.9 avg.).
THE SERIES (DSU LEADS 16-7)
This is the 24th meeting between the teams and 19th as members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Norfolk State snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 17-7 victory at Delaware State the last time the teams met in 2017. NSU quarterback Juwan Carter passed for 292 yards and two touchdown, while the Spartan defense allowed just 226 yards and forced three turnovers to lead the way in last year’s contest. The Hornets were also plagued by 12 penalties for 101 yards in the 2017 contest. The last time the teams met at Norfolk State, Delaware State won 13-10 in overtime in 2014.The Hornets have dropped 24 straight road games since that contest.