DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY “HORNETS” (0-4; 0-1 MEAC) VS.
#11 NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE “AGGIES” (4-1; 1–0 MEAC)
SAT., OCT. 6, 2018 (7:05 p.m.) ALUMNI STADIUM (7,000) - DOVER, DEL.
Live Video - ESPN3
Live Audio - HSRN.com
Delaware State is home for the first this season to face defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and HBCU champion North Carolina A&T. The Hornets, seeking their first win of the season, are trying to rebound from a 54-28 loss to Norfolk State in their MEAC opener last week. DSU trailed 34-0 before scoring touchdowns on kickoff returns by Kwannah Kollie and Brycen Alleyne in the third quarter. The Hornets scored two fourth quarter touchdowns on passes from Keenan Black to Trey Gross. The nationally-ranked Aggies are coming off a 31-16 win over South Carolina State in their most outing on Sep. 27. NCA&T trailed 16-3 before outscoring the Bulldogs 28-0 the rest of the way.
The Hornets are third in the MEAC in rushing at 155.5 yards per game this season. Junior Mike Waters is the No. 2 rusher in the league at 72.0 yards per game (288 total). Waters had a season-high 107 yards vs. St. Francis (Pa.) in week two. Delaware State passed for a season-best 247 yards at Norfolk State last week. The Hornets averaged just 59.2 passing yards per game in the first three contests. Sophomore wideout Trey Gross had nine receptions for 162 yards, each career-highs, and two touchdowns in the Norfolk State contest. Gross is tops on the team and sixth in the MEAC in receiving yards at 52.2 per game (209 total) and is tied for sixth in receptions at 3.8 per game (15 total) entering this week’s action. DSU quarterback Keenan Black is coming off his best performance of the season, completing 17-of-29 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns at Norfolk State last week. For the season, Black has connected on 28-of-56 throws (50.0 pct.) for 324 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also third on the team with 87 yards rushing (3.1 ypc). Brycen Alleyne is second on the Hornets with 128 yards rushing (42.7 ypg) and is tops among all MEAC players in kickoff returns at 31.8 yards per attempt. Alleyne returned a kick 95 yards for a touchdown at Norfolk State last week, the second of his career. He’s currently tops in the MEAC and No. 2 among all FCS players in kickoff return average this season. Hornet sophomore Kwannah Kollie also returned a kickoff for a touchdown at Norfolk State last week, bolting him to second in the league with a 27.6 yard average. Defensively, the Hornets are led by junior linebacker Brian Cavicante and junior defensive back Devin Smith. Cavicante, a Preseason All-MEAC First Team selection, is second in the conference at 9.5 tackles per game (38 total), while Smith is fourth at 7.5 per contest (30 total). Smith has combined for 21 tackles, including 17 solo stops, in the last two games.
North Carolina A&T is ranked 11th in the latest Stats, Inc. and ESPN polls of Top 25 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams. The Aggies are also No. 2 in the most recent Black College Top 10 polls. NCA&T was No. 4 in the national FCS rankings when it was upset at home by Morgan State in week four. The Aggies bounced back five days later to defeat South Carolina State 31-16 in their most recent outing on Sep. 27. North Carolina A&T opened the season with a victory over then FCS No. 6 Jacksonville State and upended FBS East Carolina on the road the next week. The Aggie offense features the MEAC’s top rusher in Maurice Cartwright (sr.), the league leader in yards per game (91.2) and total rushing yards (456). Quarterback Lamar Raynard (sr.), the reigning MEAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, has completed 59-of-120 passes (49.2%) for 616 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He ranks sixth in the conference in passing average (123.2 ypg) and ninth in passing efficiency (104.9 rating) entering this week’s games. Elijah Bell is the team’s top receiver with 18 catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Aggies are the stingiest team in the MEAC, allowing just 15.6 points per game to lead the league. NCA&T also has the league’s best run defense at 78.2 yards per contest. Junior defensive lineman Darryl Johnson is second in the MEAC in sacks (5.5 ) and third in the league with 7.5 tackles for loss, Defensive back Jamaal Darden is the team leader with 32 tackles to tie for 13th in the conference at 6.4 per game.
THE SERIES (NCA&T LEADS 23-22-1)
This will be the 47th contest between the Hornets and Aggies. North Carolina A&T has won the last four games to open up a 23-22-1 series lead. The Aggies won last year’s meeting 44-3 in Greensboro, NCA&T quarterback Lamar Raynard, the 2017 MEAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, completed 20-of-26 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way. The last time the teams met at Delaware State, the Aggies posted a 45-14 win in 2016. DSU’s last win in the series was in 2013, a 12-7 victory in North Carolina.