Dover, Del. (Sep. 14, 2019) --- Delaware State scored touchdowns on each of its four first quarter possessions and were never threatened in a 58-12 victory over Lincoln (Pa.) in the Hornets’ 2019 home opener at Alumni Stadium today. DSU won at home for the fourth straight game to even its at record at 1-1 this season. The Division II Lions fell to 0-2.
Freshman quarterback Tylik Bethea, making his first collegiate start, completed 16-of-28 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, while wide receiver Kwannah Kollie (jr.) had nine catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, each a career-high, to lead the Hornet offense.
Defensively, Delaware State held Lincoln to -24 yards rushing and 175 total offensive yards. The Lions did not record a first down until the opening drive of the third quarter.
On special teams, Keenan Black (sr.), a former quarterback now playing on defense, returned three punts for 88 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown; and added a 61-yard kickoff return.
“I’m pleased at how we took control of the game right from the start on offense, defense and special teams,” said DSU head coach Rod Milstead. “Our challenge is to put together four complete quarters, but we took care of our business and now we turn our focus to the MEAC opener against Howard next week.
The Hornets scored on the game’s opening possession when Bryant Dallas (sr.) capped off a 5-play, 60-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. The five-minute-43 second march was highlighted by three third-down conversions on completions by Bethea, who threw for 32 yards during the drive. The extra point kick by Jose Romo-Martinez gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead with 9:23 left in the first quarter.
After the DSU defense forced a three-and-out by the Lions, the Hornets scored quickly on their second possession to open up a two-touchdown lead. Three plays after Bethea and Kollie connected on an 18-yard pass to the Lincoln 27, the pair hooked up on a 23-yard scoring pass to seal the drive.
The Hornet defense again forced a Lincoln punt after three plays, giving the offense possession at the Lions’ 45.
It took just four plays for Bethea and Kollie to strike again, this time on a six-yard TD pass. After the extra point kick, Delaware State held a 21-0 lead with 2:59 left in the opening quarter.
The ensuing Lincoln possession also ended without a first down, and the Hornets took advantage with another first quarter score.
Richard Harris capped off the three-play, 34-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with nine seconds left in the quarter.
The Hornets’ 28 first quarter points were their most since matching that figure in the second quarter of a 63-28 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) in 2006. Delaware State’s 58 points today also marked a high since a 62-0 win over Concord (W.V.) later in the ’06 season.
DSU’s record for most points in a quarter is 30, in the opening 15 minutes vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 1988.
Romo-Martinez kicked a 29-yard field goal with 52 seconds left in the first half and nailed a 39-yarder in the third quarter to give the Hornets a 34-0 lead.
Later in the third quarter, Black field a punt at the DSU 43-yard line and sprinted past several would-be tacklers down the right sideline for a touchdown to push the lead to 40-0. It was the Hornets’ first punt return touchdown since Brandon Hudson vs. Concord in 2006.
Lincoln got on the board on a third quarter touchdown pass from Eban Jackson to Shoye Thompson to cut the Hornets’ lead to 41-6.
Black returned the ensuing kickoff 61 yards to the Lincoln two yard line. On the next play, Mike Waters ran to the end zone for his first touchdown of the season, stretching the Hornets’ advantage to 48-6.
After Lincoln scored its second touchdown on another 12-yard pass from Jackson to Sampson later in the third quarter, the extra point attempt was blocked by DSU’s Andrew Reese. The ball was scooped up by C.J. Wilson, who ran untouched to the opposite end zone for two points to put the Hornets ahead 50-12.
Delaware State added another two points when Lincoln’s Rarday Burrell was tackled in the end zone for a safety as time expired in the third quarter.
The Hornets closed out the scoring when back-up QB Jabari Blake connected with fellow freshman Bizzett Woodley on a 25-yard touchdown pass at the 11:17 mark of the fourth quarter.
Delaware State was perfectly balanced in the contest, rushing for 209 yards and throwing for 209.
Bethea, who played the entire second half after starter Shayne Smith suffered a hand injury in the season opener at Delaware on Aug. 29, has completed 26-of-46 passes (56.5%) for 318 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in his two collegiate contests.
“I felt pretty comfortable after playing in the opener and getting plenty of reps in practice,” he said. “We have some good receivers and I had time to throw. I still have a lot to learn and work on, but the win today is the most important thing.”
Reese and Jahad Neibauer led the Hornets with five tackles each. Linebacker Pontraille Gray and lineman Brandon Carswell had four tackles, including 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage for each.
Delaware State will play its 2019 MEAC opener at home against Howard next Saturday (Sep. 21) in the annual homecoming contest. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. Howard is led by quarterback Caylin Newton, the Preseason MEAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, and brother of NFL star Cam Newton.