Dover, Del. (Apr. 12, 2019) --- A modern-day school- record seven home games highlight the 2019 Delaware State University football schedule, released by the school today. The Hornets played just four games at Alumni Stadium in each of the last two years. The previous high for DSU home games in a season was six, most recently in 2008.
The 12-game schedule features eight contests in the state, beginning with the Aug. 29 opener at the University of Delaware.
This will be the ninth meeting between the state’s two NCAA Division I football programs. All of the previous contests were played at Delaware Stadium in Newark. The Hens posted a 22-3 victory the last time the teams met in 2017.
The Hornets will renew their rivalry with Lincoln University of Pennsylvania for Faith and Community Day in their home opener on September 14. Delaware State and Lincoln played 23 games from 1924 to 1960, including 15 contests as members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Hornets won the last seven meetings between the teams from 1954 to ’60 to hold a 12-10-1 lead in the series.
The following week, Delaware State will welcome Howard University to Alumni Stadium on September 21 for the annual homecoming contest, marking the earliest homecoming date in recent school history. The game is also DSU’s 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener. The Hornets and Bison will meet for the 62nd consecutive year and 76th time overall, making it Delaware State’s oldest rivalry. Howard took last year’s meeting 55-13 in Washington, D.C., its third straight win in a series that’s tied at 37-37-1.
The Hornets will play their first 2019 contest outside of Delaware the next week, visiting defending MEAC and HBCU National Champion North Carolina A&T on Sep. 28 in Greensboro, N.C. The Aggies have won the last five meetings between teams, including a 34-6 victory in Dover, Del., last season to open up a 24-22-1 series lead.
The Hornets return home the following Saturday (Oct. 5) to face MEAC rival South Carolina State. Delaware State will try to avenge a 30-19 loss to the Bulldogs in Orangeburg, S.C., last season. The Hornets won 17-14 the last time the teams met at Alumni Stadium in 2017. SC State holds a 29-17 lead in the series, which began in 1971.
DSU visits long-time rival Morgan State for a MEAC contest in Baltimore the next week (Oct. 12). The teams will be meeting at MSU’s Hughes Stadium for the second straight year. The Bears lead the series 37-25 after winning 9-0 in 2018. .
The Hornets return home the following week to face first-time opponent Merrimack College, a school with an enrollment of about 4,200 students in North Andover, Mass., for Family and Youth Weekend on Oct. 19. Merrimack is beginning a transition from Division II to Division I during the 2019-20 academic year. The Warriors won four of their last five games to post a 5-5 overall record and 5-4 mark in the Division II Northeast 10 Conference in 2018.
Delaware State is on the road for the next two weekends, visiting MEAC rivals North Carolina Central on Oct. 26 and Florida A&M on Nov. 2.
The Hornets will be seeking their second straight win against NC Central after upsetting the Eagles 28-13 for their first win of the season and first for new head coach Rod Milstead at home in 2018. Freshman Michael Chris-Ike rushed for a game-high 121 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown, to highlight the win and snap a five-game NCCU win streak in the series. The Eagles hold an 18-7 series lead.
Delaware State and Florida A&M will battle for the first time in three years. The Rattlers have won the last three meetings, including a 41-27 victory at DSU in 2016 to stretch their series lead to 25-9. The Hornets’ last win in the series was in 2013 (29-22) in Tallahassee, Fla.
DSU will close out the 2019 season with three home games, beginning with a visit by MEAC rival Bethune-Cookman to highlight the 50th Anniversary of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Weekend on Nov. 9. The Hornets and Wildcats will also meet for the first time since 2016. BCU will bring a six-game series win streak into the contest. The Wildcats posted a 41-10 victory the last time the teams met three seasons ago in Daytona Beach, Fla., to pull ahead 20-19 in the series Delaware State last defeated BCU 26-20 in 2008.
The Hornets will celebrate DSU Hall-of-Fame / Champions Weekend when Norfolk State visits Alumni Stadium the following Saturday (Nov. 16). This will be the 25th meeting between the teams and 20th as members of the MEAC. Norfolk State has won the last two contests, including a 54-28 victory last season, although the Hornets lead the series 16-8.
Delaware State will wrap up the season at home against the St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash for Veterans & Military Appreciation Day on Nov. 23. The teams will meet for the second straight year and third time overall. St. Francis won the 2018 contest 45-14 in Loretto, Pa. The other meeting between the teams was in 2006, won by the Hornets 62-28 at Alumni Stadium. DSU will also honor its football seniors before the game.
“I’m ecstatic about our 2019 schedule,” said Milstead, a former Hornet great and National Football League standout in his second year as head coach at his alma mater. “I’m most grateful for the seven home games on the schedule because it gives us a chance to connect and build support among our students, fan base and community.”
Milstead added, “After being on the road for seven games last season, including two against major college opponents, it’s great for our program to have more exposure at home, fewer long trips and a schedule that gives us an opportunity to be more successful.”
Delaware State was 3-8 overall and 2-5 in the MEAC in Milstead’s first season as head coach in 2018. The Hornets were 3-1 at home, 2-1 vs. MEAC opponents, last season.
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