Courtesy of Delaware State Athletics
Delaware State kicks off this unique spring 2021 season at home against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) rival Howard. The Hornets and Bison, along with South Carolina State, are the only MEAC teams competing this spring after the other football-playing league schools opted out due to Covid-19 related issues. This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams in this abbreviated season. DSU and Howard will also face South Carolina State twice this spring. Delaware State, under third-year head coach and former Hornet great Rod Milstead, posted a 2-10 overall record and 1-7 MEAC mark in the last season of competition in 2019. The game will also mark the debut of new Howard head coach Larry Scott, a long time assistant at major programs such as Miami (Fla.), Florida, Tennessee and South Florida. The Bison were 2-10 overall and 2-6 in MEAC play in 2019.
Delaware State returns 30 letterwinners from the 2019 season. The offense features top returners at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Tylik Bethea (so; 6-5/200.) is expected to get the starting nod under center after competing in all 12 games, starting 11, as a true freshman in 2019. Bethea completed 134-of-288 passes for 1478 yards (long 36) with five touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his rookie season. He ranked eighth in the MEAC in passing at 123.2 yards per game. His yardage total and completions were the most for a true freshman in team history and season completion total ranks 11th all-time at the school. DSU’s top 2019 runner Thomas Bertrand-Hudon (r-so.; 6-0/220) also returns after leading the Hornets and ranking sixth in the MEAC in rushing at 56.6 yards per game (509 total) in 2019. He also rushed for a team-high five touchdowns last season. Kwannah Kollie (sr.; 6-0/200) and Bizzett Woodley (so.; 6-5/225) were 1-2 on the Hornets in receptions in 2019. Kollie was tops on the team with 35 catches and 431 receiving yards, while Woodley had 28 grabs for 421 yards and was fifth in the MEAC with seven touchdowns in ’19, tops all-time for a Hornet freshman. Defensively, linebacker Brooks Parker (jr.; 6-1/210) and defensive back Juwain Granger (jr.; 5-9/165) lead the way. Each was named to the 2020 Preseason All-MEAC Second Team. Parker was also a 2019 All-MEAC Third Team pick. He led the Hornets with 58 total tackles and 38 solo stops last season. Granger recorded 35 tackles (30 unassisted) and was tied for the MEAC lead with 12 pass break-up in the ’19 campaign. He was tied for firth in the league in passes defended in the last season. Delaware State placekicker/ punter Jose Romo-Martinez (sr.; 6-1/200) was selected to the 2020 Preseason All-MEAC First Team. Romo-Martinez was 11-for-14 on field goal attempts (.714) with a long of 45 and averaged 37.0 yards on 46 punts (long 60) in 2019.
THE SERIES (Howard leads 38-37-1)
The Hornets and Bison are meeting for the 63rd consecutive year and 77th time overall, making it Delaware State’s oldest rivalry. Howard has won the last four meetings to take a 38-37 lead in the series. There has also been one tie (1942). The Bison won the last contest 24-9 at Delaware State in 2019. The Hornets drove 84 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession, but managed just 128 yards the rest of the way in the last contest. The Hornets were outgained 315-222, while Howard also held a 35:00-25:00 advantage in time of possession. The Hornet defense held its own in the last meeting, highlighted by four sacks of Howard quarterback Caylin Newton, the 2019 MEAC Preseason Offensive Player-of-the-Year. Delaware State is seeking its first win against Howard since a 32-31 victory at Alumni Stadium in 2015.