Dover, Del. – Delaware State cut a 27-point deficit to seven early in the fourth quarter before running out of gas in a 34-20 loss to Monmouth in steamy conditions Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
The Hornets (0-2) trailed 27-0 after a third-quarter Monmouth touchdown.
On DSU’s first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Brycen Alleyne scored a touchdown on a career-best 64-yard run to put the Hornets on the board. The touchdown run was the fourth of Alleyne’s career and his second score of the season. He had a 13-yard touchdown catch in the Hornets’ season opener at Delaware. Wisdom Nzidee’s extra point kick cut Monmouth’s lead to 27-7 with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
After the Hornet defense forced Monmouth to go three-and-out, Delaware State used a big play to pull even closer on its next possession.
The three-play, 62-yard drive was capped off with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Epperson to Jerimiah Williams. Epperson was forced out of the pocket and nearly sacked on the play before finding Williams behind the Monmouth secondary for his first career touchdown catch. DSU’s extra point attempt following the score was blocked, but the Hawks’ lead was cut to 27-13 with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Hornet defense again held Monmouth without a first down on the next possession, giving DSU’s special teams a chance for a big play.
The punt attempt by Monmouth’s Matt White was blocked by Kameron Rogers. The ball was scooped up by DSU freshman Brock Nichols, who dashed to the endzone from 13 yards out to cut the Hawk’s lead to eight. Nzidee’s extra point kick capped off the 20-point DSU run, and pulled the Hornets to within 27-20 with 14:47 left in the fourth quarter.
Monmouth (2-0) answered with a long scoring drive to grab the momentum back from the Hornets. Reserve running back Ed Royds capped off the 17-play, 79-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run to give the Hawks a two-touchdown lead. Back-up quarterback Cody Williams completed six-of-seven passes for 40 yards, and Darren Ambush had a 20-yard run to highlight Monmouth’s seven-minute-44-second scoring drive.
The Hawks took advantage of two special teams plays and a Delaware State turnover to open up their big lead. Monmouth scored 10 points on drives that started after blocking two Hornet punts, and the Hawks added a touchdown four plays after a recovering a fumble at the DSU 26.
Monmouth outgained the Hornets 441-to-221 in the contest. The Hawks rushed for 206 yards and passed for 235. Delaware State had 124 yards rushing and 97 by the pass.
Delaware State again used both Kobie Lain and Epperson at quarterback. Lain started the contest, and connected on six-of-12 passes 20 yards, while Epperson was three-for-seven for 77 yards. He threw his third TD pass of the season and was intercepted once in the game.
Royds led the Hawks with 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
DSU linebacker Malik Harris had a game-high 11 tackles, including five solo stops, while fellow linebacker Rashawn Barrett recorded 10 tackles, highlighted by two behind the line-of-scrimmage.
The Hornets will have a week off before taking on FBS Missouri on Sep. 24. DSU returns home Oct. 8 to face MEAC rival Hampton. Game time is 2 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
— Via Delaware State University Athletics