DOVER, Del. – South Carolina State continued to struggle on offense Saturday in dropping a 17-14 decision to host Delaware State at Alumni Field.
The loss was the second in a row for the Bulldogs, who fell to 2-5 on the season and 1-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Four of the S.C. State losses have come by six points or less.
Delaware State, which got a 29-yard field goal from Wisdom Nzidee with 3:11 to play, snapped a 17-game losing streak with the win. The Hornets’ last win prior to Saturday came against Howard in the final game of the 2015 season by a 32-31 score.
The win, the first of the season for Delaware State, lifted the Hornets to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in the league.
The Hornets scored twice in the first quarter to go up 14-0 and after taking the lead late in the ball game, took advantage of several S.C. State miscues and a stingy Hornet defense in the final minutes to pull out the win.
It was a very tough loss for the Bulldogs and Head Coach Buddy Pough.
“It is the most disappointing loss of my coaching career,” said a dejected Pough. “I’m broken-hearted, our team is hurting, as well as all of the Bulldog fans and supporters.
“Our offense has been sputtering most of the year and we just didn’t do enough on offense today to win the game. We played poorly and didn’t make good decisions when we were in pressure situations.”
Hornet backup quarterback Keenan Black, who directed the win, used the long ball early to get two quick scores, staking the host to a 14-0 lead with just under a minute left in the opening quarter.
He found Taronn Shelby from 36 yards away to complete a four-play, 53-yard scoring drive with just over two minutes elapsed in the game. Nzidee’s PAT put the host ahead 7-0 with 12:48 to play in the period.
The lead grew to 14-0 late in the period when Black connected with Fata Sua-Godinet from nine yards away with 55 seconds on the clock. Nzidee added the extra point.
The Bulldogs, after struggling on offense most of the first half, finally got on the scoreboard when Trey Samuel raced 48 yards to paydirt, culminating a one-play scoring drive. Tyler Scandrett converted the point after to closed the gap to 14-7 with 2:38 left in the second. That’s the way the half ended.
After a scoreless third period, the Bulldogs drove 72 yards in eight plays to pull even. Dewann Ford connected with Quan Caldwell from the nine-yard line for the score. Scandrett’s PAT, with 13:30 remaining, deadlocked the contest.
The game remained tied until late in the final period when Nzidee connected on a 29-yard field goal to break the deadlock and put the Hornets ahead 17-14.
The Bulldogs had several possessions after that but turned the ball over twice on interceptions and once on downs in their effort to pull out the victory.
The final effort came when Pough’s team took over on its final possession and their own 20. On first down, Ford was sacked for an 11-yard loss. Following two incomplete passes, his fourth-down pass attempt was picked off by Dewin Adams and returned to the Bulldog 19 with just 29 seconds left. The Hornets need just one play to run out the clock and secure their first win of the season.
Samuels led the S.C. State offensive attack with 92 yards and a score on 11 attempts. Ford connected on 22-38 attempts for 170 yards and a score, but suffered three interceptions. Caldwell led the S.C. State receivers with six catches for 68 yards and a score.
The Bulldogs' offense limited their opponents to 235 total yards, just 9 on the ground. Linebackers Dayshawn Taylor and Darious Leonard had 12 tackles and 8 tackles, respectively.
The Bulldogs will try to snap a two-game losing streak next Saturday when they host an improved Howard team on Homecoming.