Delaware State vs. Shaw – 2nd Half Blog
RM note: Sorry I’m late getting this up, but the finish to this game had me just deciding to come back home and write it late. Needless to say, we've had "Miracle at the Meadowlands," now we have "Miracle in the Monsoon." Enjoy…
Ok, so if you read my 1st half post about this game, you’ll see how I said DSU needed a big play to turn their fortunes around.
Well, there was a big play. Unfortunately, it went against the Hornets. Shaw’s James Langford took the 2nd half kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bears up 24-6.
You could see the “Ugh, really?” body language on the Hornets sideline. Langford’s return was a crushing blow coming out of the locker room after a half in which the Hornets did not play well.
DSU managed to regroup however, and drove 9 plays for 44 yards for a Mitchell Ward field goal to get to 24-9, only two scores down.
The defense managed to contain Shaw’s slippery quarterback, Homer Causey Jr., and get the offense back on the field. The Hornets managed to put together their best drive of the game, mainly behind the running of Jaashawn Jones. DSU seemed to pick up the physicality; you could tell they were mad about how the game had gone.
Making things worrisome though, was that First-Team All-MEAC wide receiver Justin Wilson left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
The Hornets scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, on a short touchdown run by Jones to make it 24-16. Again, despite how poorly things had gone, DSU was only a touchdown and two-point conversion away from tying the game.
But the mistakes crept back into the Hornets’ game. Quarterback Nick Elko completed a pass over the middle to Justin Brewton for a big gainer. But Brewton fumbled, Shaw recovered and drove down the field for a field goal by Lyncon Shepherd to make it 27-16.
Despite Wilson being out, the Hornets still targeted Shaw cornerback Darnell Evans, who was flagged several times for pass interference/holding. While I was down shooting pictures in the 3rd quarter, after one call, Evans told the ref, “You’re killin’ me man!”
Late in the game, the Hornets drove the field on the arm of Elko, and a well-timed PI penalty against Evans. Elko found Darius Jackson for the touchdown and then Travis Tarpley for the two-point conversion to get the Hornets, and the students, back into the game, 27-24.
In what seemed like an ominous coincidence, the rain starting falling hard and heavy on Alumni Stadium. It was raining so hard you could barely make out the players from the press box.
The Hornets had the ball, and drove down into a 4th-and-6 on the Shaw 17-yard-line with less than 90 seconds on the clock. Coach Kermit Blount elected to bring the freshman Ward on to attempt a field goal in the monsoon. Ward’s 32-yard kick was no good and Shaw had seemingly pulled off the upset.
And then the Shaw coaching staff had a collective brainfart. On second down, with around 50 seconds left on the clock, the Bears unbelievably decided to RUN THE BALL! It defied all football logic. Why in the world are you not taking a knee there? Faster than you can say “Joe Pisarcik,” Hornets defensive end Olusegon Ayanbiola caused Langford to fumble. The man known to his coaches and teammates as “Olu,” recovered the fumble, and put DSU in business deep into Shaw territory with 49 seconds left.
Elko found Jackson again for a 12-yard touchdown pass and the daily writers are calling their editors to push deadlines back. Meanwhile, the fans and players on the Shaw side have the old 1,000 yard stare going. You feel for those Shaw kids. Their defense in particular did everything asked of them, put their team in a position to pull off a big upset, and their coaching staff has a brainfart at the most critical time.
DSU knocked down Causey’s last heave to give the Hornets a miracle of a win, 31-27, coincidentally, as the rain started to slow down some.
I’ll have more on this game in either Tuesday or Friday’s edition of the Cape Gazette.
The Hornets will next play in the second Governor's Cup game against University of Delaware, next Saturday at 6 p.m. in Newark.