Delaware State vs. Shaw University - 1st half football blog
So my plan for today’s game is this: I’ll give you a rundown of the first half with words and then use pictures AND words for the second half.
DSU won their season opener last week against Virginia Military Institute, 24-21, thanks to three touchdown passes from Nick Elko, two to Justin Wilson. The Hornets are looking to improve to 2-0 heading into the Governor’s Cup game next week against University of Delaware.
You may not have heard of the Shaw Bears before, so here’s the skinny: Shaw is a Division II school based out of Raleigh, NC founded in 1865. Enrollment is 2,700 and notable alumni include NBA player Flip Murray, boxer James “Bonecrusher” Smith and author and historian Benjamin Arthur Quarles.
See how I used Wikipedia to make myself seem smart there…
DSU came out gunning in the first quarter, passing on five of their first six plays. After a three-and-out on their first drive, the Hornets offense took advantage of a fumbled snap deep in Bears territory by Shaw’s quarterback, Homer Causey Jr.
With the short field, it took DSU three plays to cash in, albeit in unconventional fashion. Elko lofted his pass in the direction of tight end Ryan Langdon. But Wilson was also in the area and the two nearly had a tug-of-war over the ball, almost causing the pass to be picked by a Shaw defender. However, the officials ruled Wilson came down with the ball for a 5-yard touchdown. In a bad throwback to last season’s kicking problems, Mitchell Ward missed the point after for a 6-0 DSU lead.
Shaw would get right back into the game with a turnover of their own. An Elko pass was tipped at the line and intercepted by defensive end George Gedin and returned to Delaware State’s 21-yard-line.
The Bears would score on a 3-yard pass from Causey to Tyrone Craig. Shaw would make its point after to go ahead, 7-6.
A decent DSU drive would stall after Elko was sacked by Stanley Porter and Danzel Manley was flagged for a false start.
The DSU offense started to resemble a Hyundai Elantra stuck in a snow bank: stalled and spinning wheels. The Hornets tried to mix runs and passes, but Shaw’s aggressive defense wouldn’t let them get anything going
The Shaw defense delivered some vicious hits, including a near kill-shot on Langdon by Jhawann Myers.
On offense, Causey started making plays with his legs, allowing the Bears offense to move the ball. And the Shaw fans started to smell blood after Elko floated a pass into the secondary that was intercepted by Darnell Evans and returned to the DSU 4-yard line. James Langford punched it in from 1-yard out to put the Bears up 14-6.
Let it be said that the Shaw fans are bringing it, banging the bleachers, and getting noisy when their players asked for it. DSU has a near capacity crowd in the student section, but the Hornets haven’t given them much to get excited about. You get the sense the Shaw defense has gotten into the Hornets’ heads a little.
Not only that, but the Hornets haven’t been able to stretch the Shaw defense out. Evans has done an outstanding job defending Wilson. Wilson’s best pattern is that fade/fly pattern down the sideline, but Evans has been anticipating it, giving just enough cushion. Elko hasn’t had much of a window throw the ball into and Evans has twice picked him on that deep fade/fly route. Not sure if Shaw is bracketing Wilson, but it sure looks that way.
Whatever it is, the Hornets have to find a way to get the ball into Wilson’s hands down the field or Shaw is going to keep crowding the box and stuffing the run and the wide receiver screens.
Shaw is also keeping the Hornets from getting any big plays out of Travis Tarpley in the return game. After a good return on the opening kickoff, the Bears started pooching it high and short, trying to keep the ball out of Tarpley’s hands.
The first half went very wrong for the Hornets and Coach Blount has a half to figure it out, with his team down 17-6. Not an insurmountable lead, but DSU has to find a way to string some plays together or get a big play. Otherwise, this game could get ugly.