|Elko's Career Day highlights Delaware State's 4th straight win|
Courtesy: DSU Athletic Media Relations
Baltimore, Md. --- Nick Elko completed 33- of- 43 passes for a career-high 398 yards and two touchdowns to lead Delaware State to a 28-23 MEAC win over Morgan State in a nationally televised contest (ESPNU) at Hughes Stadium Thursday evening.
The Hornets won their fourth straight game to improve to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the MEAC. Morgan State dropped its third in a row to fall to 3-5 and 2-3. The win streak is DSU's longest since an eight-game run during its MEAC championship season in 2007.
"I'm really proud of our guys for the effort against a really determined Morgan State team," said Delaware State head coach Kermit Blount, who improved to 99-98-3 as a collegiate head coach. "It's great to see these kids rewarded with wins for all the hard work they've put in. Things are coming together for us as a team, but we still have a long way go."
Elko, a former Maryland high school star, set a school record with 17 straight completions in the first half. His passing yardage total was the third highest in team history. Bryan Botts set the school record passing yardage record (430) vs. Morgan State in 2004. Rahsaan Matthews passed for 426 yards against Florida A&M in 1998.
Elko's previous high passing game was 339 yards vs. Norfolk State in 2011. He is third on the Hornets' career list with 4,876 passing yards.
Travis Tarpley had 12 catches, for 143 yards and two touchdowns, while Justin Wilson had eight catches for 100 yards.
Tarpley was one catch shy of the school-record 13 he set in 2011. Wilson surpassed the 2,000 receiving yards mark (2,090) and moved into second place on the Hornets' all-time list with 162 receptions.
"The coaches put together a really good game plan and we were able to take advantage of what the defense gave us," said Elko, who moved into a tie for third for career touchdown passes at DSU with 31. "I have to give credit to the offensive line, which did a great job all game. We ran the ball well, which helped to set up our passing success. I have worked with Travis (Tarpley) and Justin (Wilson) for five years now, and they just make big plays. "
The Hornets racked up a season high 502 yards, the most since amassing 562 against St. Francis in 2006.
Morgan State opened the scoring with a touchdown on its first possession. Quarterback Robert Council capped off a seven-play, 72-yard drive with a 41 yard touchdown run with 10:50 left in the first quarter. Ervin Gonzalez kicked the extra point to give the Bears a 7-0 lead.
Delaware State evened the contest on a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Elko connected with Tarpley on a four-yard touchdown pass to cap off a nine-play, 72-yard drive (4:48). Mitchell Ward's extra point kick tied the game at 7-7 with 13:10 left in the second quarter. Elko completed each of his five passes for 77 yards on the drive, including a 43-yard strike to Tarpley to the MSU seven.
Morgan needed just 14 seconds to regain the lead.
Tyrone Hendrix returned Ward's kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 14-7 lead with 12:56 left in the second quarter.
Delaware State responded to the Morgan touchdown with one of its own on the ensuing possession to tie the game again.
Tarpley and Elko struck again on a 13-yard scoring pass to pull the Hornets to within 14-13 with 9:43 left in the second quarter. Elko completed five-of-seven passes for 64 yards during the nine-play, 76-yard drive, including first down strikes to Dae-Hon Cheung (17 yards) and Wilson (12, 14). Ward's extra point kick tied the game at 14-14.
The Hornets drove to the Morgan State 13 later in the second quarter, but had to settle for a field goal. Ward's 31-yard field goal gave DSU its first lead, 17-14, with 3:5q left in the first half. Cheung had a 24-yard run during the drive. The freshman back led the Hornets with 80 yards on 12 carries in the contest (6.7 ypc).
Delaware State stretched its lead to six just before halftime. Ward kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired in the half to give the Hornets a 20-14 advantage at the break. The eight-play, 75-yard drive started at the DSU 18 with 1:25 left in the half. The drive ended at the Morgan State seven. Elko connected with Wilson on a 39-yard pass and completed a 27-yarder to Tarpley during the drive.
The Hornets scored on their last five possessions of the first half.
Delaware State scored on six straight possessions after reaching the end zone of its first drive of the second half. Jackson capped off the seven-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give the Hornets a 28-14 lead with 8:56 left in the third quarter. Cheung had an 18-yard run and Elko completed passes of 35 yards to Josh Bailey and 22 yards to Tarpley during the drive.
Morgan State scored a touchdown in the third quarter and added a field goal in the fourth to pull to within 28-23.
The Bears trailed by that score when getting the ball for its final possession with 4:11 left to play. Morgan State recorded three first downs during an advance to the DSU 31. After three straight incompletions, Morgan State back-up quarterback came up short on a fourth down and 10 yards-to-go scramble to dash the Bears' comeback hopes.
Safety Davon Moore and linebacker Ernest Adjei led the Hornets with eight tackles each. Moore also had two tackles-for-loss, two pass break ups and a sack.
The Hornets return to action on Saturday Nov. 3 at North Carolina Central. Game time is 2:00 p.m. in Durham, N.C.
North Carolina Central and Bethune-Cookman currently share the MEAC lead at 4-0. The teams will meet this Saturday (Oct. 27) in Daytona Beach, Fla.
|Last Updated ( Fri Oct 26, 2012 - 9:52am )|