Dover, DE—November 19---Travis Tarpely caught a 28-yard touchdowns pass from Nick Elko and Darius Jackson followed with a two-point conversion on a pass from Elko to lead Delaware State to 39-36 win over Howard in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season finale at Alumni Stadium.
The win was the first conference victory of the season for the Hornets (3-8 overall, 1-7 in the MEAC) and it spoiled the Bison's attempt for their first winning season in almost a decade.
Howard (5-6 overall, 4-4 in the MEAC) appeared to be in good shape when it parlayed a safety
and a Terrance Leffall two-yard TD run into a 36-24 advantage at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
But Delaware State crept to within 36-31 on a 38-yard Elko to Tarpley TD pass at the 12:09 mark. The Bison were looking to run some time off the clock, but the Hornets defense stepped up and forced a Bryan Jackson punt that gave DSU the ball at its own 40-yard line.
Elko, who completed 28 of 44 for 324 yards and three TDs, engineered an eight-play, 60-yard
drive that culminated in the hookup to Tarpley, who grabbed a school-record 13 receptions for 150 yards. Elko then found a wide-open Jackson for the two-point conversion.
The Bison still had a chance on their possession. Freshman quarterback Greg McGhee took over
at his own 30-yard line with 2:11 on the clock. He moved the team down to the Delaware State 26-yard line. With no timeouts remaining and one second on the clock, Parker Munoz attempted a 43-yard field goal that came up short as the clock ran out.
"Everything was self inflicted out there for us today," said Howard first year head coach Gary
Harrell. "They wanted to win just like us. It's not as much what they did to us as what we did to
ourselves. We had a lot of missed assignments."
The game was a seesaw affair that went back and forth in the first half. Howard led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Hornets took a 17-14 lead on an 11-yard TD pass from Elko to Justin Wilson. The Bison regained the lead at 21-17 on a 26-yard TD run by McGhee with 5:38 in the second quarter.
Jaashawn Jones helped the Hornets regain the lead at 24-21 on a three-yard run three minutes
later. Howard closed out the half on a 16-yard TD pass from McGhee to Charles Anderson.
The Hornets, who has struggled on offense of late, had its best production of the season (412 yards total offense) against the Bison, which is ranked nationally in several statistical categories.
"There were just too many missed opportunites," said lamented linebacker Keith Pough, who finished with 12 tackles. "The defense missed a lot of tackles and did not take advantage of the chances we had."
McGhee completed 20 of 26 passes for 168 yards and rushed for 63 yards and a TD. Leffall led
all rushers with 94 yards on 34 carries and two TDs.