Dover, DE - Nick Elko completed 22-of-36 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown, and Travis Tarpley had nine catches for 128 yards and a score to lead Delaware State to a 24-0 homecoming win over North Carolina A&T at Alumni Stadium today.
The Hornets won their third straight game to improve to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the MEAC. The Aggies fell to 3-4 and 1-3.
The shutout was DSU's first since blanking North Carolina A&T 27-0 in 2007. The Hornets have also won three straight MEAC games since the 2007 season.
The Hornet defense forced three more turnovers in the contest, including an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Jermond Colston to give DSU a 24-0 lead with 1:56 left to play.
Delaware State was second among all FCS schools with a +1.7 turnover margin entering the contest. The Hornets have forced 20 turnovers this season, after collecting 13 for all of the 2011 campaign.
Cornerback Joe Boyd and linebacker Ernest Adjei led the Hornets with 12 tackles each.
After a scoreless first quarter, Delaware State took advantage of good field position to get on board early in the second quarter.
Eight plays after beginning a drive at their 47 yard line, the Hornets scored the game's first touchdown on a one-yard run by freshman Nagee Jackson with 13:55 left in the second quarter. The eight-play, 53-yard drive (3:00) was highlighted by a 23-yard pass from Elko and Tarpley to the NCA&T 23 yard line. Elko and Tarpley also connected on a 12-yard pass to the Aggie 4. Mitchell Ward's extra point kick gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead.
Jackson leads the Hornets with four rushing touchdown this season.
On the ensuing possession, Delaware State safety Davon Moore forced a fumble by North Carolina A&T's Leroy Bradford. Hornet linebacker Herman Hinton recovered the ball, returning it to the Aggie 37.
Six plays after the turnover, Elko and Tarpley struck again on a 13-yard touchdown pass to give the Hornets a 13-0 lead with 10:16 left in the second quarter. Elko completed 4-of-5 passes for 30 yards during the drive.
Tarpley has moved into fourth place on the Hornets' all-time receptions list with 143. He's also climbed to eighth in team history with 1,648 receiving yards.
Delaware State led 14-0 at the half.
The Hornets were still ahead 14-0 and had a first and goal at the NCA&T 6 late in third quarter, but had to settle for a field goal. Ward's 23-yard field goal, his sixth of the season, gave DSU a 17-0 lead with two seconds left in the third quarter.
North Carolina A&T had a second-and-1 at the DSU 35 when Colston intercepted Lewis Kindle's pass at the 15 and sprinted down the sideline for a touchdown to give the Hornets a 23-0 lead. The interception return was the longest by a Hornet since Akeem Green's 86-yard touchdown, also vs. NCA&T, in 2007.
The interception was the third of Colston's career, and marked the second straight week that the Hornets have returned an interception for a touchdown. Terrick Colston had a "Pick 6" in last week's 31-17 win over South Carolina State.
Delaware State has 10 interceptions this season after recording just seven last year.
Kindle completed 23-of-36 passes for 174 yards for the Aggies. NCA&T running back Mike Mayhew, the 2012 MEAC Preseason Offensive Player-of-the-Year, was held to 50 yards on 14 carries.
Isaiah Martin and Tony Clodfelter led the Aggies with 12 tackles each.
The Hornets will seek their fourth straight win this Thursday (Oct. 25) at Morgan State. The 7:30 p.m. contest will be televised live on ESPNU.
Delaware State is now 32-12 in homecoming games since 1969 ... Elko has now thrown 141 straight passes without an interception ... Wilson now has 1,990 receiving yards to move into fourth place in team history.