Hornets fall to MVSU Delta Devils



During the ASU vs. MVSU football game, quarterback Ryan Nettles receives the snap from a Hornets offensive lineman.

Kendal Manns, Senior Staff Reporter/Writer

The Alabama State University Hornets played their final road game of the season against the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils on Nov. 13,  at Rice-Totten Field in Itta Bena, Mississippi. The Hornets were favored to win this game due to the struggles of the Delta Devils as they only had two wins on the season.

The Delta Devils got on the board first when Conor Regan scored from one yard, on the first possession to finish off a nine-play, 72-yard drive with 10:54 to play in the first quarter. The Hornets responded with a five-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Brandon McDuffie. The Delta Devils followed this up with a touchdown of their own, giving them a 14-7 lead. 

The Hornets scored 10 unanswered points, giving them a 17-14 lead after freshman Robert McMinn returned a 60-yard punt which was his first of the season. After halftime, the Hornets marched down the field and topped it off with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Nettles to senior Ezra Gray to give the Hornets a 24-17 lead. However, the Delta Devils put together back-to-back strong drives, which included an 83-yard touchdown pass, and a 93-yard touchdown pass to go up 31-24 with 1:27 left to play. 

But the Hornets would not go down without a fight.  Junior Wallace Corker tied the game after an 11-yard touchdown reception. With under two minutes remaining, junior Brandon Gaddy blocked a field goal attempt by the Delta Devils, and senior Cameron Rampersaud recovered the ball to return it for what was thought to be a Hornet touchdown, but it was an offsides call against the Hornets. Unfortunately, the Delta Devils scored 14 unanswered points to give them the win over the Hornets. 

Interim head coach Travis Pearson spoke on the loss, “We got caught up in the words of the game. You have to go out there and compete for 60 minutes. We have two more games left at home.  We just need to go back to the drawing board.” He continued, “I can’t question these guys’ effort today. We just gave up two explosive plays because we missed tackles. I thought the offense, except for the turnovers, moved the ball well.” Pearson also spoke on the touchdown that was called back, “It’s a call you just have to live with it.” 

The Hornet leaders in stats were Ryan Nettles, who was 18-for-32 for 208 yards and three touchdowns. However, he threw three crucial interceptions. Juniors Joshua Knight and Jacory Meritt led the Hornets offensively, with Knight hauling a career-high seven receptions for 104 yards, while Merrit finished with nine carries for 69 yards. Senior Christian Clark led the Hornets defense with six tackles, including two tackles for loss.

The major story from this game was the Hornets struggled defensively after being ranked No. 6 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Delta Devils found a way to put up 493 yards against the Hornet’s defense, including picking up a key fourth-down conversion. Also, Ryan Nettles struggled with three interceptions which led to head Travis Pearson benching him in favor of freshman Nicholas Terry. The Hornets’ quarterback situation going into next week will be something to keep an eye on, as the Hornets have had consistency issues from this position all season long

This loss snaps an 11-game winning streak against the Delta Devils as they have not defeated the Hornets since 2008. Also, this loss ended any postseason hopes the Hornets had as the Jackson State Tigers clinched the Southwestern Athletic Conference East division. The Hornets will return home for their first of two games within five days where they will face the Texas Southern University Tigers on Nov. 20, followed by the much anticipated Turkey Day Classic, where they will face in-state rival Tuskegee University Tigers on Thanksgiving Day.