Dover, Del. — For the second straight season opener, a defensive touchdown by Esaias Guthrie was the difference in a Delaware State victory.
Guthrie returned a second-quarter pick 87 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to highlight the Hornets’ 32-24 victory over Bowie State in the fall 2021 opener for both teams before a crowd of 5,125 at Alumni Stadium, the largest since 2007.
Running back Sy’veon Wilkerson rushed for a game-high 92 yards and three touchdowns to lead the DSU offense.
Guthrie’s pick-six was the longest by a Hornet since Billy Alston had an 88-yard return for a score in 1982. His TD gave the Hornets a 26-3 lead with 41 seconds left in the second quarter.
Guthrie also returned an interception for a score in DSU’s 17-10 spring 2021 opening day victory against Howard. He added a fourth-quarter pick today, becoming the first Hornet with two in a game since Davon Moore vs. Norfolk State in 2014.
Delaware State had four interceptions in the contest game, its most since picking off Virginia Lynchburg in 2018. DSU also recovered two Bowie State fumbles to give it six turnovers in the contest.
The Hornets opened the scoring on a one-yard plunge by quarterback Tylik Bethea with 8:59 to go in the first quarter. The six-play, 44-yard drive began on a sack and fumble recovery by the Hornets. The extra point failed after a bad snap to keep the DSU lead at 6-0.
Delaware State took advantage of another Bowie State turnover for its second score of the game. Five plays after an interception by Romell Harris-Freeman gave the Hornets the ball at the Bowie State 17, Wilkerson scored his first touchdown on a two-yard run with 5:47 left in the opening quarter. DSU attempted a two-point pass after the score, but the attempt failed, keeping the lead at 12-0.
A big special teams play led to the Hornets’ third touchdown of the first quarter. Six plays after a punt block by Trey Gross, Wilkerson scored his second touchdown of the game on a six-yard run. The extra point kick by Jake Bridel gave DSU a 19-0 lead with 57 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
The Hornets led 26-3 at the half.
Bowie State pulled to within 26-15 after back-to-back touchdowns to open the second half, but Wilkerson scored his third TD of the game on an 11-yard run to cap off an impressive eight-play, 70-yard drive with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter.
Bowie State quarterback Ja’rome Johnson completed 14 of 29 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns but was hurt by the four interceptions. He also led the Bulldogs with 56 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Bethea completed nine of 18 passes for 76 yards, without an interception.
In addition to the four interceptions and six total turnovers forced, the Hornets also blocked three kicks, with Kevin Deshields blocking two extra-point attempts to go along with the punt block by Gross.
Courtesy: Delaware State athletics