Hello: Delaware State

Submitted by Tim on February 6th, 2009 at 1:42 PM

There's a Delaware State?

DSU is a historically black college located in Dover (the capital of The Small Wonder). The school has just over 3,000 students, making it slightly larger than Ann Arbor Pioneer. It was founded as an agricultural school for blacks by the Morrill Act when the doctrine of Separate but Equal kept them out of schools for white students.

Who are the Delaware State Hornets?

DSU's athletic teams are the Hornets, and their colors are Cherry Red and Columbia Blue. They compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) of Division 1-AA. Their football stadium, creatively named "Alumni Stadium" holds 7,193 spectators, by far the smallest of any team Michigan has played in the modern era.

Delaware State is not the 1-AA superpower that Appalachian State was in 2007. The Hornets are an average-ish team in the MEAC, and though they went undefeated in conference in 2007 (their only losses on the year were to 1-A foe Kent State and in the playoffs to 1-AA National runner-up Delaware (the first ever meeting between the two schools, something of a controversial topic)). This past year, however, the team went 5-6, missing out on the 1-AA playoffs.

What Should We Expect?

Head coach Al Lavan has brought a new era of respectability to the Hornets' football program, as the 2007 playoff appearance was the school's first ever. He is 35-22 in his four years in Dover, with the only losing season coming last year.

The Hornets finished 94th out of 118 1-AA teams in total offense, but their defense was stellar, finishing 13th in the country. That wasn't just a product of playing awful offenses from the MEAC, either, as many of them finished middle-of-the-pack or better in 1-AA for total offense.

As you'll see in a moment, last year wasn't exactly a rebuilding one for Del State: They will come into this year minus a ton of talent from last year's senior class.


The Hornets' pass offense loses 4-year starter Vashon Winton, and will be breaking in a new signal-caller. In addition, they lose 2 of their top 3 receivers.

Speaking of those receivers, one of them was departing tailback Chris Strother, who leaves, along with the next two top rushers, one of whom was Winton. Though I can't find any definitive info, the rushing yardage for a QB would certainly imply that Delaware State employs some type of spread offense.


Leading tackler Kevin Conner has graduated (along with fellow linebacker Jackie Watkins), and defensive back Avery Grant is the returning leader in that department. He is also the team's returning leader in tackles for a loss (that's right, as a DB), with a whopping 8.5. The defensive line loses a pair of stalwarts as well, with Ronn Spinner Jr. And Akiel Russell mobing on. The remaining starter at linebacker, Joe Mendes, led the team in sacks last year.

The distribution of statistic would lead me to believe that the hornets imply some form of spread defense, likely a 3-3-5 with Grant, the team's star, at Rover/Bandit.


This has been a first glance at the Delaware State Hornets, and I'm sure both Brian and I will give them a more thorough treatment over the off-season and leading up to the game.

The author is the publisher of Varsity Blue.


Six Zero

February 6th, 2009 at 2:07 PM ^

That logo solution sucks ass and balls.

In their 'honor' I may very well have to create one for everyone's perusal here sometime before they cower in the shadows of the Big House. If you all care, that is...

Elno Lewis

February 6th, 2009 at 2:32 PM ^

Bo once was asked what his biggest embarrassment as a coach. Everyone thought he would say bowl losses or something.

He said, lining up against Long Beach State.

(I hope I got the college right.)

This is embarrassing. I'd rather lose to a BCS school than beat Delyware State whatever. This is like getting in a fight with a girl. Win, and so what--you are a jerk for even fighting her. Lose, and well, you just lost to Appy State.

This is just plain stupid.


February 6th, 2009 at 3:09 PM ^

I kinda feel like this is a shitty thing to do to the fans, especially season ticket holders. I mean is anyone really going to enjoy watching this game? If it's a blowout it will suck, and if it's close I will feel like shit. Oh well I guess.


February 6th, 2009 at 3:40 PM ^

Whoa, I can't believe that everyone is somehow "shocked and dismayed".

This is exactly what the NCAA intended when they added a 12th game. More $$$$$$ and no risk.

The NCAA could have prohibited FCS games. They did not. So, it is obvious this is their intent.

At least you are not being "forced" to pay for pre-season games that do not even count a la the NFL.

And yeah, I guarantee everyone will be cheering when we beat the Hornets.


February 6th, 2009 at 4:44 PM ^

Michigan games without a point spread.

WTF am I supposed to gamble on?!!?

Actually, if we dig around, I'm sure we'll find a book come 10/17 that will offer a line.


February 6th, 2009 at 4:47 PM ^

Just to give people an idea of the quality of the matchup...

In 2008, the point difference between Florida and Michigan in any reasonable computer ratings was actually smaller than the difference between Michigan and Delaware State.

Appalachian State was around #70 in the nation (give or take) in the 2006 season. Delaware State was around #250 or so last year. The computer ratings would have put Delaware State in 7th place in the GLIAC, right between Hillsdale and Ferris State.

tom c

February 6th, 2009 at 5:41 PM ^

Sorry but we don't need this.If that makes our sixth or seventh win then we should stay home. Coastal would have been a much better choice though not great.


February 7th, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

This one has hit a sore spot for all University of Delaware fans.I know Michigan fans don't care but many Hen fans would give their whatever to play UM and you bums schedule DSU!

DSU tried to get this one for the money and insult the real Delaware University.We are the school with two great UM alums,Dave Nelson and Tubby Raymond(over 300 victories).We also have the tradition of several NCAA small college championships.You guys wouldn't dare play us so you participated in a ruse and played DSU.The other school in our state.Hey,if UM cannot beat DSU next season your shame will live on forever.They are no Appy State and they are certainly not the University of Delaware.Your season ticket holders should raise hell.