Story and photo courtesy of Delaware State Athletics
DOVER, Del. - Nick Elko ran four yards for a touchdown with 45 seconds left to lift Delaware State to a 17-10 season opening win over VMI at Alumni Stadium this afternoon.
The touchdown capped off a nine-play, 55-yard drive that consumed a minute-45 seconds.
VMI drove to the Delaware State 38-yard line on the game's final possession, but Erik Kordenbrock's desperation pass was intercepted by DSU's Ronald Robinson in the endzone as time expired.
Delaware State led 10-0 at halftime, but VMI scored a touchdown in the third quarter and added a field goal with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
DSU's Malcolm Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the Hornet 45-yard line to jumpstart the game-winning touchdown drive.
The Hornets faced a fourth-and-one at the VMI 46 when Williams rushed two yards to sustain the drive.
On the next play, Elko completed a five-yard pass to Justin Wilson to the VMI 39. A VMI personal foul on the play gave the Hornets a first down at the Keydets' 26. Two plays later, Elko and Travis Tarpley connected on a 14-yard pass to the VMI 12.
Delaware State faced a second-and-goal at the four when Elko faked a hand-off then scampered around the right end the endzone to give the Hornets a 16-10 lead. Mitchell Ward tacked on the extra point to give DSU a seven point lead.
"I'm really proud of our guys for not hanging their heads after VMI came back to tie the game," said DSU head coach Kermit Blount, who improved to 2-0 vs. the Keydets. "Our defense came up with some big stops deep in our territory to keep VMI from taking the lead and the offense had some great execution on the winning drive."
Elko completed 18 of 33 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. Williams led the Hornets with 76 yards rushing on 13 carries. Wilson had a game high eight catches for 71 yards.
Terrick Colston was DSU's top defender with 12 tackles, including seven solo stops.
The Hornets return to action next Saturday (Sep. 8) at the University of Delaware in the First State Rivalry. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Tubby Raymond Field in Newark. The game will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network.