ORANGEBURG – On the heels of a hardfought 17-16 win, in October, 2007, the Delaware State Hornets left this Garden City of South Carolina as the South Carolina State Bulldogs and their followers began to deal with the stinging Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) setback, which became the lowlight of Homecoming â€˜07.
The aforementioned loss to Del State knocked the Bulldogs out of contention for the conference crown that season and put the visiting Hornets in the driverâ€™s seat for a league title they eventually won, on the strength of an 8-0 run among family members.
Flash to the present.
In less than 48 hours itâ€™ll be Delaware St.-S.C. State time again when the Hornets pay a return visit to Dawson Bulldog Stadium, as the foe of the host Bulldogs, in the feature attraction of Homecoming 2009. Kick-off time for this conference duel is set for Sat. (Oct. 31),at 1:30 p.m.
After spanking league opponent Morgan State by 13 points (35-22) Saturday (10/24), in Baltimore, Al Lavanâ€™s Hornets come into their matchup opposite Buddy Poughâ€™s Bulldogs with a 2-2 league mark, and a 2-3 overall record.
Spoiling the Homecoming of MEAC foe Hampton this past weekend, with a 21-9 drubbing of the host Pirates, at Armstrong Stadium, the 10th ranked Bulldogs head into competition versus the Hornets sporting a 6-1,4-0 MEAC worksheet.
Keenly aware of the results of the â€˜07 contest involving his charges and the Hornets, Pough, earlier in the week, pointed out the need for his team to execute better, on both sides of the ball, in order for it to avoid the results of two seasons ago.
"We know the kind of team Delaware State has; so if we expect to change the results of two years ago, we have to be ready to play a much better game than we played then," the SCSU coach said. "Even though we have a good record now, we certainly canâ€™t just show up and expect to win.
"But like every game we go into, we just want to show improvement over the last game we played. If we can continue to make individual improvements, I like our chances against Delaware State."
Agreeing that this is the time of year to be performing at a higher level, Malcolm Long believes that he and mates are on track to closing out another successful regular season.
"We arenâ€™t where we want to be yet," said the Bulldogs junior starting quarterback. "But so far, after each game, I can see us rounding into a better team.
"As far as our overall game, we still have some things we can fix,"added Long. "Weâ€™re making progress (toward our goals), but we canâ€™t afford to relax. Our job is to keep trying to get better. That, as always, is the key to our success.
"Because of what happened to us two years ago against Delaware State, we definitely want to be ready to play well and beat them this time."
Following their encounter against Del State, S.C. State is slated to contest Howard, in our nationâ€™s capital on Sat., Nov. 7. Starting time for this MEAC game is 1 p.m., at Green Stadium.
In its outing set for the first Sat. in the 11th month of the year, Delaware State is slated to confront Winston-Salem State, in North Carolina.