DOVER, Del. -- Delaware State came up with big plays on both sides of the ball and beat Hampton, 35-27, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game on Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
Delaware State (6-4, 5-2 the MEAC) never trailed, taking a 7-0 lead after the Hornets' defense came up with a turnover on Hampton's first offensive play of the game.
Linebacker Olusegun Ayanbiola stripped the ball from wide receiver Andre Griffin and defensive back Nick Williams recovered for Delaware State on the Hornets' 39.
The Hornets State drove to the Pirates 48, and on third-and-11, senior quarterback Nick Elko threw a short pass over the middle to wide receiver Travis Tarpley.
Tarpley split the Hampton defense and outran the Pirates to the end zone, giving Delaware State a 7-0 lead with 10:48 left in the first quarter.
Hampton (2-7, 2-5) drove inside the Delaware State 10-yard-line twice, but had to settle for field goals of 22 and 29 yards by Taurean Durham, and trailed, 7-6, early in the second quarter.
Soon after, Hampton made another major gaffe that Delaware State turned into a touchdown. The Hornets' Mike Davis scooped up a fumble and returned 34 yards to the Hampton five-year-line.
Two plays later, running back Najee Jackson bulled over from the two and Delaware State led 14-6.
Hampton finally made it into the end zone on its next possession.
The Pirates had third-and-goal from the Delaware State seven-yard-line when quarterback Travis Champion found wide receiver Tikeem Platt for the touchdown.
Hampton try for a two-point conversion failed and the teams headed to the locker rooms at halftime with Delaware State holding a 14-12 lead.
It stayed that way for most of the third quarter, before Delaware State put on a 70-yard, 14-play touchdown drive, converting a fourth-and-two from the Hampton nine-yard-line along the way.
Jackson plowed into the end zone from the two and the Hornets led, 21-12, with 1:24 left in the third period.
But Hampton made it interesting in the fourth quarter, when wide receiver Jarvaris Brown got open down the left sideline for a 24-yard touchdown reception with 13:13 left to pull the Pirates to within 21-19.
It stayed that way for exactly one play.
Delaware State took over on its 17, from where and Tarpley and Elko hooked up on the same play that got them their first touchdown. This time Tarpley broke free over the middle for an 83-yard touchdown and the Hornets were back on top, 28-19.
NOTES: Hampton running back Jeremiah Schwartz, the leading rusher in the MEAC, carried the ball 24 times for 136 yards. He has 930 yards for the season. ... Delaware State coach Kermit Blount, in his second season with the Hornets, claimed the 100th victory of his coaching career. He was 91-87-3 before coming to Dover. ... Hampton leads the series, 24-14, winning five of the last eight. ... Hampton freshman quarterback Brian Swain made his second career start. He's the fourth quarterback to throw at least 20 passes this season for the Pirates.