5 things to watch as Delaware State hosts Saturday night game

The Delaware State football team wraps up a two-week stint at Alumni Stadium with a visit from Robert Morris University of the Big South. With the weather being a question mark, this game could really go either way as the Hornets (2-2) look to rebound from a 26-13 loss to Merrimack last weekend.

The Colonials (0-3) are looking for their first win of the season and come into Dover fresh off a 45-3 drubbing courtesy of East Tennessee State on Saturday. Here’s what to watch for (with an umbrella, most likely) on Saturday.

1. Hornets defense looks to bounce back

While rain is in the forecast for Saturday, the bright light that is the Delaware State University defense will be tasked with keeping watch over a Robert Morris offense that has scored just 37 points total in its first three games.

The Colonials, much like Merrimack, are a pass-happy team (211 yards per game) that struggles with the run (just 36.3 yards per game). The Hornets had some trouble against Merrimack’s game plan shift last weekend, so as Rod Milstead said after Saturday’s loss, correcting those mistakes in practice will be key.

2. Robert Morris linebacker duo guides defense

Albany transfer Joe Casale and Amauri Floyd are the leaders of the Robert Morris defense – 1-2 on the team in total tackles, tackles for loss and Casale has the Colonials’ lone sack of the season. Against an injured DelState offensive line, the Colonials could improve those numbers, so the hope for the Hornets is some healing power before Saturday has them ready to protect their quarterbacks.

3. A better start needed for DelState

The Hornets have fallen behind in every game except the opener against Lincoln and that has cost them dearly against in-state rival Delaware and Merrimack. Robert Morris would settle for any kind of positive opening after being outscored 76-17 the previous two weeks of the season, so whoever can score first likely wins this game.

4. Robert Morris quarterbacks and receivers share the wealth

The Colonials have had three quarterbacks (Jake Simmons, Anthony Chiccitt and Corbin LaFrance) see substantial time this season and at least 17 different players have caught a pass in the first three contests.

The leaders of their receiving corps are junior receiver Devon Mondy and running back Alijah Jackson, each with 10 receptions so far. The Hornet secondary, facing another offense with multiple pass catchers, must continue to improve if they are to keep the Robert Morris offense from getting started early.

5. Good vibes going into the bye

DelState will have the week of Oct. 8 off before the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule begins with trips to Norfolk State and Howard before coming back home to face FCS-top-25-ranked North Carolina Central for homecoming.

If the Hornets are to realize the goal of the program’s first winning season in a decade, a win over Robert Morris going into an off week is critical and would do wonders for their confidence heading into conference play.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: 5 keys for Delaware State football's home game this Saturday night