The Delta State University football team scrimmaged for the first time this fall for more than an hour Sunday, Aug. 16 at Parker Field-McCool Stadium. Coach Todd Cooley and his staff engineered the 115-play scrimmage in near-record time in front of an enthusiastic crowd ready to see the season get underway.
“Proud of the effort our guys gave today, but we have got to find ways to focus from the first whistle,” Cooley said. “Our men have to understand that every practice, every scrimmage is a job interview and that there is something on the line each time we strap on the pads.”
The first completion of Sunday’s scrimmage came from freshman Tyler Cameron, who zipped a quick out to Ladarrell Hunt for a six-yard gain. Cameron connected with Darius Powell for a 9-yard gain to pick up the first down. After back-to-back rushes by Eddie McCadney and a gain of nine yards, the drive stalled on a 4th-and-1. The green-shirted defenders swarmed the line and buried McCadney for a 1-yard loss to end the threat.
After a slow start, junior All-American Tyler Sullivan reeled off six consecutive completions, including a 13-yard strike to K’Shun Evans. The long pass play setup DSU’s first scoring play of the game, a 42-yard field goal from junior Vince Sciorrotta.
The next opportunity for the first team offense was short-lived, as Brian Jones and Jetarrian Wren recorded sacks. Facing a 3rd-and-17, Wren collapsed the pocket and sacked Sullivan.
Justin McArthur, who sat out last season with an injury, scored the first touchdown of the day on a 9-yard scamper off the right side. Sullivan was 4-for-4 on the drive, including a 31-yard strike to Collin Floyd.
After back-to-back stops by the defense on consecutive possessions, Jarvis York took a Sullivan screen pass 68 yards to the 7-yard line. The big play led to Sciorrotta’s second field goal of the game, a 27-yarder from the right hash. Defensively, a pass breakup by Trey Shaw and heavy pressure from the interior line held the offense to the field goal attempt.
The biggest pass play of the scrimmage came late in the day, as Sullivan hit York on a quick slant and the senior ran 98 yards for the second touchdown of the game.
On the next possession, the Statesmen defense held tight, as De’Monterious Kendrick picked off a Sullivan fade to the corner intended for Powell. Sullivan had attempted 23 passes without throwing an interception.
Cooley and his staff used the remainder of the scrimmage to work everything from short yardage goal line sets to down-and-distance variables.
“We tried to throw everything we could at them today,” Cooley added. “While execution is never where you want it in the first scrimmage, we did see some positive things. With all that said, we have a lot to work on this week. Thankfully, we still have two weeks of practice before game week.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Sullivan finished the day 20-of-27 passing for 349 yards and three touchdowns.
Cameron was 8-of-15 for 64 yards and a score, while Willis was 9-of-16 for 76 yards and a touchdown.
York had the big day receiving, hauling in four passes for 175 yards and a pair of scores.
Freshman Jordan McClendon caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Willis.
McArthur was the leading rusher on the day, carrying the ball four times for 29 yards and a score.
Sciorrotta was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including 42-yard and 36-yard efforts.
Kendrick finished the day with the lone interception for the defense.
A total of six fumbles were forced by the defense in Sunday’s tilt.
Marquis Coston and Jeterrian Wren finished with 1.5 sacks each to lead the defense.
The Delta defenders closed the day with seven sacks.
Offense committed six penalties for 45 yards, while the defense committed two for 20 yards.
Several key defenders did not see action in Sunday’s scrimmage.
“We appreciate all the support from our students, faculty, staff and fans today,” Cooley added. “We had a tremendous crowd today, and we hope to see you all on Sept. 3 when we face Fort Valley State in the season-opener at 6 p.m. at Parker Field-McCool Stadium.”
The Statesmen will hold their second scrimmage of the fall next Sunday, Aug. 23. Kickoff is set for 4:45 p.m. Gates open at 4 p.m. at Parker Field-McCool Stadium. The scrimmage is free and the public is invited to attend.
2015 Delta State Statesmen Schedule
Date Opponent Location Home / Away Time/Result Details
9/3/2015 Fort Valley State University Cleveland, Miss. H 6:00 p.m.
9/12/2015 Texas A&M University – Commerce Commerce, Texas A 7:00 p.m.
9/19/2015 Kentucky Wesleyan College (PP) Cleveland, Miss. H 6:00 p.m.
9/26/2015 Albany State University Cleveland, Miss. H 2:00 p.m.
10/3/2015 Florida Institute of Technology (GSC-TV) H 6:00 p.m.
10/10/2015 Shorter University (Ga.) Rome, Ga. A 1:30 p.m.
10/17/2015 University of West Georgia Cleveland, Miss. H 6:00 p.m.
10/24/2015 University of West Alabama Cleveland, Miss. H 6:00 p.m.
10/31/2015 University of North Alabama Florence, Ala. A 1:30 p.m.
11/7/2015 Valdosta State University (HC) Cleveland, Miss. H 4:00 p.m.
11/14/2015 Mississippi College (GSC-TV) Clinton, Miss. A 3:00 p.m.
11/21/2015 NCAA 1st Round Campus Sites N TBA
11/28/2015 NCAA 2nd Round Campus Sites N TBA
12/5/2015 NCAA Quarterfinals Campus Sites N TBA
12/12/2015 NCAA Semifinals Campus Sites N TBA
12/19/2015 NCAA Championship Kansas City, Mo. N TBA