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Hens dominated by rival Villanova 28-7

Nov 18th, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

VILLANOVA, Pa. — This was supposed to be Delaware’s big chance to finally beat rival Villanova again.

And a victory might have even put the Blue Hens back in the NCAA FCS Division I football players for the first time in seven seasons.

But somebody forgot to tell the Wildcats.

It was struggling Villanova that came up with one of its best games of the season while resurgent Delaware never really showed up, falling to the Wildcats, 28-7, on a gloomy, drizzly Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium.

In ending the regular season at 5-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association, 7-4 overall, the Hens probably knocked themselves out of an NCAA at-large playoff berth — although their fate won’t be official until the FCS playoff bracket is announced today at 11 a.m.

More immediately, the loss was Delaware’s sixth in a row and 11th in the last 12 meetings with the Wildcats (3-5, 5-6) in the so-called ‘Battle of the Blue.’

“Nothing really went our way today,” said Hens’ coach Danny Rocco. “And I have no problem owning that. We didn’t get a break, didn’t get a bounce, didn’t really make a play until it was too late.

“I expected more. I’m disappointed.”

“I’m disappointed,” senior center Brody Kern said quietly. “Playing here for five years and never beating ‘Nova, is very, very frustrating.

“When it came down to it, I thought they had more energy than us. That plays a big part — especially in this rivalry game. Records are thrown out the window. It’s Villanova and Delaware, it’s always a tough game no matter what our records are.”

Running back Kani Kane and the Hens finished with only 121 rushing yards as a team. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

The game went south on Delaware from the start of the contest.

After the Hens went three-and-out on theor first possession, Villanova quickly drove 87 yards in just eight plays to grab a 7-0 lead. The backbreaker, though, came three plays later.

That’s when Villanova linebacker Jeff Steeb intercepted a pass across the middle and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

Suddenly, a Wildcat squad that had scored a total of just 28 points while losing its last four games owned a 14-0 lead less than eight minutes into the contest.

But Villanova did something pretty similar to start the third quarter. After going 63 yards on only three plays for one TD, another interception set up a fourth touchdown as the Wildcats’ advantage balooned to 28-0 with 7:07 still remaining in the third quarter.

“It’s just the reality of the game of football,” said Rocco. “Sometimes the team that doesn’t have as much on the line plays a little free-er, a little looser, they play up. They may have played one of their best games of the year. We did not.

“We just haven’t been starting well. And we did not start well today. Our ability to overcome that over the several weeks and months is really kind of extraordinary. Just today it was not going to happen.”

“I thought we could have and should have played better,” said junior linebacker Troy Reeder. “It’s disappointing the way it went.”

Even trailing only 14-0 in the second quarter, there some sense of desperation on the Hens’ part.

Delaware put together a 65-yard, 11-play drive just before halftime. On a fourth-and-five at the Villanova 18, The Hens were lined up to try a 35-yard field goal.

Instead, though, the Hens tried a fake, with holder/punter Nick Pritchard lobbing a pass for 6-foot-5 tight end Charles Scarff near the end zone. The Wildcats, however, were ready for the play with two defenders on Scarff to knock away the pass.

“I didn’t feel like we’d score a lot of points today,” Rocco explained. “I just felt that in that moment even a field goal still makes us have to score two touchdowns to take the lead.”

Delaware’s only touchdown came with 59 seconds left in the game, when quarterback J.P. Caruso (21-of-33, 197 yards, 2 interceptions) found receiver Jamie Jarmon on an 11-yard scoring pass. The TD capped off a 13-play, 95-yard march.

That drive also helped skew the final stats. The Hens finished with advantages of 336-322 in total yards and 18-16 in first downs but it didn’t do them any good.

How strongly the NCAA playoff committee wants to consider 7-4 Delaware remains to be seen but Rocco said he wasn’t optimistic.
“I hold little hope,” he said.

Reeder just hopes he and his teammates learn something from Saturday’s experience.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of winning around here as long as I’ve been here and before that,” said Reeder. “I think there’s an element to having to learn how to win that can really only be instilled by winning. I think we got a taste of winning this season.

“Had we won today we would have the amount of wins we had the last two seasons (combined). We beat Richmond, we lost to Towson. We beat Maine, beat Albany, we lose to ‘Nova — two pretty uncharacteristic games. This game probably wouldn’t have meant as much to us had we taken care of business earlier in the year.

“It’s unfortunate that the Towson game wasn’t enough for us to kind of realize not to get a big head and take care of business the same way every week. All I can hope is next season we’re able to do that.”

Extra points

Quarterback Joe Walker ran for a team-high 37 yards on nine carries. He also had three catches for 79 yards … Nose guard Bilal Nichols was ejected from the contest in the third quarter after an official ruled that the senior bumped a referee. … Safety Nasir Adderley had a team-high 12 tackles with senior Blaine Woodson adding 11. … Villanova completed only 5-of-8 passes for 61 yards. Running back Aaron Forbes carried most of the offense, finishing with 140 yards on 13 carries. … Senior receiver Diante Cherry didn’t play in the game.

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Slow Start Trips Up Blue Hens in 28-7 Loss to Villanova in Battle of the Blue
By Delaware Athletics Nov 18, 2017

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- This time, a slow start was just way too much to overcome for the University of Delaware football team.

Delaware, playing longtime rival Villanova in its annual Battle of the Blue rivalry, fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and could never recover in falling to the Wildcats by a 28-7 verdict at soggy Villanova Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Hens (7-4, 5-3 Colonial Athletic Association) fell to Villanova for the sixth straight time and for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons. Still, Delaware will hold out slim hopes of earning an at-large spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The 24-team field will be announced live at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.

If Saturday was indeed the final game of the 2017 campaign, it was a year in which the Blue Hens made great strides under first-year head coach Danny Rocco. Delaware nearly equaled the win total from the previous two years and won seven games for the first time since the 2014 season. The five wins in conference play marked the best season for the Hens since 2011 when the team also went 7-4 overall and 5-3 in league play.

The Blue Hens, who finished the regular season having won five of the final seven games, could not generate enough offense to keep up with Villanova, which had struggled offensively itself for most of the season. The Wildcats (5-6, 3-5 CAA) snapped a four-game losing streak.

Delaware fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter and was down 28-0 after Villanova scored twice in the third stanza. Earlier this season, the Hens came back from a 20-7 halftime deficit to Stony Brook, 10-0 to Maine, and 3-0 to Albany before mounting comebacks. This time, the comeback never materialized.

Delaware finished with more first downs (18 to 16) and total yardage (336 to 322) than Villanova but managed just 44 yards in the first quarter and just 116 in the opening half. The Hens were also hurt by two interceptions, including one in the first quarter when Villanova linebacker Jeff Steeb picked off a pass by J.P. Caruso and sprinted into the end zone untouched from 38 yards out to give VU a 14-0 lead six minutes into the game.

Curuso (above left) hit on 21 of 33 passes for a career-high 197 yards and an 11-yard touchdown strike to Jamie Jarmon with 59 seconds left in the game to avoid the shutout. Jarmon caught five passes for 26 yards while Vinny Papale had three catches for 70 yards and Joe Walker hauled in three passes for 79 yards. Walker also had a team-high 37 yards rushing and threw an 18-yard pass.

Defensively, Delaware allowed a season-high 261 yards rushing as Villanova running back Aaron Forbes ran for 140 yards. Quarterback Jack Schetelich threw two touchdown passes to Taurus Phillips and ran for another score.

Blue Hen safety Nasir Adderley led the Hens with 12 tackles and forced a fumble while senior defensive tackle Blaine Woodson made 11 stops, including sack.

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• Rocco, now in his 12th season as a college head coach, has never had a losing season and has won seven or more games 10 times
• Jarmon extended his pass-catching streak to 16 games and secured his team-leading sixth touchdown reception of the year. The six touchdowns is the most by a UD receiver since Michael Johnson had nine and current Baltimore Ravens tight end Nick Boyle had seven in 2013
• Jake Roth is tied for the UD single season record with 23 kickoff touchbacks this season
• Punter Nick Pritchard averaged 40.0 yards on five punts and had three land inside the Villanova 20-yard line. His 25 punts inside the 20-yard line breaks the UD single season record of 24 by All-American Eric Enderson in 2015
• Delaware did not force a turnover for the first time this season. The Hens had intercepted 10 passes over the last five games.
• All four Delaware ball carries had nine rushes on the day. Walker finished with a team-high 37 yards, Caruso added 34 yards, Khory Spruill (above right) had 29, and Kani Kane added 21.

HEAD COACH DANNY ROCCO
"We didn't start well today, which has happened several times this season, but we've always found a way to respond, which has been extraordinary. But today it just didn't happen. Nothing really seemed to go our way and we didn't make the plays when we needed to. I am disappointed and surprised that we didn't rise to the occasion. Villanova may have played one its best games of the season. Give them credit. They beat us to the punch in most phases of the game today."

On the future of Delaware Football
"Winning today really would have put us way ahead of schedule in terms of our rebuilding process. Seven wins is a solid season and we realize that. We won some tight games and beat some good football teams. I am excited about our future. We will learn from this experience and be a better football team next year."

SENIOR CO-CAPTAIN/CENTER BRODY KERN
"All season long we have been able to fight back and keep it close and rely on the defense to keep us in the game. We've used that energy to keep it going. It just didn't happen today. You just can't play all season like that. I thought both teams had a lot of energy today but they had more. It's disappointing."
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University of Delaware Athletics: Welcome to the 21st Century

November 14, 2017
by Kevin Noonan - http://townsquaredelaware.com/

UD is close to reaching their $60 million fundraising goal for a new Athletics Complex and stadium renovations

Last week, UD’s administration unveiled plans for a much-needed, $60 million upgrade to Delaware Stadium, which still resembles the type of stadiums that were around when players wore leather helmets and had nicknames like Bronco and Crazy Legs. 

A lot of that money will go to creature comforts for fans and media, which is nice and needed. But the real game-changer will be the new athletic training and weight rooms. That, more than a new press box (which, we assume, will finally include an elevator) is what will attract good players to Newark, and without good players and winning teams the other stuff doesn’t really matter. 

Delaware’s coaches, especially in football, have been handicapped for years because of UDs’ substandard facilities, and now the Blue Hens will finally be able to recruit on a level playing field, and recruiting if the lifeblood of any college sport. 

Delaware Stadium

For years, former Delaware football coach K.C. Keeler privately complained about UD’s facilities, even though he never publicly ripped the administration for Delaware’s antiquated (by 21st Century standards) stadium, weight room, etc. And Keeler sat by helplessly while one of Delaware’s biggest rivals, James Madison, poured millions into a refurbished stadium and state-of-art athletics center. 

Those kinds of things are especially important to a Division I-AA program when it comes to recruiting, and it’s not a coincidence that JMU is the defending national champion and currently ranked No. 1 in the nation. A big-time Division I program can entice recruits by telling them how many players it sends to the NFL or how many times it plays on national television. But for a kid being recruited by I-AA teams, things like nice, shiny facilities can make all the difference. 

Keeler used to say that Delaware had two things going for it when it came to recruiting – a winning tradition and a large and loyal fan base that few I-AA schools could match. But, in the end, Keeler also knew that didn’t mean as much as those facilities, and his constant harping on that to the administration certainly played a part in his getting fired after the 2012 season, even though he had won a national championship and made it to two more championship games. 

Fundraising continues for the UD Athletic Complex and stadium

By the way, we always enjoy pointing out how successful Keeler has been since getting the boot from UD. While it appears that Delaware has a good chance to make the I-AA playoffs this season, Keeler’s new team, Sam Houston State, is a shoo-in for the post-season — his Bearkats are 9-1 and ranked No. 4 in the nation. It will be the fourth time the Bearkats have made it to the playoffs in Keeler’s four seasons there and he’s compiled an overall record of 43-11 in that time. Last season, Keeler won the Eddie Robinson Award, which is named for the late, great Grambling coach and is given to the nation’s top I-AA coach. 

Now, finally, Keeler’s dream of better and more competitive Delaware facilities will be realized, even if he won’t be around to see it. 

Actually, it will be a while before anybody sees it, since this process is just beginning and everything won’t be finished for several years, which, of course, won’t help recruiting now. But at least the first steps are finally being taken and that’s what counts.

By the way, Delaware is still in the fund-raising process, so if you have any rich friends who are also rabid Blue Hen fans, tell them to get in touch with UD athletic director Chrissie Rawak. We guarantee she’ll return their call.

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Hen defense dominates in 22-3 home finale win over Albany
Nov 11th, 2017 · by Andy Walter Delaware State News

NEWARK — One by one, the seniors got up to say their goodbyes.

Going into their last home game, the Delaware football players thanked their teammates and talked about their careers on Friday night.

But center Brody Kern politely refused.

“I got up and I was like, ‘I’m not going to say thank you yet, because we’re not done yet,’” he told his teammates. “All I’m asking is we win tomorrow.”

And that’s what the Blue Hens did, reeling off 19 unanswered points in the second half to down Albany, 22-3, in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup before a crowd of 16,333 at chilly Delaware Stadium.

Now 5-2 in the CAA, 7-3 overall, Delaware believes a win at rival Villanova next Saturday in its regular-season finale will put it in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs for the first time since 2010.

So whether this was the seniors’ last game in Delaware Stadium is still up in the air. But they were going to do everything in their power to earn another game.

Safety Ray Jones goes up for one of the Hens’ three interceptions on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

What the Hens got on Saturday was a dominating defensive performance. The Great Danes (1-6 CAA, 3-7 overall) managed just six first downs and 120 yards — the lowest totals Delaware has surrendered in six seasons.

The amazing thing was that 80 of those yards and five of the first downs came on Albany’s second possession, an 18-play, almost-nine-minute march that resulted in a field goal for the Great Danes’ lone points of the contest.

“There was a reality that, ‘Oh my gosh, this could be a long afternoon if we cannot get them off the field,’” coach Danny Rocco said about Albany’s long drive. “But our kids have a lot of resolve on defense. And I think we have a lot of talent.

“So, as the game wears on, they’re just given more opportunities to make plays. I think, when it was all said and done, we wore them down a little bit today and that was the objective, really, from the very beginning.”

“We made a couple changes at halftime,” said junior safety Ray Jones. “After that, we came out and played our game like we were supposed to. We held them to three points and 120 yards, you really can’t do anything better than that.”

Delaware capped off its virtuoso defensive performance with three interceptions and a fumble recovery, all in the second half.

Offensively, the Hens scuffled for most of the first half. Only Frank Raggo’s 29-yard field goal on the last play of the first half allowed them to go in tied, 3-3, at intermission.

Freshman running back Khory Spruill ran for a season-high 86 yards and the first two TDs of his career. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Another Raggo field goal, this one from 36 yards, gave Delaware its first lead at 6-3 late in the third quarter.

That play was followed quickly by Christian Lohin’s block of an Albany punt in the end zone. The ball bounced out of the end zone for a safety that pushed the Hens’ lead to 8-3 going into the fourth quarter.

Finally, Delaware sealed the victory by turning to Khory Spruill. The freshman running back got in because starter Kani Kane (Sussex Tech) went down with a shoulder injury.

After not carrying the ball until the second half, the 6-foot, 215-pound Spruill ran for a season-high 86 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. The fourth-quarter TDs, on runs of six and one yard, were the first of his career.

“I watch our practice film each week and Khory catches my eye every single day,” said Rocco. “I mean there’s a reason we played him in August. I told him four weeks ago, I said ‘We’re going to need you in November.’ As it is, we certainly needed him today.”

“Coach always tells me to be ready to go every game,” said Spruill. “I practice with the ‘ones’ (starters) every week. It was really just about being ready when your number is called.

“Kani went down and I just wanted to make sure I filled his shoes the right way. I had to step up, not be a freshman and just make plays.”

The Hens, who also got 85 yards on 11 carries from quarterback Joe Walker, finished with a 14-minute edge in time of possession.

Whatever Delaware’s chances of making the playoffs, next week’s Villanova game is huge for the Hens.

Delaware has lost five years in a row and 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Wildcats (2-5, 4-6). The Hens would love to end that streak.

“There’s nobody on this team that has beaten Villanova,” said Kern. “So to say this game wasn’t circled on our schedule from the day Coach Rocco stepped in here, and last season ended, I’d be lying to you. If was definitely hard this week keeping that off our mind.”

“We have a chip on our shoulder right now,” said Jones. “We’re going to go up there with confidence. In practice all week, we’re going to go out there and compete. We’re going to give it our all and that’s all we’ve got to do.”

Extra points

Punter Nick Pritchard had two nice kicks that Jones ran under and caught at Albany’s one and two-yard lines. … Rocco didn’t know the extent of Kane’s injury. Kane ran for 34 yards on 10 carries before being hurt. … QB J.P. Caruso completed 7-of-11 passes for 51 yards. … Receiver Jamie Jarmon returned to the field after missing last week’s game with a bruised lung. He had two catches for six yards and didn’t run the ball. … Delaware’s interceptions came from defensive tackle Blaine Woodson, Jones and linebacker Anthony Jackson. … Linebacker Jalen Kindle had a team-high nine tackles.

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Defense Dominates, Spruill Scores Twice as Blue Hens Shut Down Albany, 22-3
By Delaware Athletics
Nov 11, 2017

NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware defense was dominating once again and freshman running back Khory Spruill enjoyed the finest day of his young career with two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Blue Hens ran past Albany in a 22-3 Colonial Athletic Association Football victory at festive Delaware Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Delaware (7-3, 5-2 CAA) won for the fifth time in the last six games and kept its postseason playoff hopes strong heading into the regular season finale next Saturday at longtime rival Villanova.

The Blue Hen defense was fierce as usual on Saturday afternoon, holding Albany to just six first downs - five of them on one first quarter drive - and 120 total yards while forcing four turnovers. The Great Danes (3-7, 1-6 CAA), who could muster only a first-quarter field goal to take a brief 3-0 lead, lost for the sixth straight game. Albany managed just 31 yards rushing on 21 carries and quarterback Will Brunson was 12 of 25 for 83 yards and was intercepted three times and sacked once.

Spruill, pressed into action when starter Kani Kane went down with an injury early in the second half, carried 20 times for a game and career-high 86 yards and scored on touchdowns of six and one-yard over in the final quarter as Delaware pulled away.

On one drive, Spruill carried seven straight times and ran the final 43 yards to cap off a scoring drive. He had entered the game having carried the ball just 22 times this season and just nine times over the last six games.

Delaware junior quarterback Joe Walker (#3 at bottom), who has moved into an all-purpose role as a runner, receiver, and passer, also ran for 85 yards on 11 carries. He went over the 1,000 career-yard mark in the process and became just the fifth quarterback in Delaware history to accumulate both 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a career.

Defensively, junior safety Ray Jones, senior defensive tackle Blaine Woodson (seven tackles), and senior linebacker Anthony Jackson (#11 below) each intercepted a pass, sophomore linebacker Christian Lohin blocked a punt out of bounds for a safety, and senior linebacker Jalen Kindle recorded a team-high nine tackles.

Sophomore punter Nick Pritchard punted five times and twice pinned Albany inside its own two-yard line with pinpoint accuracy as Jones settled under both punts to down the ball. In additon, junior kicker Frank Raggo converted field goals of 29 yards to end the first and 36 yards late in the third quarter to give Delaware a 6-3 lead.

A special ceremony took place at halftime as Delaware announced the launching of Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, the new university-wide fundraising and engagement campaign.

Athletics facilities are a top priority for the campaign with a $60 million goal to renovate Delaware Stadium and build a new state-of-the-art Athletic Center for student-athletes. Additionally, Delaware golf alum Ken Whitney, ’80, and his wife, Liz Whitney, have made a transformational lead gift of $10 million to name the Whitney Athletic Center, pushing the total individual commitments towards this campaign to $23 million and marking the largest individual gift in Delaware Athletics history.

HEAD COACH DANNY ROCCO
"Our defense was really extraordinary today. They (Albany) had only one real drive (first quarter field goal) that they were able to put together. We really played to our strengths. I was comfortable with the 3-3 tie at halftime because we were playing so well defensively, we had finally scored, and we were getting the ball first in the second half. We really responded in the second half, which is something we have done a lot of this season. Our kids really have a lot of talent and resolve. We wore Albany down and that was our objective. On offense, we were at our best when it mattered the most."

"Our senior class has been extraordinary with how they have been receptive to our message, the themes, and our goals. They have responded and they have led. We really need each other and everybody in our program as we move to make November meaningful. We have to have everyone on board. We have a lot of guys on this team that just want to win and sacrifice for the good of the team."

KHORY SPRUILL
"Coach (Rocco) always tells me to be ready every game. It's really about being ready when your number gets called and today I was ready. It really felt good (to get my first touchdown)."

RAY JONES
"We made a few changes today at halftime that really made a difference in the second half. You hold a team to three points and 120 yards, you can't do a lot better than that. We have a chip on our shoulder. We are going to go up there (next week at Villanova) with confidence and effort and give it our all and keep this thing going."

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• Delaware's seven wins is the most since the 2013 team went 7-4 but did not make the postseason
• Spruill's previous career-high rushing game was 39 yards vs. Cornell on Sept. 14
• Delaware's defensive effort of holding Albany to six first downs and 120 yards was its best performance since holding Delaware State to four first downs and 112 yards as part of a 45-0 win in 2011
• Junior WR Jamie Jarmon returned from a one-game layoff due to an injury and caught a pass to extend his pass-catching streak to 15 straight games
• Raggo, who is now 11 of 14 on field goals this season, also converted two extra points to extend his consecutive made streak to 64 straight, just three shy of the school record
• The Blue Hens went 5-1 at home this season and outscored opponents 154-75
• Delaware blocked a punt for the second straight game and the Hens have now intercepted 10 passes over the last five games while forcing 13 total turnovers
• Delaware heads to Villanova next Saturday, Nov. 18, for the regular season finale. The Hens will be looking for revenge after losing five straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings vs. the Wildcats
• Delaware honored its 18 seniors and their families in a pregame ceremony as part of Senior Day

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Blue Hens 80 Percent to $60 Million Fundraising Goal for New Athletic Center and Delaware Stadium Renovations

Nov 11, 2017
By Danny Sirdofsky on behalf of Delaware Athletics



Not much has changed at Delaware Stadium over the last 50 years. On fall Saturdays families still drive in from all over the region to watch the Fightin’ Blue Hens on the gridiron, the Victory Bell still rings after each Delaware touchdown and the marching band still proudly takes the field at halftime. But while these traditions are treasured mainstays of the Delaware Athletics experience, one thing that has not stood the test of time is the stadium itself, or the training, wellness, weightlifting and academic facilities that have been inadequate or non-existent for Blue Hen student-athletes across all sports.

Almost 45 years since any major renovations occurred, the University of Delaware will give the state’s most prominent stadium—and the entire UD athletics campus — a much needed facelift through Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, the new university-wide fundraising and engagement campaign. Athletics facilities are a top priority for the campaign with a $60 million goal to renovate Delaware Stadium and build a new state-of-the-art Athletic Center for student-athletes.

Having gone much longer than any other school in the Colonial Athletic Association since undertaking a major stadium renovation—every other school in the conference has completed a major renovation since 2000—the University, Board of Trustees and President Dennis Assanis have announced a commitment of $25 million to help “build our home.”

“Athletics is an essential part of creating an extraordinary experience for all UD students, and our student-athletes and fans deserve top-notch facilities,” President Assanis said. “Through the Delaware First campaign, we are committed to strengthening the Athletics program to benefit the Blue Hen nation now and for generations to come.”

Additionally, Delaware golf alum Ken Whitney, ’80, and his wife, Liz Whitney, have made a transformational lead gift of $10 million to name the Whitney Athletic Center, pushing the total individual commitments towards this campaign to $23 million and marking the largest individual gift in Delaware Athletics history. Ken, a current Delaware Board of Trustees member, and his wife have previously established the Whitney Family Scholarship Endowment and the Whitney Family Endowed Chair in the Lerner College of Business and Economics in 2011. 

“We are excited in knowing the multiple ways this new center will enhance the student-athlete experience at the University for years to come. We also strongly believe in the positive impact athletics can have across an entire university community and beyond,” said Ken and Liz Whitney.

With the University investment and $23 million already raised by the athletic department, more than 80 percent of the campaign goal has been reached as of November 2017. 

Building Our Home

The plan to rebuild and reinvest in athletic facilities includes several phases. During the first, fans and student-athletes will see the following changes:

Renovating the west side of Delaware Stadium:
Chair backs for all seats in the middle three sections (C, D, E).
Upgraded restrooms and concessions.
Stadium Club space with bar, food and exclusive club seating.
Enhanced press box, including a game day production studio and coaches’ booths.
Construction of a new athletic center for all UD student-athletes that will extend along the stadium’s western facade to include:
Student Success Center
Integrated space for academic support, career preparation and leadership development.
Tutoring, mentoring and academic advising stations.
Computer lab that will considerably increase the number of computers currently available to UD student-athletes.
Academic lounge to build community and foster inter-team bonding.
Multipurpose rooms for guest lectures and press conferences. 
Health & Well-Being Center:
10,000-square-foot strength and conditioning space to accommodate multiple teams simultaneously.
Enhanced athletic training space with satellite area for physical therapy partnership.
On-site X-ray machines.
Grab-and-go healthy food options selected by UD nutritionist.
Sports psychology areas to provide mental health resources through private consultations, team workshops and athlete educational sessions.
Hydrotherapy tubs for rejuvenation and therapeutic needs.

“After talking with our dedicated community, partners and supporters, including student-athletes, coaches, alums, donors, staff and University leadership, it was clear that our priority this Campaign was to Build our Home,” said Chrissi Rawak, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services. “The overwhelming response was that this project was long overdue and we are excited to bring it to life through the investment from the University and the generous support of all those who want to see Delaware Athletics be successful today and ultimately nationally relevant.”

A key addition to the athletics campus will be the new 10,000-square-foot strength and conditioning space to meet the needs of every Blue Hen student-athlete. Inside, more than 100 can lift weights simultaneously, eliminating the present need for separate shifts to allow everyone use of the facilities. The new space will also house a much larger training room, which will get rid of long lines that stretch into the hallway during midday practices.

In addition, the center will have an X-ray machine, hydrotherapy tubs, computer stations and more academic resource space. It will also house offices for health and wellness (strength and conditioning, athletic training, sports medicine, nutrition and sports psychology), as well as student success (academic support, leadership development and career preparation), and include common areas so that all UD student athletes can spend more time together across teams. Perhaps most importantly, the new athletic center will bring together the entire athletic community and save student athletes a considerable amount of travel time by centralizing all resources in a single, state-of-the-art facility.

“The Athletics projects will add great value to the University and will have extraordinary benefits for many people, especially our student athletes,” said UD football head coach Danny Rocco. “The space, with training and academics, will create an environment and culture that will maximize the student-athlete experience. The first-class facility and stadium enhancements showcase the commitment to and vision for the future of our programs here at UD.”

To maximize use of these new resources, the athletic department will make the new hydrotherapy tubs available to UD’s Physical Therapy Clinic, the nation’s #1 ranked program, and the stadium’s club level will be available to rent for private events such as weddings and banquets.

Ground-floor kitchens will be used to teach student-athletes healthy cooking techniques (using food grown at the nearby College of Agriculture and Natural Resources) when they are not being used to prepare food for the concession stands on game days.

University Investment in Athletics

The athletics commitment is a key priority of the Delaware First campaign, which has an overall goal of $750 million. Other top priorities include enhancing graduate education, The Biden Institute and programs and initiatives for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Campaign will create an extraordinary student experience and extend the University’s impact on the world with financial support for scholarships, faculty support, research projects, facilities and experiential learning opportunities across UD.

“Our family believes in all of the great new initiatives happening at Delaware under the leadership of its new President, Dr. Assanis,” said Ken and Liz Whitney. “We are proud to be able to support the Blue Hens of today and tomorrow through the building of a new athletic center.”

The University’s investment in athletics does not stop with upgrading of facilities. The University has invested in health and wellbeing initiatives, including funding new sports psychologist and nutritionist positions for the athletic department, as well supporting the addition of much needed Assistant Coaching positions and scholarships across UD varsity teams.

“This will allow our coaching staff to compete for top recruits nationwide and to provide the best possible experience and support for our student athletes throughout their time here at Delaware,” said Rawak.

Renovation Countdown

Construction on the project will begin once 100 percent of the fundraising goal is met and should take approximately 18-24 months. The design phase for the project is currently underway and will take roughly a year to complete.

“We are immensely grateful to all of those who have given and will give to Delaware Athletics,” said Rawak. “None of this would be possible without the outstanding support of our Blue Hen community. This has been a long time coming and we are excited to say that the time is now.”

A core component of the Campaign is to unite Blue Hens around the globe in advancing The University of Delaware. In support of the belief that every gift counts, a Delaware Athletics crowdfunding page is available with the goal to gain participation from 1,882 donors in honor of athletics inaugural year at the University.

Donate at bluehens.com/DelawareFirst.

Following the completion of this phase of the current campaign, UD will continue to invest in the athletics campus in future phases by renovating the UD Field House, as well as the east side and end zones of the football stadium.

If you would like more information on the Delaware First Campaign and Athletics facility projects, please contact athletic development at bluehensclub@udel.edu or 302.831.8499.

ABOUT DELAWARE FIRST

Delaware First will strengthen the Blue Hen nation and raise funds to support student scholarships, endowed professorships, graduate fellowships, research, facilities and experiential learning opportunities across UD.

The Campaign will also help establish several potential programs to enhance graduate education, initiatives around innovation and entrepreneurship, partnerships through the Biden Institute and the construction of several new buildings around campus, including the biopharmaceutical building on STAR campus, as well as UD athletic facilities, among other strategic projects.

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Visiting Blue Hens rally for 31-17 victory over Maine
Nov 4th, 2017 · by Delaware State News · 

UD tight end Brandon Whaley (81) is congratulated after catching a first-half TD pass. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

PORTLAND, Maine — In the first quarter, it looked like Delaware’s playoff chances were hanging by a thread.

Spotting Maine a quick 10-point lead, the Blue Hens looked they were in for a rough afternoon.

But Delaware got its act together, scored 31 points over the final three quarters and came back home with a 31-17 Colonial Athletic Association football victory over the Black Bears on Saturday afternoon.

In clinching the program’s first winning season since 2013, the Hens (4-2 CAA, 6-3 overall) believe two more victories will also put them in line for their first NCAA Division I FCS playoff berth since 2010.

None of that seemed very likely, though, when Delaware trailed Maine (3-4, 4-4) 10-0 and were sputtering on offense.

“Today we did a great job of staying together as a team,” said senior nose tackle Bilal Nichols. “Coach (Danny) Rocco always says our strength is in the unity of this group. We really believe that. Whenever times get rough we count on each other. We never give up.

The Hens’ Joe Walker, who played a few different roles on Saturday, runs for some yards against Maine.

“This team is so resilient and that’s what I’m most proud of. We come each day and work hard and count on each other. We played our best when it mattered the most today. When we really needed stops, we got them. When we really needed to control the line of scrimmage, we did. When we needed to get to the QB, we did.”

The contest was tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter when Maine punt returner Micah Wright was stripped of the ball on a hit by Delaware safety Nasir Adderley.

Blue Hens freshman Colby Reeder scooped up the ball at the Maine four yard-line and lunged into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Hens a 24-17 lead with 13:22 remaining.

On the next Maine drive, the Delaware defense held the Bears to just four yards.

Then, on the ensuing drive, the Hens went 58 yards on 13 plays. The drive, which took nearly eight minutes off the clock, was capped by quarterback J.P. Caruso’s one-yard rushing touchdown run with 4:07 left in the game to seal the victory.

“I thought our ability to run the ball and get some first downs bleeding the clock down, was as significant as anything,” said Rocco. “We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win. I’m certainly excited to secure a winning season and to get a win in November.”

Delaware had lost six of its last eight games to Maine, including four in a row. The Bears also came into the game with a three-game winning streak this season.

Delaware safety Nasir Adderley comes up to make a tackle in Saturday’s game.

The Hens were playing without standout receiver Jamie Jarmon, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury, In his place, Delaware made more use of former starting quarter Joe Walker.

Walker finished with 165 all-purpose yards, including a 56-yard reception in the second quarter that set up the Hens’ first touchdown. The junior also completed a 42-yard pass and ran the ball nine times for 55 yards.

“Today felt great being a guy who made plays and gave a spark when we needed,” sai Walker. “I always knew I could catch the ball, I just never played wide receiver. Today was the first time playing it. I was just trying to play my role and do as much as I could.

“We planned to have Jamie in the game with me, we didn’t know until yesterday that he wasn’t going to play. I think today was about building a routine so that when we both play teams don’t know what we’re going to do.”

“Joe did a great job,” said Rocco. “He’s going to give us some energy here and some explosive production as we continue. Hopefully, we’ll have Jamie back next week because that will give us a few more options.”

Tight end Brandon Whaley caught his first career touchdown pass at 5:42 of the second quarter while safety Tim Poindexter made his first career interception in the third quarter. Linebacker Troy Reeder made 17 tackles in the victory and also blocked a punt.

Junior Kani Kane (Sussex Tech) also for 99 yards and his seventh rushing touchdown of the season.

The Hens return home next Saturday, hosting Albany for Senior Day at 3:30 p.m.

“We’re excited to go home this week and continue our quest this season,” said Rocco. “We’re finding ways to remain relevant. Today was a great team win. The offense did things when they had to, and the defense made stops when they had to. Ultimately the special teams and kicking game made a lot of big plays.”

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Colby Reeder Pushes Hens to Crucial 31-17 Win over Maine
By Delaware Athletics
Nov 4, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine -- The University of Delaware won its fourth Colonial Athletic Association football game of the season Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens used a big second half to defeat Maine 31-17 at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The turning point of the game occurred early in the fourth quarter when Maine punt returner Micah Wright was stripped of the ball by Delaware defensive back Nasir Adderley.

Blue Hens freshman Colby Reeder (#4 below) scooped up the ball at the Maine five-yard line and dove into the end zone for the crucial touchdown that gave the Blue Hens the lead for good at 24-17 with 13:22 remaining. 

On the next Maine drive, the stingy Delaware defense held the Black Bears (4-4, 3-4 CAA) to just four yards.

On the ensuing Delaware drive, the Blue Hens (6-3, 4-2 CAA) went 58yards on 13 plays. The drive, which took nearly eight minutes off the clock (7:39), was capped by quarterback J.P. Caruso’s one-yard rushing touchdown with 4:07 left in the final period to seal the victory. The drive was the team's third longest in terms of time this season.

For the afternoon, the Blue Hens accumulated 346 yards of total offense. Joe Walker provided a massive spark for UD as the junior quarterback turned all-purpose threat compiled 165 total yards between rushing, receiving and passing, including a huge 56-yard reception in the second quarter that set up the Hens first touchdown.

Tight end Brandon Whaley caught his first career touchdown pass at 5:42 of the second quarter to give the Hens their first points of the day while safety Tim Poindexter made his first career interception in the third quarter. Linebacker Troy Reeder made a career-high 17 tackles in the victory and also blocked a punt while his brother, Colby, also recorded a sack in the final quarter and finished with seven tackles.

Junior Kani Kane (#29 at right) also for 99 yards and his seventh rushing touchdown of the season, a one-yard burst with 21 seconds left in the second quarter that give Delaware a 14-10 advantage at the break. Kane just missed surpassing the 100-yard mark for the third straight game.

Adderley, one of the nation's leaders with five interceptions, recorded a career-high 14 tackles while Bilal Nichols had seven tackles, a sack, a pass breakup, and a blocked field goal. Delaware kicker Frank Raggo added a 48-yard field goal three minutes into the second half to give Delaware a 17-10 lead.

The win was Delaware’s fourth victory in its last five games and snapped a personal four-game losing streak against Maine. The Hens also snapped Maine’s season-best three-game winning streak.

Maine held a 451-346 advantage in total yards thanks to the play of running back Josh Mack, who ran for 173 yards and caught six passes for 38 yards. He entered the game leading all NCAA FCS runners with 139.9 yards rushing per game.

The Blue Hens return home next Saturday, hosting Albany for Senior Day. Kickoff from Delaware Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Head Coach Danny Rocco:
“Our special teams kept us in the game today, and then we got going on offense. We did a lot today with Joe Walker. We knew that Jamie Jarmon (out with an injury) was most likely not going to play, so we put a plan together for Joe to do some of the things that Jamie has been doing. That gave us the explosive plays that we needed to have in the game. Joe did a great job. I thought our ability to run the ball and get some first downs bleeding the clock down, was as significant as anything. Maine is very talented defensively and physical. Offensively they know what they’re doing with the ball. Their running back is very special. So we’re fortunate to get out of here with a win. I’m certainly excited to secure a winning season and to get a win in November. We’re excited to go home this week and continue our quest this season. We’re finding ways to remain relevant. Today was a great team win. The offense did things when they had to, and the defense made stops when they had to. Ultimately the special teams and kicking game made a lot of big plays.”

On play of Joe Walker:
“I have supported Joe since I arrived here. I have made comments about his athleticism. He is one of our guys that can take the ball the length of the field on a run, a pass or a scramble. He’s that athletic. He’s going to give us some energy here and some explosive production as we continue. Hopefully, we’ll have Jamie (Jarmon) back next week because that will give us a few more options.”

Junior Joe Walker (#3 at left):
“Today felt great being a guy who made plays and gave a spark when we needed. I always knew I could catch the ball, I just never played wide receiver. Today was the first time playing it. I was just trying to play my role and do as much as I could. We planned to have Jamie in the game with me, we didn’t know until yesterday that he wasn’t going to play. I think today was about building a routine so that when we both play teams don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Defensive Tackle Bilal Nichols:
“Today we did a great job of staying together as a team. That’s one thing we’ve done very well this season. We’ve stayed together and created unity. Coach Rocco always says our strength is in the unity of this group. We really believe that. Whenever times get rough we count on each other. We never give up. This team is so resilient and that’s what I’m most proud of. We come each day and work hard and count on each other. We played our best when it mattered the most today. When we really needed stops, we got them. When we really needed to control the line of scrimmage, we did. When we needed to get to the QB, we did. I feel that we made plays at the biggest moments of the game.” 

HEN SCRATCHINGS:
• By winning their sixth game of the season, Delaware secured its first winning season since going 7-5 in 2013. Delaware head coach Rocco has now posted a winning campaign in all 12 of seasons as a college head coach
• Delaware played Maine in Portland for the first time in school history. The game marked the first time since 2005 that Maine played a game in the state's largest city
• Delaware downed Maine for the first time since 2010 and won in the state of Maine for the first time since 2009 after two straight setbacks
• Rocco is now 26-12 (.684) during his head coaching career in games following a loss, including a 3-0 mark at Delaware
• Troy Reeder blocked a punt for the second straight season after also posting one at Richmond in 2016
• Delaware has now forced 22 turnovers this season, the fourth highest total in the nation and No. 2 in the CAA
• The Hens lost two fumbles in the first half, marking the first time Delaware had lost a fumble since the James Madison game on Sept. 30. Delaware had gone 265:43 minutes of playing time since its last lost fumble
• Raggo now has three field goals over 48 yards this season, has hit on 9 of 13 field goal attempts overall, and has converted 59 straight extra points

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CAA Football Announces 2018 Schedule

Rob Washburn - http://caasports.com/
November 1, 2017

CAA Football has released its schedule for the 2018 season, which includes a challenging non-conference slate along with the always competitive battle for the league title.

The conference schedule includes four home games and four road games for each team as they face eight of the other 11 CAA Football members. There is at least one conference contest during each of the 12 weeks in 2018, with a full slate of league action on October 13, November 10 and November 17.

The non-conference schedule features 12 games against FBS opponents, including six versus teams from Power 5 conferences. Every CAA team except Delaware will meet a FBS foe, and the Blue Hens will test themselves against five-time FCS national champion North Dakota State. So far this season, CAA teams are 20-3 against non-conference FCS opponents. The league has also recorded a pair of victories over FBS foes for the second year in a row as James Madison defeated East Carolina and New Hampshire beat Georgia Southern. There are no games against non-Division I opponents.

Thursday, August 30
*New Hampshire at Maine
*Rhode Island at Delaware

Saturday, September 1
UAlbany at Pittsburgh
Elon at USF
James Madison at NC State
Richmond at Virginia
Stony Brook at Air Force
Towson at Morgan State
Villanova at Temple
William & Mary at Bucknell

Saturday, September 8
*UAlbany at Rhode Island
Lafayette at Delaware
Furman at Elon
James Madison at Norfolk State
Maine at Western Kentucky
Colgate at New Hampshire
Fordham at Richmond
Bryant at Stony Brook
Towson at Wake Forest
Villanova at Lehigh
William & Mary at Virginia Tech

Saturday, September 15
*Elon at William & Mary
*Towson at Villanova
Morgan State at UAlbany
Cornell at Delaware
Robert Morris at James Madison
New Hampshire at Colorado
Rhode Island at Connecticut
St. Francis at Richmond
Stony Brook at Fordham

Saturday, September 22
*William & Mary at James Madison
*Richmond at Stony Brook
St. Francis at UAlbany
Delaware at North Dakota State
Elon at Charleston Southern
Maine at Central Michigan
Bucknell at Villanova

Saturday, September 29
*Villanova at Stony Brook
*New Hampshire at Elon
*James Madison at Richmond
Maine at Yale
Rhode Island at Harvard
The Citadel at Towson
Colgate at William & Mary

Saturday, October 6
*UAlbany at William & Mary
*Delaware at Richmond
*Elon at James Madison
*Villanova at Maine
*Stony Brook at Towson
Holy Cross at New Hampshire
Brown at Rhode Island

Saturday, October 13
*Elon at Delaware
*Richmond at UAlbany
*William & Mary at Towson
*James Madison at Villanova
*Stony Brook at New Hampshire
*Maine at Rhode Island

Saturday, October 20
*Rhode Island at Stony Brook
*Delaware at New Hampshire
*Towson at UAlbany
*Richmond at Elon
*Maine at William & Mary

Saturday, October 27
*UAlbany at Maine
*Towson at Delaware
*Stony Brook at James Madison
*New Hampshire at Villanova
*William & Mary at Rhode Island

Saturday, November 3
*Villanova at Richmond
*Delaware at UAlbany
*Rhode Island at Elon
*James Madison at New Hampshire
*Maine at Towson

Saturday, November 10
*UAlbany at New Hampshire
*Maine at Richmond
*Rhode Island at James Madison
*Delaware at Stony Brook
*Towson at Elon
*William & Mary at Villanova

Saturday, November 17
*Villanova at Delaware
*Elon at Maine
*Stony Brook at UAlbany
*James Madison at Towson
*New Hampshire at Rhode Island
*Richmond at William & Mary

*denotes CAA Football game

DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE – Times will be announced at a later date

============================================

Late touchdown lifts Towson to 18-17 stunner over Hens
Oct 28th, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Blue Hen running back Kareem Williams ran for 80 yards on 12 carries including a 30-yard TD run in the third quarter. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

TOWSON, Md. — Last week was one of those joy-of-victory moments for the Delaware football team.

But on Saturday came the agony of defeat.

When the Blue Hens’ offense left the door open, underdog Towson charged through it, scoring the winning touchdown with just 35 seconds left to topple No. 23 Delaware, 18-17, at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The agonizing loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Hens (3-2 CAA, 5-3 overall) and probably knocked them right back out of the FCS Top 25 ­— a place they had just returned to last week for the first time in three years.

It probably also leaves Delaware needing to win its final three regular-season games to make the NCAA FCS playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“I’m very disappointed in the result,” said first-year Delaware coach Danny Rocco, whose team knocked off No. 11 Richmond in double overtime last week.

“I thought, defensively, we did enough good things here today to win a football game. … (But) offensively, we did not take advantage of our opportunities. We had three takeways that didn’t lead to a lot of points.”

After forcing the Hens to punt with 3:05 remaining, the Tigers (1-4 CAA, 3-5 overall) drove 52 yards on eight plays for the winning touchdown.

Quarterback Ryan Stover dropped in a nice 13-yard scoring pass to receiver Sam Gallahan on a fade pattern. Gallahan had a step or two on Delaware freshman cornerback Niquel Hill.

Aidan O’Neill then booted the deciding PAT kick as Towson’s players celebrated.

“I told the guys, we’ve been here before,” said safety Nasir Adderley, referring to the Hens’ last-minute stop at Stony Brook. “We’re capable of pulling that off. We just weren’t able to get it done.”

Starting at its own 35 on the ensuing possession, Delaware did pick up a pair of first downs to reach the Towson 44 with just three second left. With the Hens set to try a hook-and-lateral, though, quarterback J.P. Caruso’s final pass was dropped.

Delaware linebacker Troy Reeder (9) and lineman Blaine Woodson (73) bring down Towson running back David Bryant. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Caruso completed just 6-of-15 passes for 43 yards for Delaware, which lost senior receiver Diante Cherry to a first-half dislocated shoulder. The Hens did run for 229 yards as Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane posted his second-straight 100-yard game (22 carries-113 yards).

But probably Delaware’s biggest regret came earlier in the fourth quarter.

With the Hens leading 14-11, the Tigers dropped a punt that linebacker Colby Reeder recovered on the Towson 12 with 11:10 remaining.

On a third-and-seven from the nine, Caruso hit tight end Charles Scarff on a fade route. The ball appeared to hit the 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior in the hands but he couldn’t pull it in.

“I’ll look at the film,” said Rocco. “We had the right matchup, I think we had a good ball. I’m not saying he had both hands on it but I’m not sure he didn’t. That’s a play that we’ve got to make in a situation like that.”

Scarff caught a three-yard TD pass from Caruso in the second quarter for the Hens’ first points of the day.

This time, Delaware had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Frank Raggo and only a 17-11 advantage.

“There’s no excuse for not putting up (more) points right there,” said Caruso. “That fumble was a gimmee. That was big. We could have ended it right there if we just got it into the end zone.

“The defense deserves for the offense to put up more points than we did today because they played really well..”

The second half had started much better for the Hens.

Holding a 7-3 lead, Delaware took the second-half’s opening kickoff and marched right down the field, covering 71 yards on just six running plays.
Kareem Williams (12 carries-80 yards) bolted 30 yards around the right side for a TD that seemed to put Delaware in relative control at 14-3.

“We came out strong in the second half,” said Kane, who carried the ball four straight times to start the third quarter for a gain of 32 yards. “After that, it kind of fell off.”

“I was very animated in the locker room (at halftime),” said Rocco. “It’s kind of an odd place to be sometimes where you do feel like one unit came ready to play and they performed at a high-enough level to win. And then, the other unit, really wasn’t and didn’t.

“They came out and responded on that first drive. But, again, it just dissipated.”

When the Tigers scored on a 39-yard pass play and added the two-point conversion late in the third quarter, Towson was still very much in the game, trailing only 14-11.

Rocco said again after the game that he thinks eight victories would put Delaware in the playoffs. But, to get to eight, the Hens will have to win at Maine, at home against Albany and then at Villanova.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” said Adderley. “But we’ve just got to stick together.”

“We’re going to stay together as a team,” said Caruso. “We’re going to come back, starting tomorrow and Tuesday and get better. We’re not going to let this hold us back.

“We’re not out of it. We need three wins. Now it just got a little bit harder.”

Extra points

Towson turned the ball over three times while the Hens didn’t turn it over at all. … Delaware had interceptions from safeties K.C. Hinton and Adderely. Adderley’s pickoff was a highlight-reel, one-handed, falling-backawards catch that was already shown on ESPN. … Nose tackle Bilal Nichols had a team-high nine tackles. … After his big game last week, receiver Jamie Jarmon had only one catch for five yards and two carries for 11 yards. … Rocco said he was optimistic that Cherry’s shoulder injury won’t keep him out of next week’s game.

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Last Minute Touchdown Leads Towson to 18-17 Upset Over No. 23 Blue Hens
By Delaware Athletics
Oct 28, 2017

TOWSON, Md. -- Just one week after an exhilarating double overtim victory over Richmond vaulted the University of Delaware into the Top 25, heartbreak hit on Saturday evening as the No. 23 ranked Blue Hens gave up a touchdown in the final minute and dropped an 18-17 Colonial Athletic Association football verdict to Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The Blue Hens (5-3, 3-2 CAA), who had a three-game win streak snapped, led almost the entire game until the Tigers (3-5, 1-4 CAA) won it on a 14-yard fade pass into the end zone from quarterback Ryan Stover to Sam Gallahan with just 35 seconds left in the game. The Tigers snapped a four-game losing streak.

Despite the setback, Delaware remains in the hunt for a post-season playoff berth as wins against Maine, Albany, and Villanova over the next three weeks would give Delaware eight wins and virtually assure a spot in the 24-team tournament.

Delaware, which had taken a 14-3 lead on the first drive of the second half on a 30-yard run by Kareem Williams (#32 at left) and had gone up 17-11 on a Frank Raggo 26-yard field goal witih 9:43 left to play, had one last chance to score but were stopped at the Towson 44-yard line as a pair of passes by J.P. Caruso fell incomplete.

The last minute victory was nothing new in the series as five of the last seven matchups between these two longtime rivals separated by just an hour's drive have been decided by a touchdown or less, including Delaware's wild 32-31 comeback win in 2013 when the Hens scored 15 points in the final 48 seconds to win.

Delaware's defense, the league's No. 4 ranked unit, was strong once again as the Blue Hens held Towson to just 304 total yards and forced three turnovers. Unfortunately, the UD offense could not take advantage.

Delaware's Colby Reeder recovered a fumble by Towson's Coby Tippett on the Tiger 12-yard line following a muffed punt return with 11:10 left but had to settle for Raggo's field goal after the offense managed to pick up just three yards on three plays.

After the teams traded possessions, Towson finally put the game-winning drive together, going 52 yards on eight plays capped by the game-winner from Stover to Gallahan. Stover threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 56 yards on the day.

Delaware junior Kani Kane led all runners with 113 yards on 22 carries - his second consecutive 100-yard effort - while Williams finished with 80 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Delaware finished with just 264 total yards, on 43 of them through the air.

Defensively for Delaware, senior defensive tackle Bilal Nichols finished with a team-high nine tackles while junior safety Nasir Adderley (#23 at right/ENP Photography) recorded eight tackles and intercepted a pass, a highlight reel version in which he leapt high to reach the ball and brought it down with one hand. Junior linebacker Troy Reeder also added eight tackles while junior defensive back K.C. Hinton recorded his first career pick in the first half.

HEAD COACH DANNY ROCCO
"I don't know if it was a letdown. We got one of Towson's better games this season and we played hard on defense. I thought our defensive played well enough on the road to come up with a win. We continue to lack explosive plays for touchdowns. We had some good runs today but we just didn't get enough from the passing game. We have to go back to work this week and improve from our performance tonight."

QUARTERBACK J.P. CARUSO
"We have to play better and smarter and it starts with me. We left a lot of yards out there. Our defense played well but our offense just didn't get it done. But we won't let this (loss) hold us back. Our road got harder but we aren't out of it. We just have to come out this week and work hard."

On settling for a field goal on the drive in the fourth quarter
"We have no excuse for not putting up more points right there. We could have ended it and we didn't. That was big."

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• After Towson's Aidan O'Neill converted a 33-yard field on Towson's first drive of the day, Delaware came back to take a 7-3 lead into halftime on Caruso's three-yard pass to tight end Charles Scarff (at left) on the first play of the second quarter
• Delaware drove 71 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half as Kane and Williams combined for all of the yards on the ground
• Delaware moved into the national Top 25 rankings for the first time since the 2014 season and were looking to equal its first four-game win streak since 2012
• Junior wide receiver Jamie Jarmon, who scored three touchdowns in the 42-35 double overtime win over Richmond last week, had his school-record tying streak of five straight games with a touchdown reception snapped but did extend his pass-catching streak to 13 straight games dating back to the 2016 season
• Delaware defensive tackle Blaine Woodson started his 41st straight game
• Raggo has now hit on 8 of 12 field goal attempts this season and extended his successful PAT streak to 57 straight
• Adderley, who entered the game ranked No. 7 in the NCAA in interceptions, now has a team-high five interceptions with four of them coming in the last three games
• Delaware will play its second straight CAA road game next Saturday when they travel to Portland, Maine to take on the Maine Black Bears on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

==============================================

Hens stun No. 11 Richmond in 42-35 win
Oct 22nd, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News 

Receiver Jamie Jarmon is flipped as he vaults into the end zone on a five-yard run. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — When Kyle Lauletta’s 40th pass of the day went whistling through the end zone, landing harmlessly on the Delaware Stadium turf, the celebration was on.

Blue Hen football players were running everywhere, hugging each other, jumping on each other, laughing.

This current group of Hens haven’t had many moments like this and they were going to try to enjoy every bit of it after upending No. 11 Richmond, 42-35, in double overtime on a memorable homecoming Saturday afternoon.

“It was just really a nice sight to see,” said junior safety Nasir Adderley. “Just the celebration on the field at the end of the game, the crowd was amazing all night. We finally did it. We finally got that signature win we’ve been looking for.”

“It was everything that we could dream of — the celebration in the locker room, the celebration on the field after the game was over,” agreed senior defensive tackle Bilal Nichols. “This is what we worked hard for. So it definitely was good to get the taste of what we can be and where we can go.”

A much-anticipated Colonial Athletic Association contest, where the biggest storyline was first-year Delaware coach Danny Rocco facing his former team, was filled with twists and turns.

Offensively, Delaware’s victory ended up being headlined by a pair of former Sussex County high school stars. Indian River’s Jamie Jarmon scored three touchdowns, including two on the ground and ran for 103 yards, while Sussex Tech’s Kani Kane ran for a season-high 109 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.

Junior running back Kani Kane, from Sussex Tech, dives into the end zone in the second OT for the game-winning touchdown. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

In the end, it was Kane’s one-yard scoring leap that gave unranked Delaware (3-1 CAA, 5-2 overall) its winning points in the second overtime. That drive was kept alive when quarterback J.P. Caruso (13-of-22, 130 yards, 3 TDs) hit receiver Vinny Papale with a 10-yard pass on a third-and-seven.

Kane’s 11-yard run to the one set up his own touchdown.

The Spiders (2-2, 4-3), needing a TD of their own on the ensuing possession, then picked up a first down on the Hens’ 10.

But after the next two plays netted five yards, Richmond’s Lauletta (23-for-40, 295 yards, 4 TDs) was trying to scramble back and away from Delaware’s pass rush when he slipped down for a 19-yard loss to the 24.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from there, all the Richmond standout QB could do was fire a pass into the end zone for the game-ending incompletion.

“It was an extraordinary football game played between two really good football teams,” said Rocco, who was the Spiders’ head coach for the past five years. “We were just a little more fortunate tonight than Richmond was.”

While plenty of different people contributed to Delaware’s win, clearly it was the Hens’ sputtering offense that delivered in some key moments on Saturday.

Safety Nasir Adderley returns one of his two interceptions in Saturday’s game. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Delaware was trailing 28-21 late in the third quarter when it put together a 13-play, 61-yard march to tie the contest. The Hens converted a fourth-and-one and then a third-and-13 before Jarmon scored on a five-yard sweep.

The former Indian River quarterback leaped just as he was hit at the three, somersaulting just inside the pylon and landing on his back. The hard-earned touchdown knotted the score at 28-28 with 10:06 remaining in regulation.

Handing the ball off to Jarmon on the sweep was a new wrinkle for Delaware’s offense. In the first quarter, the junior receiver took a handoff and out-sprinted several Richmond defenders for a 74-yard touchdown run that gave the Hens a 14-7 lead.

“That’s all credit to my teammates,” said Jarmon. “They gave me green grass and I just ran.”

“He was extraordinary,” Rocco said about Jarmon. “I’ve been kind of saying this about him — how gifted he is, how strong he is, how explosive he is. I think tonight you got a real good look at the depth of his game.”

In the first overtime, Delaware fell behind again, 35-28, on Lauletta’s picture-perfect 20-yard TD pass to Dejon Bissett.

The Hens, though, answered with a seven-play scoring drive. Caruso had plenty of time before finally finding tight end Charles Scarff for a three-yard TD pass that knotted the score.

“I think Caruso came into his own there late in the game,” said Rocco. “He made a couple really critical throws and took some hits and just showed that ‘it’ factor. This football team, I think, can rally around that.”

In the long-term view, the Hens hope Saturday’s upset might help them get in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs when it’s all said and done. Delaware hasn’t made the playoffs since reaching the national championship game in 2010.

It’s the first time the Hens beat a Top-15 team since knocking off No. 7 Towson in 2013.

“I told the team in the locker room how extraordinarily proud I am of them and of our coaches,” said Rocco. “But I told them, if we remain focused and we remain united, the best is yet to come.”

But Saturday was also about Rocco and six of his assistant coaches facing their old team for the first time. And while Rocco didn’t want it to be about him, his new players made it their motivation anyway.

“We’ve got Coach’s back,” said Nichols. “We knew he really wanted this game — the whole coaching staff. We made sure that, not only did we play for each other, but we played for them also.

“We figured that if wanted the game just half as bad as they did, that we were going to get it.”

Extra points

Delaware has won three straight games for the first time since 2014. … Adderley had a pair of interceptions for the Hens. … Delaware had a chance to win the game with a 37-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in regulation but Richmond blocked the kick. … Jarmon tied the school record by catching a TD pass in a fifth straight game. He was also the first Delaware receiver to run for 100 yards in a game since Michael Johnson in 2013. … Linebacker Anthony Jackson had a team-high seven tackles. … Richmond had won its last 10 overtime games. That included a memorable five-OT, 62-56 win over the Hens.

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Jarmon Lifts Blue Hens to Thrilling 42-35 Double Overtime Homecoming Win Over No. 11 Richmond

By Delaware Athletics
Oct 21, 2017

NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware football team celebrated Homecoming in style Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens posted a thrilling 42-35 double overtime win over No. 11 Richmond at Delaware Stadium.

Delaware (5-2, 3-1 Colonial Athletic Association), which won its third straight game and earned its second consecutive win over a Top 25 opponent, went ahead on a one-yard scoring dive by junior fullback Kani Kane (#29 at right) to open the second overtime and the defense took over from there, sealing the deal with a big stop of the Spiders (4-3, 2-2 CAA). 

The victory gave Delaware an emotional triumph for first-year head coach Danny Rocco, who served as head coach of the Spiders the previous five seasons.

Delaware junior wide receiver Jamie Jarmon stole the show for the Blue Hens as he scored three touchdowns, including a 74-yard run late in the first quarter in which he outraced a hord of UD defenders down the right sideline, a 19-yard reception from junior quarterback J.P. Caruso just before halftime, and a five-yard run around end with 10:06 left in regulation that tied the game at 28-28. Caruso, a first-year transfer from Appalachian State, was making just his second career start.

Jarmon rushed four times for 103 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards. On his score that tied the game in the final quarter, he took a handoff from Caruso on a speed sweep around the end, was hit at the three-yard line, and did a full flip into the end zone for a highlight-reel touchdown.

Delaware had the chance to win in regulation when a bad snap on a punt by Richmond gave the Hens the ball on the UR 27-yard line. After three running plays by Delaware and three timeouts by Richmond, Delaware kicker Frank Raggo had his 37-yard field goal attempt blocked.

Richmond opened the scoring in overtime on a 20-yard fade pass in the end zone from Kyle Lauletta to Dejon Brissett, but Delaware came right back to force a second overtime when Caruso (#9 at left) hit junior tight end Charles Scarff on a three-yard scoring pass.

The Hens clinched it in the second overtime when Kane, who finished with a game and career-high 109 yards on the ground, ran 11 yards to the one and then dove over the top into the end zone from one-yard out.

Delaware's defense preserved the win, forcing Lauletta into two incomplete passes and getting a sack from senior tackle Bilal Nichols. Lauletta's fourth-and-goal pass from the 24 on the final play of the game was batted down by UD junior cornerback Malcolm Brown.

Delaware piled up 418 total yards and converted on 8 of 16 third-down attempts. Caruso, starting just his second game at Delaware, hit on 13 of 23 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns.

Lauletta, who entered the game leading all NCAA FCS passers in yards per game (391.3) and total offense, hit on 23 of 40 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns but was intercepted twice, both times by Delaware junior safety Nasir Adderley (at right)

DELAWARE HEAD COACH DANNY ROCCO:
"This was an extraordinary game between two really good football teams who played hard and played well. We were just a little more fortunate today. This was a signature win for us. Our kids fought hard for their coaches and their teammates. Our first drive was huge and we showed what we are capable of doing. I thought J.P. (Caruso) came into his own today, made some critical throws, and showed the 'it' factor. I am so proud of this team and our coaches. If we remain focused and continue to work hard the best is yet to come. We needed a signature win and we went out and got it. We go home relevent tonight."

ROCCO ON FACING HIS FORMER TEAM:
"It was a little more emotional tonight than I was prepared for but it was a really special."

CO-CAPTAIN BILAL NICHOLS:
"This is what we work so hard for and gives us a taste of what is possible here. Last year we lost some close games but this year we have that belief and that faith in each other. It was great to win this one because we know Coach Rocco really wanted this game, even though he never made it about him."

JAMIE JARMON:
"It was great tonight to pull our (the offense) weight and not rely on the defense. Our coaches preached all week that we had to get off to a good start and we did. Our defense fought them blow for blow."

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• Jarmon snared a touchdown reception for the fifth straight game, tying the UD record set by Bob Norris (1986) and James Anderson (1987). He also became the first UD wide receiver to run for over 100 yards in a game since Michael Johnson had 123 vs. Rhode Island in 2013. Jarmon's 74-yard run was also the second longest ever for a wide receiver in UD history behind Johnson's 78-yard romp in that same game vs. URI in 2013
• Delaware snapped a three-game losing streak in the series against Richmond
• Richmond had a streak of 10-straight overtime wins snapped. The string included a 62-56 five-overtime win over the Joe Flacco-led Hens at Delaware Stadium in 2007
• The Hens are now 46-17 (.730) all-time on Homecoming, including a 3-0 mark vs. Richmond, and have won six of the last eight games overall
• Delaware has now won three straight games for the first time since 2014 and three straight conference wins for the first time since 2013
• Adderley now has a team-high four interceptions and has forced five turnovers this season
• Delaware will continue action next Saturday, Oct. 28, when the Hens head to Towson for a 4 p.m. CAA matchup. The Hens will be looking to match its first four-game win streak since the 2012 season.
====================================================
Rocco angle adds intrigue to Richmond-Delaware clash:

By SCOTT GARBARINI
STATS Writer - stats.com

(STATS) - The shock and awe has subsided, though the tension still lingers some.

October games are almost always big deals in CAA Football, especially ones involving teams with legitimate postseason aspirations such as No. 11 Richmond and Delaware. Yet there's a little added drama to Saturday's showdown between the longtime league rivals, simply because the Blue Hens' new head coach just happens to be the Spiders' old one.

Danny Rocco's cross-conference change of address raised many an eyebrow among FCS fans and observers this past winter, not to mention the impact the stunning move had on other programs. It's also made the schools' 32nd meeting one of the most anticipated in the series' history as well as on this season's CAA schedule.

"It'll be a little bit different," Richmond senior quarterback Kyle Lauletta acknowledged. "But I'm excited for it and I think everybody's been waiting for it for a long time."

While Rocco's first matchup with his former employer has been the dominant and obvious storyline, it's probably overshadowed the significance of the game itself. Both the Spiders and Blue Hens sport 4-2 overall records and 2-1 marks in CAA play, and in a league where as many as eight teams still harbor viable postseason hopes, Saturday's winner will greatly enhance its playoff credentials while delivering what could turn out to be a fatal blow to the other's.

Rocco has tried his best during the week to downplay the reunion angle, though he admits there will be some measure of sentiment when he sees all those familiar faces on the opposing sidelines at Delaware Stadium.

"I've really tried my darndest to just stay focused on the process and maintain my priorities and focus on the routine that we have here in place," he said. "I think it's always the game day that is the experience. Those are where the moments occur.

"These are student-athletes that we had recruited (at Richmond), had been in their homes, we had relationships with and then we had a lot of success together. I have great appreciation for what they've done for me, both the university and the student-athletes that we coached, and I think it was a mutual experience."

Rocco's five-year run at Richmond indeed yielded its share of great memories, with the Spiders reaching the FCS playoffs in the final three of those seasons and advancing to the national semifinals in 2015. Which is why so many questions were asked when he opted to leave a program that had re-established itself among the subdivision's upper tier for Delaware, a football-centric school long on tradition and potential but short on results in recent years.

His arrival has re-energized a fan base that had remained loyal through six consecutive non-playoff seasons since Delaware made the 2010 national title game, but had grown frustrated with the program's lack of progress. The Blue Hens appear to be back on an upward climb, however, after beginning October with an impressive 24-20 road win at now-No. 22 Stony Brook and following up with last week's 17-0 league victory over William & Mary.

Delaware held the Tribe to 196 total yards and 11 first downs in the latest strong performance from a defense that's limiting opponents to 14 points per game, sixth-best in the FCS. The unit also posted its third straight outing of allowing fewer than 100 passing yards, a stretch it began by keeping top-ranked James Madison's high-powered attack in check on Sept. 30.

"They're hard to move the ball on," Spiders coach Russ Huesman said. "They're where they're supposed to be, they're physical, they can run. It's probably the best defense I've seen on film that we've played by a long shot."

Delaware's defense may be facing its sternest test to date as well. With All-America candidate Lauletta at the controls, the Spiders are averaging an FCS-leading 392.7 passing yards per game and rank third overall in total offense (510.8 ypg). Lauletta is completing a career-best 65 percent of his attempts while throwing for three or more touchdowns in four of Richmond's six games.

"I think he's taken the next step in his development, his evolution in terms of his ability to be efficient," Rocco said. "He's one of the most competitive young people I've ever been around. That's really the one thing that makes him special."

Lauletta, Richmond's career leader in passing yards (9,076) and touchdowns (64), admits he'll have a little extra fire for the game - though it has nothing to do with having to compete against his ex-coach. The native of suburban Philadelphia - roughly an hour's drive from the Delaware campus - was largely overlooked by the Blue Hens' previous staff despite a distinguished high school career.

"They're a school that didn't really recruit me as much as I would have liked out of high school, so I've always carried that chip on my shoulder," he said. "That's something that still hasn't left me."

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Blue Hens blank W&M 17-0 for first shutout in six years
Oct 14th, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — Yes, Delaware wishes its offense was better at this stage of this season.

And, yes, the Blue Hens know they’ve got to score points if they’d like to keep winning.

But as long as Delaware’s defense keeps playing as well as it did in a 17-0 shutout of William & Mary on Saturday afternoon, the Hens will gladly take the victory as they head back to the offensive drawing board.

In a game played before a Parents Day crowd of 18,721, Delaware (2-1 CAA, 4-2 overall) won its second straight game while matching its victory total for each of the past two seasons.

By posting the program’s first shutout since 2011, the Hens own that two-game winning streak largely because they haven’t allowed a point in their last six quarters.

“I think that was our first complete game that we were able to put together,” said junior linebacker Troy Reeder. “Our emphasis as the game kept moving on was, we saw that zero up on the scoreboard and we wanted to keep it there.”

Delaware’s Jamie Jarmon pulls in a 27-yard touchdown pass from J.P. Caruso in the second quarter of Saturday’s win. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

“Today the defense really stole the show,” said coach Danny Rocco. “They were outstanding. They played with great passion, great energy. Our defense is playing with confidence right now.”

As much as Rocco enjoyed the victory, however, the first-year Delaware coach also warned that relying too much on the defense is a tough way to live.

“We all know the reality of this game and playing in this league,” said Rocco. “There are going to be days — we just know it — where you’re going to need 24, 28 or 31 (points) to win a football game. We’ve got to find ways to get to 24, 28 or 31 to be able to secure victory.

“They asked me about the score (at halftime) and I said, ‘I’d end it right now if I could. I’ll take 10-0 and go home.’ It’s not rocket science. I just want to win — 10-0, what’s there to complain about?

“But, on another day, 17 points won’t be enough.”

With that in mind, the Hens finished with just 195 total yards. That’s the fewest yards for a Delaware team in a win since 2001 when the Hens managed just 172 yards in a 10-6 victory over Richmond (which was also coach Tubby Raymond’s 300th win).

The Tribe (0-3 CAA, 2-4 overall) picked up just 196 yards. And the two teams also combined for only 21 first downs while punting the ball 20 times between them.

Delaware’s most successful drive came early in the second quarter.

Blue Hen safety Ray Jones looks to make a tackle in Saturday’s game against William & Mary. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

After the Hens’ defense pinned William & Mary deep in its own end of the field, a 13-yard punt return by Jamie Jarmon set up Delaware at the Tribe 38. Five plays later, quarterback J.P. Caruso (7-for-20, 78 yards) found Jarmon wide open on a deep crossing pattern.

The Indian River High grad snared the ball in his outstretched arms for a 27-yard touchdown pass that gave the Hens a 7-0 lead.

It was the fourth straight game that Jarmon (two receptions-37 yards) has caught a scoring pass, which ties for the third-longest such streak in school history.

“I was looking at the safety and I was like, he’s going to do exactly what we’ve been planning it to be all week,” said Jarmon. “When I saw him back up and not go across the middle, I instantly knew, this is six.

“It just honestly feels good to be able to provide a little spark and just contribute. I like having the ball in my hands.”

Delaware was able to tack on a much-needed field goal on the last play of the first half.

With the Tribe at its own 21, Blue Hen safety Nasir Adderley jumped a short route and appeared to have his hands on an interception. But the ball ricocheted off him and landed in the arms of freshman linebacker Colby Reeder at the William & Mary 18.

Frank Raggo made the turnover pay off by booting a 35-yard field goal to give Delaware a 10-0 advantage at intermission. The Hens’ offense just wishes it could have contributed more.

“It starts with me,” said Caruso, who was making his first collegiate start. “I’ve got to get better. I missed a lot of opportunities and a lot of plays that could have helped us put up more points.

“Even though we didn’t put up a lot of points today, I’m very happy that we won. That’s all that matters here. … I’m really happy for the guys and really thankful for the defense we have.”

The only points of the second half also came off a turnover in the fourth quarter.

The Tribe’s Jalen Christian was fielding a punt when he bobbled it into the hands of Adderley, who was the first defender downfield. The fumble recovery set up the Hens at the William & Mary 14.

Delaware simply gave the ball to Kani Kane (12 carries-49 yards) on four straight plays and the Sussex Tech High grad finally bulled his way in for a touchdown with only 5:52 left in the game.

It was the team-leading fifth TD of the year for the junior running back, who only joined the team as a walk-on over the summer.

“If you back the clock up to last spring, our running back situation looks a whole lot different,” said Rocco. “This young man, Kani, was just a guy we thought, ‘Hey, maybe he can play fullback?’ Maybe he can add a little bit of depth?’

“He’s getting better every week. He’s gaining some confidence every week. His best football is ahead of him.”

With Delaware hosting Richmond for homecoming on Saturday, this figures to be a strange week for Rocco. He was the Spiders’ head coach for the past five seasons after all.

“It will be one week where I won’t need a flip card to know who the other guys are,” Rocco quipped. “I can just roll the film and I’ll know who they are.”
Rocco is a little more focused on his current team right now.

“We’re 4-2, 2-1 in the CAA — we’re relevant here in October,” he said. “And we’re hopeful to remain relevant as we get further into the conference schedule.”

Extra points

Delaware did use former starting QB Joe Walker on several plays. He lined up at quarterback with Caruso set up as a wide receiver. Walker ran the ball on all four plays, finishing with 24 yards. … Adderley later did have an interception, returning it 45 yards. He also knocked down a couple passes, including one on a fourth-down stop. … William & Mary started a true freshman QB for the first time since 1975. Shon Mitchell completed 18-of-36 passes for 101 yards with two interceptions.

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Defense Dominates as Blue Hens Blank William & Mary 17-0
By Delaware Athletics
Oct 14, 2017

NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware defense rose to the ocassion once again Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens held William & Mary to just 196 total yards and forced three turnovers in a 17-0 Colonial Athletic Association football victory before a spirited Parents & Family Weekend crowd at Delaware Stadium.

The Blue Hens (4-2, 2-1 CAA) won their second straight game and improved to 3-1 at home this season as they intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble. The shutout was Delaware's first since a 21-0 victory over William & Mary in 2011 at Delaware Stadium, a span of 68 games.

Delaware gained just 195 yards itself but used the outstanding defensive effort and a solid performance on special teams to post the victory before a season-high crowd of 18,721.

Junior quarterback J.P. Caruso (left/photo by Mark Campbell), who made his first career start for the Blue Hens, threw for 78 yards and tossed a 27-yard scoring strike to junior wide receiver Jamie Jarmon with 9:01 left in the second quarter for all the points the Blue Hens would need.

The Blue Hens made it 10-0 just before halftime as junior Frank Raggo converted a 45-yard field goal as the clock expired. The score was set up by an interception by redshirt freshman linebacker Colby Reeder at the Tribe 26-yard line.

William & Mary (2-4, 0-3 CAA) lost its third straight game despite a solid defensive effort itself, holding the Blue Hens to just 10 first downs and a season-low 195 yards. Freshman quarterback Shon Mitchell, making his first career start, hit on 18 of 36 passes for 101 yards but was intercepted twice.

Delaware concluded the scoring when junior Kani Kane (team-high 50 yards rushing) used a big second effort to bull into the end zone from one-yard out with 5:52 left in the fourth quarter for a 17-0 lead. That score was set up when junior safety Nasir Adderley (at right/photo by Jesse Caris), who earlier returned an interception 45 yards, recovered a muffed punt by the Tribe's Jalen Christian at the W&M 14-yard line. Adderley also had six tackles and two pass breakups.

HEAD COACH DANNY ROCCO:
"I was really pleased with the way this team responded at home. Our defense really stole the show today. They played with great passion, great energy, and great confidence. We have a great structure on defense in place and the players are buying in. I also knew our special teams would be important today and they were really solid. Our offense had a few good drives today but we just couldn't sustain it. We still have a lot of work to do. We were +3 today (in turnovers) and you are not going to lose many games when you do that."

LINEBACKER TROY REEDER
"We are building (on defense) week in and week out. This was really our first complete game on defense today. We are developing and that has been our emphasis. I looked up and saw zeros on the scoreboard and I wanted to keep it like that."

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• Delaware has now held opponents scoreless for six straight quarters and for 91:38 minutes since last week's 24-20 win over Stony Brook
• Delaware's 195 total yards was its lowest total in a victory since the Blue Hens managed just 172 yards in a 10-6 win over Richmond on Nov. 10, 2001 at Delaware Stadium. That victory marked head coach Tubby Raymond's 300th career win
• Jarmon has now caught four touchdown passes on 18 receptions this season and has caught a touchdown pass in three straight games, the third longest streak in UD history and the longest by a UD player since All-American Eddie Conti during the 1998 campaign
• Former Delaware captain and current Carolina Panthers starting safety Mike Adams was the Honorary Captain and took part in the pre-game coin toss
• Delaware entered the game ranked last in the NCAA in punt returns (-0.3 yards per return) but Jarmon returned two for 28 yards, including a season-long 15-yarder
• Junior punter Nick Pritchard punted 10 times for a 40.4-yard average and had five land inside the William & Mary 20-yard line
• Junior RB Thomas Jefferson upped his career rushing yardage total to 1,798 to move into 20th place on the all-time UD list
• Delaware will continue action next Saturday, Oct. 21, when the Hens host CAA foe Richmond for Homecoming at Delaware
Stadium. The game will match UD head coach Danny Rocco against the team he served as head coach for the previous five seasons. Delaware will be looking to win three straight games for the first time since 2014.

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Hens stage 2nd half rally, shock No. 23 Stony Brook 24-20
Oct 7th, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

The Hens’ Kareem Williams eyes yardage downfield against Stony Brook. (Photo courtesy of Stony Brook sports information)

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — For 30 minutes, Delaware was heading nowhere.

The Blue Hens’ offense was scuffling enough that coach Danny Rocco changed quarterbacks.

And Delaware’s usually-tough defense was playing soft.

In short, trailing No. 23 Stony Brook by 13 points at halftime, there was no reason to believe that Delaware had a comeback left in it.

But, seemingly out of nowhere, the Hens ran off the final 17 points of the contest to stun the Seawolves, 24-20, in a Colonial Athletic Association football matchup on Saturday night in LaValle Stadium.

The game ended with Stony Brook (3-1 CAA, 4-2 overall) facing a fourth-and-13 at the Delaware 18. But, just as QB Joe Carbone tried to scramble out of the pocket, he was gang-tackled by linemen John Nassib, Blaine Woodson and Bilal Nichols at the 19.

The Hens went sprinting off the field in celebration after the stop with just 26 seconds left. Delaware (1-1 CAA, 3-2) just had to take a knee to polish off its first road upset of a top 25 team since 2013.

UD switched to J.P. Caruso at quarterback in the first half. (Photo courtesy of Stony Brook sports information)

“Oh man, I’ve got so many emotions running through my head,” said quarterback J.P. Caruso, who entered the contest on the third series of the night. “I’m so proud of this team, so proud of these coaches for believing in me.

“This is the best feeling in the world right now,” said the Appalachian State transfer, who was all smiles. “I’m so happy. But we’ve got a long way to go.”
“I can’t even express how I’m feeling right now,” said junior cornerback Malcolm Brown. “A win like this, I think, is pivotal for this team. Hopefully we can use this as some momentum to spark us the rest of the year.

“But the emotions that I’m feeling right now — and the emotions that are in this locker room right now — I can’t even explain.”

Brown made the play that seemed to swing momentum in Delaware’s favor.

With the Hens trailing 20-10 in the third quarter, linebacker Troy Reeder stripped a Stony Brook ballcarrier after a short run. The fumble landed in Brown’s hands.

After managing to elude a Seawolf tackler and still stay inbounds, the junior cornerback then just had to sprint the rest of the 45-yard return for the touchdown with 4:04 left in the third quarter. Brown also said linebacker Anthony Jackson made a key block on the return.

“I did the easy part,” Brown said with a smile. “I saw it in the air. … I knew it could be a big play if I was to score. I knew it could change the game.
“The defense needed it and I was the person there at the time. It was a big play.”

When the Hens’ defense gave its offense the ball right back, Delaware marched 80 yards on seven plays for the winning touchdown.

Junior running back Kani Kane, the Sussex Tech High grad, broke off a 32-yard run to the Stony Brook six. Then, on the next play, Kane (7 carries-57 yards) took the ball around left end and fought his way to the pylon, just breaking the plane for the six-yard touchdown run that gave Delaware its 24-20 advantage.

“I was waiting all game,” said Kane. “I had an opportunity to take it and I took it.”

The Seawolves had three more possessions with a chance to pull off their own comeback. The Hens forced punts on the first two drives.

Delaware punter Nick Pritchard’s 60-yard punt then pinned Stony Brook back its own nine with 3:12 and one timeout remaining.

Stony Brook almost drove the length of the field, reaching the Delaware 15 with 47 seconds and no timeouts left.

The Hens hit a Seawolf runner for a three-yard loss on first down before two incompletions set up the fourth-down stop.

The shutout second half was redemption for the Hens’ defense, which struggled in the first half in allowing Stony Brook to build a 20-7 lead.

“It was really the only half this year that I thought we were soft on defense,” said Rocco. “And I called them out in the locker room at halftime. I made it very clear that what I just witnessed was 100-percent unacceptable.

“I told them after the game that two of the most important things that we have to do in life and football is you’ve got to be able to respond. Our team responded in the second half. And you’ve got to be able to finish. We finished in a big way here today.”

Rocco pulled starting QB Joe Walker after the Hens went three-and-out on each of their first two possessions of the game.

Caruso then gave Delaware an immediate spark when he found Jamie Jarmon for a 23-yard scoring pass to tie the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter. Caruso got away from a few pass rushers, rolled to his right and found Jarmon, who made a leaping catch in the end zone.

But the momentum was short-lived.

The Seawolves needed just five plays to drive 65 yards for a TD to back the lead at 14-7. Stony Brook then added a 55-yard scoring march just before halftime to take a 20-7 lead into halftime.

It was far from a perfect performance for Caruso. He completed 7-of-14 passes for 80 yards with the TD and an interception.

Caruso did show some quickness, running for another 65 yards on nine carries.

After the contest, Rocco said he and his coaches will just keep evaluating the quarterback situation and that Walker is still very much in the picture.

“He (Caruso) was a little more decisive when he decided to pull the ball and run it,” said Rocco. “Obviously, he has a lot of work to do. He made some significant mistakes — really almost to the point that I considered going back to Joe.”

Following Saturday’s win, though, Caruso was all smiles. A backup at Appalachian State, he felt like he’d waited a long time for a night like this.

“We weren’t playing smart football in the first half,” said Caruso. “In the second half we came together and said, ‘You know what? Let’s do something.’

“In the second half, we showed that we’re not a soft team. We’re a team that fights for each other. We’re all brothers. We’ll fight for the man right next to us. That’s what we did in the second half.”

Extra points

A blocked PAT kick by linebacker Colby Reeder after Stony Brook’s last TD ended up being huge at the end, when the Seawolves couldn’t kick a field goal to tie. … Nichols also got a piece of a missed 36-yard field goal attempt by the Seawolves. … A week after hitting a school-record 55-yard field, Frank Raggo hit a 50-yarder on Saturday. … Kareem Williams ran for a team-high 75 yards on 16 carries. … Safety Nassir Adderley and Troy Reeder each had a game-high 12 tackles. … Before he left the game, Walker became the 18th player in UD history with 3,000 yards of total offense. … The Hens are home the next two weeks, starting with a 3:30 p.m. game against William & Mary on Saturday.

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Football Rallies for Pivotal Victory, Downs #23 Stony Brook 24-20
By Delaware Athletics
Oct 7, 2017

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – The University of Delaware picked up the signature football win it’s been searching for Saturday night as the Blue Hens rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit and downed No. 23 ranked Stony Brook 24-20 at LaValle Stadium.

Malcolm Brown’s picked up a fumble and raced 45 yards for a touchdown with 4:04 left in the third quarter to pull the Blue Hens to within three points and fullback Kani Kane’s six-yard scoring burst just two minutes into the final stanza proved to be the game-winner as Delaware (3-2, 1-1 CAA) picked up the pivotal Colonial Athletic Association win.

Stony Brook (4-2, 3-1 CAA), which entered the game tied atop the CAA standings with an unbeaten mark in league play, had a four-game win streak snapped despite leading 20-7 at the break.

Delaware’s defense came up big down the stretch as the Blue Hens held the Seawolves out of the end zone on the final drive of the night to clinch the victory. Delaware’s defensive line trio of Blaine Woodson, Bilal Nichols, and John Nassib sacked SBU quarterback Joe Carbone at the UD 18-yard line on a fourth down play in the final seconds to preserve the victory.

Stony Brook gained possession on its own nine-yard line with 3:12 left to play and drove 73 yards on 14 plays, converting six first downs on the way. But the Blue Hen defense stiffened, forcing two incomplete passes and the final sack to save the day.

Blue Hen junior quarterback J.P. Caruso (at right), a first-year transfer from Appalachian State, took over for starter Joe Walker in the first quarter and led the Hens to the victory as he completed 7 of 14 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 65 yards.

His scrambling 23-yard scoring strike to Jamie Jarmon with 12:37 left in the first half tied the game at 7-7 before the Seawolves took a 20-7 lead into intermission thanks to two scoring throws from Carbone to Ray Bolden.

Kareem Williams led the Delaware ground game with 75 yards on 16 carries while Kane finished with 57 yards, including a 32-yarder that set up his game-winning touchdown. Diante Cherry and Charles Scarff also caught three passes each for the Hens.

The defense had seven tackles for loss, a sack, and four pass breakups with safety Nasir Adderley and linebacker Troy Reeder leading the way with 12 tackles each. It was Reeder who stripped the ball from SBU running back Donald Liotine and forced the fumble that Brown picked up and took to the end zone to spark the comeback.

Delaware junior kicker Frank Raggo came up big for the second straight week to also spark the rally. Just one week after connecting on a school-record 55-yard field goal vs. JMU, he nailed a 50-yarder on Saturday with 8:47 left in the third quarter to pull the Hens to within 20-10.

HEAD COACH DANNY ROCCO
“We would have taken the win any way we could get it. We played poorly in the first half and didn’t have any rhytmn. I made it very clear at halftime that what I had witnessed was unacceptable and we had to focus on winning football games and that first-half effort was not going to do it. I told them after the game that one of the most important things we have to do in life and in football is to be able to respond. And we responded in the second half. We responded with some energy and with some leadership and then we finished in a big way here today. “

J.P. CARUSO
"I have so many emotions running through my head. I am so proud of this team, so proud of these coaches for believing in me. It’s a nice feeling. We have a long way to go and we know that. We have to go to practice tomorrow and fix up our mistakes because we have a long road ahead. The ball hasn’t been bouncing our way out and little things have made us lose games. We have been fixing those and we probably had our best week of practice this week. We knew this was the biggest game we had so far and everyone came together and said ‘lets start winning some games.’“

MALCOLM BROWN
“The special thing about this team, this defense in particular, is that we didn’t give up and we came away with the win. We preach every day that we have to stay together and keep playing. A win like this is pivotal for this team and hopefully we can use this as momentum to spark us for the rest of the year.”

HEN SCRATCHINGS

Delaware snapped a six-game losing streak vs. Top 25 teams, earning a win for the first time since a win over No. 25 William & Mary on Oct. 3, 2015. It was also the Hens’ first victory over a Top 25 team on the road since a 32-31 victory over No. 7 Towson in 2013
Delaware will return home to Delaware Stadium to face William & Mary for Parents & Family Weekend next Saturday, Oct. 14, at 3:30 p.m.
Delaware made its first-ever visit to Stony Brook and its first visit to Long Island since 2008 vs. Hofstra. The Hens have now won six straight games on Long Island since the 1969 season
Walker, who played the first two series before giving way to Caruso, went over 3,000 career total offense yards during the game
Woodson started his 38th straight game
Delaware played the game without three starters on defense – CB Justin Watson, LB Charles Bell, and DE Cam Kitchen. All three are out with season-ending injuries suffered earlier this season.

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#1 Dukes Tie CAA Win-Streak Record with 20-10 Win at Delaware

9/30/2017 -  Jmusports.com

NEWARK, Del. – Junior running back Trai Sharp rushed for a career-high 185 yards and top-ranked James Madison forced three turnovers to grind out a 20-10 Colonial Athletic Association football victory at Delaware on Saturday at Delaware Stadium.

The Dukes increased the nation's longest win streak to 17 games, which tied the all-time CAA record - set by Richmond in 2008-09. That is also tied for the 13th-longest win streak in FCS history.

JMU improved to 5-0 on the year and 2-0 in CAA play, while the Blue Hens fell to 2-2 and 0-1.

QUICK HITS

Sharp ran for 185 yards on 36 carries, tallying a 5.1 yards per carry average. His long of 59 set up his six-yard touchdown carry in the first quarter.
Redshirt senior Andrew Ankrah recorded his first career touchdown on a 23-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter. He finished with five tackles, including two for loss, and a sack.
Playing in his first game this season, senior linebacker Brandon Hereford recorded a team-high 11 tackles and a sack.
JMU's defense held Delaware to just 229 yards of offense and blanked the host Hens for the final 42:07.
Raven Greene collected his third takeaway of the season with his second interception of the season in the second quarter. He also forced a fumble early in the second half when UD was driving in JMU territory.
Junior kicker Tyler Gray sealed the win with a career-long, 48-yard field goal with 2:50 remaining.

WHERE THE GAME TURNED

Trailing 10-7 after having just punted to Delaware, Andrew Ankrah picked up a fumble on a backwards pass and ran it 23 yards for his first career touchdown, giving the Dukes a 14-10 lead with 6:53 to go in the first half.
On the ensuing drive, Raven Greene picked off UD quarterback Joe Walker with 3:46 to go in the second, resulting in three points off a Tyler Gray field goal in the closing seconds.
That fueled JMU's defense into the second half, where it did not give up any points to the host Blue Hens.

THE DAGGER

After forcing UD into a three-and-out with just under seven minutes to go, Trai Sharp rushed for 23 yards on five consecutive plays to set up a Tyler Gray field goal.
Gray drilled a career-long, 48 yarder from the left hash to put the Dukes up 10, at 20-10 with only 2:50 to play.

TRAI HAS A DAY
Trai Sharp carried the load on offense, tallying 36 of the Dukes' 54 rushes on the day, as he finished with 185 yards. He began his career performance by ripping off a massive 59-yard rush to put the dukes inside the 10. On the very next play, he pounded it in the end zone from six yards out to give JMU a 7-3 lead. It was Sharp's second 100-yard rushing performance of the year and the fourth of his career.

NO DOUBT ON DEFENSE
In the second half, JMU's defense gave up just 79 yards of total offense while holding the Hens scoreless. JMU gave up just four first downs the entire half, along with three straight three-and-outs. This was the fourth consecutive game JMU has held its opponent to under 300 total yards of offense.
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Hens battle but fall 20-10 to No. 1 Dukes in CAA opener

Sep 30th, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Delaware defensive backs Ray Jones (7) and Nassir Adderley (23) tackle JMU’s Terrence Alls on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Many times on Saturday afternoon, Delaware stood toe-to-toe with James Madison, slugging it out with the best FCS football team in the country.

But that wasn’t good enough.

Too many times, the No. 1-ranked Dukes were the ones who made the biggest plays.

And when JMU also got the biggest call of the day, it was all too much for the Blue Hens to overcome as they fell to the defending national-champion Dukes, 20-10, on an overcast, windy day at Delaware Stadium.

The hard-earned victory was the 17th in a row for JMU (2-0 CAA, 5-0 overall) and second straight over Delaware (0-1, 2-2), which was playing its Colonial Athletic Association opener.

“I know we played hard,” junior linebacker Troy Reeder said after making 12 tackles. “There’s no question in my mind, without even watching the film yet, I know we played as hard as we could. I think we could play a better game.

The Hens’ Kani Kane, a Sussex Tech High grad, stiff-arms a JMU defender on a 37-yard run. Kane finished with a season-high 81 yards on 13 carries. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

“We’re a veteran group,” he added. “We need to play and execute to the best of our ability every play — no letdowns. Especially against a team like that, it only takes a play or two for them to increase their lead.”

“At the end of the day, we didn’t perform well enough to win,” said senior nose tackle Bilal Nichols. “That’s all it comes down to. We lost. We can’t look at it as we played well because we didn’t play well enough to win, obviously.”

As for the crucial call, that came with 6:53 left in the second quarter and Delaware leading 10-7.

The Hens were at their own 30 when quarterback Joe Walker threw a swing pass to running back Kareem Williams. The ball went off the hands of Williams, who reacted as if it was an incomplete pass.

But JMU defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah scooped up the bouncing ball and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. The fumble call stood after video-replay officials looked at it.
Replays showed it was a close call either way.

“Certainly I thought that play was the most pivotal play in the ballgame — and probably did win the game,” said JMU coach Mike Houston. “It really swung the momentum heavily in our favor. And, with the way we were playing defensively, you knew that there weren’t going to be a whole lot of points scored.”

Delaware coach Danny Rocco said he didn’t get a good enough look at the play to know what happened. He said only that the play is designed as a forward pass.

“I’m not saying they missed the call,” said Rocco. “It was bang-bang. No doubt, it was the biggest play of the football game.”

Turnovers, as usual, ended up being a huge part of the game.

Delaware linebacker Troy Reeder chases after James Madison QB Bryan Schor in Saturday’s game. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Delaware turned the Dukes over on each of their first two possessions. Reeder’s interception and Cam Kitchen’s fumble recovery gave the Hens the ball at JMU’s 42 and 41, respectively.

But the Hens ended up with only three points out of the two turnovers, getting a school-record 55-yard field goal from Frank Raggo.

In the second quarter, Delaware was facing a second-and-four from the Dukes’ 39. JMU safety Raven Greene, though, intercepted a pass down the sidelines to end the threat.

Then, on the first drive of the second half, a 29-yard return by Khory Spruill set up the Hens at the Dukes’ 47. Two first downs later, Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane (13 carries-season-high 81 yards) gained seven yards on a first-down run but fumbled the ball at the JMU 15 at the end of the play.

Delaware’s third turnover of the game also ended its last legitimate scoring opportunity of the afternoon.

The Hens hung in until the end, though, before Tyler Gray’s 48-yard field goal with 2:50 left in the game sealed Delaware’s fate.

After back-to-back, three-and-outs by the Hens’ offense in the second half, Rocco even tried switching to QB J.P. Caruso. But the Appalachian State transfer didn’t fare any better, completing only 2-of-7 passes for 42 yards.

“We were looking for a spark,” said Rocco.

Walker completed 5-of-11 passes for 47 yards while also running for 46 yards on 13 carries, many of which were designed running plays.

Delaware’s lone touchdown came early in the second quarter when Walker rolled out to his right before coming all the way back to his left and firing a 15-yard scoring pass to Indian River High grad Jamie Jarmon in the back of the end zone.

Maybe one of Delaware’s more impressive feats came in the third quarter.

Frank Raggo lines up his school-record 55-yard field goal in the first quarter. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

The Hens’ defense endured a 21-play, 74-yard drive by the Dukes that lasted for 9:35. JMU converted three fourth downs on the march — one on a fake punt, one of a juggling catch and one on a penalty.

But Delaware stopped the Dukes at its own 11. And, when JMU missed a 28-yard field, the Hens still trailed only 17-10.

“It was 21 plays?,” Reeder said when asked about the drive. “I think it says a lot about the guys that that wasn’t what we were thinking about. I would have guessed 10 (plays) probably.
“I know we played hard,” Reeder said later. “That’s a mentality that I think is a building block just because I know guys are going to give the effort.”

Extra points

With both teams struggling with the gusty wind at times, JMU kept the ball in the hands of running back Trai Sharp, who finished with 185 yards on a workmanlike 36 carries. … Delaware lost senior linebacker Charles Bell to an undisclosed injury in the first half. Bell was able to walk off the field, with assistance. But he was later taken to an ambulance in a wheelchair. … Kitchen left the game with an injury late in the game. … Defensive lineman Blaine Woodson also had 12 tackles for the Hens with linebacker Jalen Kindle adding 10. … Raggo’s 55-yard field goal broke the school-record 54-yarder booted by Steve Leo against Navy in 1992. It was the third-longest in CAA history. … JMU quarterback Bryan Schor completed 10-of-19 passes for only 93 yards but picked up some big first downs with his scrambling. He ran for 39 yards on nine carries. … The Hens have had three fake punts run against them successfully this season.
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Blue Hens safety Ray Jones serves as role model for Wilmington youth football players

Kevin Tresolini, The News Journal Sept. 26, 2017

The University of Delaware didn’t have a football game this past Saturday.

But Ray “Buck” Jones, the Blue Hens’ junior safety out of Hodgson Vo-Tech, was quite content to be standing alongside a football field.

Located at Wilmington’s Eden Park, near the intersections of Terminal and New Castle avenues and flanked by industrial parks and Interstate 495, it was a green oasis of camaraderie and competition.

Jones was clearly a popular – and inspirational – figure to players from the Wilmington Titans Youth Athletics program, some of whom are coached by his father, Ray Sr.

Many of those same players had flocked to Delaware’s season-opening game against Delaware State on Aug. 31 in Newark to see Jones play, and posed for a pre-game photo with him right there on Tubby Raymond Field.

They had also benefited from his coaching, as Jones sometimes attends practices when time permits, runs drills and teaches fundamentals to the players. During the summer, at a park near his family’s home in Northeast Wilmington, Jones would set up orange cones and put his 13-year-old brother Deshonne Moore and his friends, teammates and neighbors through various football-related exercises.

In a city teeming with gang activity, a record number of shootings and the nation’s highest rate for adolescents killed or injured by gun violence, Jones knows his efforts go well beyond football. He wants the kids around him to know there’s a positive path that leads to a promising future, too, and they can follow it, just as he did.

“Stay out of the streets,” Jones said Saturday morning while the Titans under-8 team played the Chiefs, a Philadelphia squad, in a United Tri-State Athletic League game. “The streets ain’t nothing but trouble.

“I never was into the streets. I was always outside playing around but I was never into the street life. I just focused on football and school.”

The Titans, in their black uniforms with orange and yellow trim, eye Jones with heroic admiration but also brotherly love. Their banter with him is lively and often humorous.
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Ray Jones and Wilmington Titan Gavin Blalock show some muscle. (Photo: Kevin Tresolini, The News Journal)

Jones teases 6-year-old Gavin Blalock about being caught from behind on a long run.

“I was tired,” Blalock responded.

“You’re not conditioned enough yet, eating all that candy,” Jones said.

Sharlet Blalock, Gavin’s mother, can’t help but appreciate the dialogue.

“Gavin loves Buck,” she said. “My boys love him. He’s such a good role model and a positive influence. They follow football and they like to come see him play for Delaware. He works out with them when he’s home.”

She calls Gavin “a diehard,” who frequently watches football on TV and the computer and already has eyes set on playing college football at Mississippi.

“I’m heading to UD when I grow up,” 10-year-old brother Gary countered.


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Delaware Announces 2017 Athletics Hall of Fame Class; Six to be Honored at Sept. 29 Ceremony
By Courtesy of Delaware Athletics
09-21-17

NEWARK, Del. – A group of six former University of Delaware Athletics standouts who represent 10 different Blue Hens sports and whose prestigious careers include emergency room physician, veterinarian, engineering professor, athletics administrator, teacher, and coach, make up the newest induction class of the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame.

The 21st induction class will be honored in an invitation-only ceremony and reception for family and friends next Friday, Sept. 29, at the Bob Carpenter Center. The honorees will also be recognized at halftime of the Delaware vs. James Madison University football game at Delaware Stadium the following afternoon, Sept. 30.

The Class of 2017 features representatives from every decade since the 1940s and the sports of football, baseball, field hockey, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, and rowing. Four of the inductees are Delaware natives and five of them still reside in the area.

The six-person class includes the first-ever rower named to the UD Athletics Hall of Fame in Dr. Jenni Buckley; record-setting football wide receiver Courtney Batts; All-American cross country and track distance runner and former U.S. Field Hockey team member Dr. Sandy Gibney; standout baseball player and current Blue Hen associate baseball head coach Dan Hammer; longtime UD swimmer, coach, and director of athletics Edgar N. Johnson; and NCAA qualifying swimmer Dr. Art Mayer.

Below are biographies of the Class of 2017:

COURTNEY BATTS
(Football, 1994-97; Baseball, 1995; Football Graduate Assistant Coach, 1998-99) 

In the proud tradition of University of Delaware football, few players can match the pass receiving exploits of Courtney Batts.

A native of Philadelphia, Batts consistently shredded opposing defenses with his sure hands and blazing speed and finished his career with a host of pass receiving records.

A 1998 physical education Delaware graduate, he played wide receiver for Hall of Fame head coach Tubby Raymond and led the Blue Hens to an impressive four-year mark of 38-11-1 that included three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, most notably a trip to the national semifinals in 1997 when the team went 12-2.

A four-year starter, he never missed a game and along the way set 10 school records, including receptions in a season (60) and career (179), pass receiving yards in a career (3,522), and career touchdown receptions (27).

He was a two-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection and was named the UD Outstanding Senior Male Athlete of the Year in 1998. He also played one season of baseball and led the Blue Hens to an America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995 as a second baseman.

Batts, who served as a graduate assistant coach with the UD football program in 1998-99, is now in his 18th year working in the education field and currently serves as an algebra teacher in the Baltimore City School System. He resides in the Baltimore area with his wife, DanYelle, son, Courtney, and daughter, Morgan.

DR. JENNI BUCKLEY
(Rowing, 1999-2001) 

The first-ever rower to be inducted into the UD Athletics Hall of Fame, Dr. Jenni Buckley joined the squad during its second year of existence and was an immediate standout on the water for the Blue Hens. 

A native of Wilmington, Del., she was a member of the novice heavyweight eights boat in 2000 and led a crew that captured first place in every event it competed in during the spring, including the top finish at the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta where she helped lead the overall team to a runner-up finish for head coach Amanda Kukla.

As a senior in 2001, she was named the team’s UD Alumni Association Team Most Valuable Player as a member of the lightweight varsity eights crew that won the Dad Vail title and helped the team capture the overall regatta crown from among 150 schools.

An outstanding student in mechanical engineering, she recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA and earned her degree from UD in 2001. She later earned her master’s (2004) and doctorate (2006) degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Buckley has served as an associate professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware since 2011 and was presented the Trabant Award for Women’s Equity at UD in 2016. She teaches a range of courses as part of the undergraduate curriculum and conducts research in biomechanics as well as engineering education, focusing particularly on issues of equity and inclusion.

She lives in Newark, Del. with her partner, Dr. Amy Trauth, also a professor at UD, and their two children, Galen and Addy, who are aspiring Blue Hens.

DR. SANDY GIBNEY, M.D.
(Field Hockey, 1979; Cross Country, 1980-82; Indoor Track & Field, 1979-80; Outdoor Track & Field, 1980-82)

Whether it was running an open course, competing on the track, or playing with a stick in hand, Dr. Sandy Gibney excelled in everything she tried during an impressive career at Delaware. 

An eight-time letterwinner, Dr. Gibney was a member of the U.S. National Field Hockey team and played one season at UD for head coach Mary Ann Hitchens, leading the squad to a 10-4-2 mark in 1979.

She then made the full-time switch to running and never looked back, becoming one of the all-time great distance runners in school history. She competed twice at the national cross country championships, earning All-American honors with a 16th place finish in 1981.

A native of Wilmington, Del., she also excelled for the outdoor track & field squad for three seasons, competing in the 5,000 meters at the 1980 national championships. Gibney set nine outdoor records during her career, including UD standards in the 800m, 3,000m, 5,000m, two-mile, and three-mile events.

A 1983 (physical education and health sciences) and 1986 graduate (master’s in physiology) of UD, Dr. Gibney earned her medical degree in 1994 from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She currently serves as Associate Chairman of Emergency Services and Liaison Trauma Director at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington.

She and her husband, Rick Schuder, himself a former UD track & field runner in 1977-79, reside in the Wilmington area.

DAN HAMMER
(Baseball, 1993-96; Baseball Assistant Coach, 1997-2005; Baseball Associate Head Coach , 2006-Present)

As an outstanding player and well-respected coach, Dan Hammer has played an integral part in the success of Delaware baseball for nearly three decades.

A native of North East, Md., Hammer was a standout infielder for the Blue Hens in 1993-96 for Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hannah and led the squad to a record of 158-60, two conference titles, and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1995 and 1996.

He served as co-captain for the two NCAA teams, was named All-Region in 1994, was twice named All-North Atlantic Conference, selected team MVP in 1996, and was a member of the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team in 1996.

A 1996 UD graduate (engineering technology and technical management), Hammer finished his illustrious playing career with 26 home runs, a .360 batting average, and a .536 on-base percentage and ranked among the all-time UD Top 10 in games played (203), at-bats (717), runs (217), hits (258), doubles (62), total bases (412), and walks (144).

He joined the Blue Hens coaching staff in 1997 and was promoted to associate head coach for head coach and UD Athletics Hall of Famer Jim Sherman in 2006. During his coaching tenure, he has led the Blue Hens to 17 winning seasons, five conference titles, and NCAA appearances in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2017.

In all, 37 Blue Hens players have gone on to play at the professional level during his time at UD, with several of those players reaching the Major Leagues.

Hammer and his wife, Jenni, reside in Elkton, Md. with their son, Luke, and daughter, Katy. Jenni is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Delaware.

EDGAR JOHNSON
(Men’s Swimming & Diving, 1962-66; Men’s Cross Country Head Coach, 1971-79; Women’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach, 1979-84; Men’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach, 1981-84; Director of Athletics & Recreation Services, 1984-2009) 

Over a span of five decades, as a standout swimmer, multiple-sport coach, and Director of Athletics, few individuals have devoted as much time and talent to Delaware Athletics than Edgar Johnson.

A native of Wilmington, Del., Johnson was a record-breaking swimmer in 10 events and two-time captain who earned UD degrees in 1967 (physical education & health education) and 1970 (master’s in guidance and counseling).

He joined UD Athletics in 1969 and served in a variety of roles, including assistant swimming & diving coach, assistant athletic trainer, assistant track & field coach, instructor in physical education, associate professor, and head coach for the men’s cross country and men’s and women’s swimming teams. His women’s swimming teams won an incredible 42 straight dual meets and placed ninth at the 1981 AIAW national championships.

As athletics director he enjoyed a distinguished 25-year career in which he led the Blue Hens program to new heights, directing UD from the East Coast Conference to the America East Conference and to its current home in the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware captured 10 consecutive America East Commissioner’s Cup Awards, won 83 conference titles, and appeared in 32 NCAA Championships during his tenure. He was inducted into the UD Wall of Fame in 2011 and received the prestigious James Lynah Service Award for contributions to college athletics by the Eastern College Athletic Conference in 2014.

The Edgar Johnson Award, which is presented each year to the UD senior male letterwinner who best exemplifies the characteristics of hard work, dedication, fairness, and striving for excellence, is named in his honor.

He and his wife, Karen, a 1972 UD graduate, reside in Newark, Del. They have a son, Chris (Delaware ’95), who played football for the Blue Hens under Tubby Raymond, and a daughter, Sarah (Delaware ’98, ’08). They have three grandchildren.

DR. ART MAYER, V.M.D.
(Men’s Swimming & Diving, 1949-53)

One of the most accomplished swimmers in UD history, Dr. Art Mayer was a record-breaking conference champion for the Blue Hens in 1949-53.

A native of Newark, Del., Dr. Mayer didn’t begin the sport until he arrived at UD but quickly flourished in the pool, setting three freshman records and never stopping. For his career, he set 10 school and 13 pool records at one time or another and captured four Middle Atlantic Conference individual titles.

He won the MAC freshman 300-yard medley title in 1950, the MAC 150-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke titles in 1952, and took first place in the 300 medley relay and second place in the 200 backstroke at the 1953 MAC meet.

As a senior co-captain for head coach and UD Athletics Hall of Famer Harry Rawstrom, he became the first UD swimmer to compete at the NCAA Championships, participating in the 200 backstroke and 150 individual medley at Ohio State.

A 1953 agriculture graduate of Delaware and a 1957 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (veterinary medicine), he was a well-respected veterinarian for over 50 years in Newark, Del.,

Dr. Mayer co-founded the UD Master’s Swim Program in 1975, participated in the Delaware Senior Olympics, and was a national and world-record holder during a career that spanned three decades. He was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 2013.

He has four children, two of them UD graduates, 12 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. His uncle, the late Winnie Mayer, was a member of the inaugural UD Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1997.

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Long-time Athletic Director, former swim and cross country coach Edgar Johnson among UD hall-of-famers

Kevin Tresolini, The News Journal Published Sept. 22, 2017

Long-time athletic director Edgar Johnson heads a group of six who’ll be enshrined in the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame next weekend, UD announced Thursday.

Johnson, a successful cross country and swim coach before serving as AD from 1984-2009, will be joined by Courtney Batts, Jenni Buckley, Sandy Gibney, Dan Hammer and Art Mayer in Delaware’s 21st Hall of Fame class.

EAGLES:Davis tries to overcome impoverished background

BLUE HENS:Field hockey coach inspired by late mother's memory

They’ll be honored during an invitation-only ceremony Friday night, Sept. 29, at the Carpenter Center and at halftime of Delaware’s 3:30 football game the following day against James Madison.
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Former Delaware athletic director and 2017 Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Edgar Johnson. (Photo: News Journal file)

The 2017 inductees:

Jenni Buckley: First rower to be enshrined. Dickinson High grad rowed on novice heavyweight eights boat in 2000 that won every race, including Dad Vail Regatta, where Delaware placed second in team standings. Was voted team MVP as a senior in 2001 when lightweight varsity eights won Dad Vail title and sparked Blue Hens to overall regatta team championship. Now an associate professor in mechanical engineering at Delaware.

Courtney Batts: Philadelphia native was a four-year starter at wide receiver from 1994-97 who never missed a football game and set 10 school records, including receptions in a season (60) and career (179), career receiving yards (3,522) and career touchdown catches (27). Senior team reached NCAA semifinals. Was two-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and UD Outstanding Senior Male Athlete. Also played one season of baseball for 1995 team that won America East title and reached NCAA Tournament. Now an algebra teacher in Baltimore City School System.

Sandy Gibney: Concord High grad starred in both field hockey, in which she was a U.S. team player, and as a runner at Delaware from 1979-82. Played just one field hockey season, 1979, before concentrating on distance running on UD’s cross country and track teams. Placed 16th in 1981 national cross country championships. On the track, she qualified for the 1980 nationals at 5,000 meters and set UD records at that distance as well as in the 800, 3,000, two-mile and three-mile. Her 16:53.0 in the 5,000 remains No. 2 all-time in UD history. Now a physician who serves as associate chairman of emergency services at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington.
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Dr. Sandy Gibney at St. Francis Hospital. (Photo: News Journal file)

Dan Hammer: North East, Maryland, native starred on 1993-96 UD baseball teams as an infielder, including serving as captain for 1995 and 1996 squads that reached NCAA Tournament. Finished UD career with 26 home runs, .360 batting average and .536 on-base percentage and was among all-time UD Top 10 in games played (203), at-bats (717), runs (217), hits (258), doubles (62), total bases (412) and walks (144). Named All-Region in 1994, two-time All-North Atlantic Conference choice, team MVP in 1996 and NCAA Regional All-Tournament pick in 1996. Has been on UD baseball coaching staff since 1997, including associate head coach since 2006.

Edgar Johnson: Salesianum School alum was athletic director from 1984-2009, overseeing Blue Hens’ climbs from the East Coast Conference to the North Atlantic Conference/America East to the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware earned 10 consecutive America East Commissioner’s Cup Awards for overall excellence, won 83 conference titles and appeared in 32 NCAA championships. Before that, was men’s cross country coach from 1971-79, women’s swimming coach from 1979-84 and men’s swimming coach from 1981-84. Women’s swim team won 42 straight meets and placed ninth at 1981 AIAW national championships. Set 10 records himself as a UD swimmer before graduating in 1967. Taught in UD sport management program after retiring as AD. Edgar Johnson Award is annually given in his honor to a senior male athlete “demonstrating the characteristics of hard work, dedication, fairness and striving for excellence.” 

Art Mayer: Didn’t know how to swim when he arrived at UD but was a quick learner. Newark native set 10 school and 13 pool records and won four Middle Atlantic Conference titles from 1949-53. In 1953 became first Blue Hen to compete in NCAA Swimming Championships, qualifying in 200 backstroke and 150 individual medley. Later operated a veterinary center in Newark and was a national- and world-record holder as a masters swimmer.

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Miscues Doom Cornell Football At Delaware

9/16/17 - http://www.cornellbigred.com/

NEWARK, Del. — Delaware turned five Big Red first half turnovers into 27 points and never looked back, topping Cornell 41-14 on Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium. The Blue Hens improved to 2-1 on the season, while the visitors dropped their 2017 opener to fall to 0-1.

Junior quarterback Dalton Banks completed 23-of-35 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, but was also intercepted three times. He found 12 different receivers, with 13 different Big Red players making at least on catch. Freshman Eric Gallman III hauled in a 27-yard touchdown to get the Big Red on the board, while senior Josh Sweet punched in a second score from 2-yards out in the waning seconds. Senior James Hubbard caught three passes for 58 yards, including an acrobatic 47-yard grab (see it here). In all, the offense put up 315 yards against a stout Delaware defense.

Cornell's defense was game despite finding itself in short fields. Of Delaware's first five scores, only one drive needed more than 21 yards. Sophomore Jordan Landsman, making his first collegiate start, had a pair of sacks and six total tackles, while senior Daniel Crochet had five stops, his first career interception (click here to see the interception) and a tackle for loss. Crochet's classmate, captain Kurt Frimel, had three tackles for loss and a pass breakup among his team-best nine tackles.Returning All-American Nick Gesualdi added nine stops and both junior Reis Seggebruch (click here to see Segeebruch's sack) and sophomore William Baker had sacks.

The Big Red fumbled on its very first play from scrimmage and the Blue Hens pounced on the football just 18 seconds into the game. Two plays later, needing just four yards to the end zone, Kani Kane scored the first of three touchdowns on the day, this one coming from 3 yards out. He would go on to add first half scoring runs of 1 and 3 yards as the home team built a 27-0 lead at the break.

Once settled at halftime and used to game speed after spotting Delaware two games, the Big Red played the Blue Hens even after the break. Delaware took the air out of the ball after the break, allowing the road team just four possessions - two of which Cornell scored touchdowns on and a third where it reached the end zone before turning it over on downs.

Kareem Williams ran 15 times for 121 yards to lead the Delaware offense, while Joe Walker completed 20-of-30 passes for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His favorite target was Jamie Jarmon, who caught eight balls for 84 yards and a 12-yard touchdown. Frank Raggo connected on a pair of field goals and had a third try blocked. Defensively, Charles Bell notched a game-high 12 tackles and Troy Reeder notched nine tackles with 1.5 for a loss and a forced fumble.

Special teams was an advantage for the Big Red, as sophomore Nickolas Null averaged 48.0 yards on three punts in his first game replacing All-American Chris Fraser. Sophomore David Jones returned four kickoffs for 95 yards and also made five tackles in his first varsity action.

Quotable
"We gave up the ball five times in the first half and they scored 27 points off them. They won by 27 points. Obviously we didn't play well in the first half, especially offensively. I think defensively, given the field position I think they did some nice things. Those guys don't play in the Ivy League. I obviously want to win every game we play, but that's not a league game.There's going to be a lot of positive things to show and some stuff we need to clean up and improve on."
David Archer '05, the Roger J. Weiss Head Coach of Cornell Football

"These guys, they are probably one of the better teams we'll play all year, and we played with them in many facets of the game for long stretches. That's a huge positive to take into next week's game at Yale."
Kurt Frimel, senior linebacker and team captain

"We are so much better than that, and that's not what our identity is or a reflection on what we expect to become. It was a disaster of a game.We just literally gave them the ball, handed them the ball. We're going to come out and get a lot better this week. I know how good we are and how talented we are. Not everyone is able to see all those practices and the work we put into the offseason. To see our defense go out there and play well and knowing what our offense can do and will do, I have full confidence that we're going to clean this up."
Dalton Banks, junior quarterback

Beyond The Box
• A number of Big Red players made their first varsity starts: Sophomores William Baker (DL), Michael Gillooley (DL), Jordan Landsman (DL) and Davy Lizana (WR); juniors David D'Amelio (OL), J. Edward Keating (OL) and Mason Manning III (OL);.and senior Theo Goosen (OL).
• Making their first varsity appearances: Freshmen Eric Gallman III (WR) and Phazione McClurge (CB); sophomores William Baker (DL), John Fitzgerald (TE), Michael Gillooley (DL), George Holm (OL), David Jones (CB), Jordan Landsman (DL), Davy Lizana (WR) and Owen Peters (WR); and juniors Oscar Boochever (TE), David D'Amelio (OL), Gustavo Dorsett (WR) and Cyrus Nolan (DL);
• Sophomore Nickolas Null, in his first game replacing All-American and four-time first-team All-Ivy League punter Chris Fraser, averaged 48.0 yards on three punts with one downed inside the 20.
• Freshman Eric Gallman scored on a 27-yard touchdown reception.
• Senior Daniel Crochet registered his first career interception.
• Senior running back Josh Sweet had his first touchdown since scoring in a contest at Sacred Heart during the 2015 season.
• Junior quarterback Dalton Banks moved into 11th place on the school's career passing yardage list with his 247-yard day, giving him 2,761 for his career (23 yards shy of the top 10).
• With nine tackles, senior captain Kurt Frimel surpassed the century mark (102 career tackles).
• After tallying 44 all-purpose yards, junior Chris Walker surpassed 1,000 for his career (1,003).

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Blue Hens rip Cornell 41-14

Sep 16th, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Delaware receiver Jamie Jarmon, an Indian River High grad, runs for 24 yards during the Blue Hens’ 41-14 win over Cornell on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Jamie Jarmon and the end zone are hardly strangers.

The former Indian River High star quarterback ran for 29 touchdowns as a senior after all.

But that was six years ago.

So Jarmon, now a junior receiver at Delaware, was pretty excited to finally catch his first collegiate TD pass as the Blue Hens rolled to a 41-14 victory over Cornell on a hot Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.

Another former Henlopen Conference standout, Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane, also scored his first Delaware TD and then added two more short-yardage scores as the Hens (2-1) led 27-0 by halftime in their first football meeting with the Big Red.

Jarmon finished with a career-high eight catches for 84 yards while adding a 24-yard run. But his favorite catch was a 12-yarder from Joe Walker that he snared in the back of the end zone in the third quarter for his first collegiate touchdown.

Jarmon was mobbed by his teammates after the TD stretched the Hens’ lead to 34-0.

“It’s a relief — probably because it’s been three years,” the former minor-league baseball player said with a smile. “I’ve struggled in those areas. I’ve had opportunities before and I’ve not been able to come through.

“It’s just kind of a load off of my back to be able to make those plays now. It felt good.”

Delaware’s defense actually played a big role in a lot of the Hens’ early scoring. Delaware forced five first-half turnovers, including four interceptions.

When Cornell (0-1) fumbled on the game’s first play from scrimmage, big defensive tackle Bilal Nichols finally scooped up the loose ball and returned it 11 yards to the Big Red four.

Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane scored on three short TD runs for the Blue Hens. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Two plays later, Kane (five carries-11 yards) scored on a three-yard run and the Hens were up 7-0 just 53 seconds into the contest.

Delaware’s first three scoring drives covered 21 yards or less as its defense kept giving it good field position.

All told, Kane’s three touchdowns came on a pair of three-yard runs plus one one-yarder. At 6-foot, 240-pounds, he’s becoming the Hens’ short yardage specialist.

“He’s just a big, big back,” said coach Danny Rocco. “And he’s got really good feet for a big back. … He just fits us right now.”

Delaware’s defenders were happy to lend a hand to the offense.

Nichols added an interception when the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder pulled in a pass gunned right at him at the line of scrimmage.

Thomas Jefferson, who finished with 48 yards on 11 carries, looks for running room on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

“We really preached this week that we needed more takeaways,” he said. “We really need to go after the ball a lot more.

“It was good to see that we came out fast — and we really got a chance to do that today. That was our emphasis all week.”

With junior Kareem Williams running for 121 yards on 15 carries, the Hens finished with a nice offensive balance — 225 yards rushing and 202 yards passing. It’s the first time they’ve finished with over 200 yards on both the ground and through the air since 2013.

Walker threw for a career-high 202 yards while completing 20-of-30 passes for two touchdowns and an interception.

What Rocco liked to see was the Hens finish off a pair of long second-half drives with TDs.

Jarmon’s scoring catch finished off an eight-play, 81-yard drive while Walker hit tight end Charles Scarff with a six-yard TD pass to cap off a 12-play, 81-yard march.

While there was a lot to like about Delaware’s performance on Saturday, Rocco also said that — considering all the turnovers — maybe the Hens should have done more.

“After the game, in the locker room, I did share with my team that my expectations are higher than that,” said Rocco. “It was one of those games where, if we really would have played a clean game and a complete game, we really could have dominated that scoreboard. So there’s a lot to learn from out there today.”

Freshman running back Khory Spruill had seven carries for 39 yards in the fourth quarter. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

The next time the Hens take the field, though, they’ll be playing for real. After an open date, they host defending FCS national champion and current No. 1-ranked James Madison in their Colonial Athletic Association opener on Sept. 30.

Rocco has always talked about the season-opening, three-game portion of Delaware’s schedule as something of an evaluation period.

What changes the first-year Blue Hen coach makes, if any, remain to be seen.

“Defensively, I think we’ll just continue to build and tweak on the things that we’ve done here the first three weeks,” said Rocco.

Offensively, though, Rocco clearly wants to see the Hens play at a faster tempo.

“We have got to get in and out of the huddle and on the ball,” he said. “We have to shorten our verbage — streamline everything we’re doing. We had a few series in the third quarter where we were playing with that kind of tempo.

“I’m not talking about no-huddle or (playing at) break-neck speed. I’m just talking about the ability to get out, up on the ball, have the confidence to get over the center, have the confidence to execute our base offense. … There’s some things that I just feel we need to do a better job of.

“I’m just trying to create more of a sense of urgency in everything we do,” Rocco added.

Extra points

Receiver Vinny Papale, who was briefly hospitalized last Saturday after suffering a bruised lung at Virginia Tech, had a 14-yard catch against Cornell. … Senior linebacker Charles Bell had a game-high 12 tackles. … Delaware’s other interceptions came from Nassir Adderley, Colby Reeder and Malcolm Brown. Adderley had a 55-yard return while Reeder returned his 20 yards. … Williams’ 49-yard run was Delaware’s longest of the season. … The Hens punted only twice. … Delaware’s Frank Raggo hit a pair of short field goals. Jake Roth also missed a 49-yard attempt and Raggo had a 43-yarder blocked. … While seven different Hens had a reception, senior receiver Diante Cherry went without a catch for one of the few times in his career.

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Dominant Defensive Effort Pushes Delaware Past Cornell, 41-14

Courtesey of Delaware Athletics
Sep 16, 2017

NEWARK, Del. – Five first-half turnovers set the tone for a dominant day for the University of Delaware football team Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens jumped out to a big halftime lead and pulled away for a 41-14 victory over Cornell at sun-drenched Delaware Stadium.

Delaware (1-1), which won its second straight home game, turned those five turnovers into 27 points and never looked back as the Blue Hens spoiled the season-opener for their Ivy League foe and first-time opponent Cornell (0-1).

The Blue Hens recovered a fumble on Cornell’s first play from scrimmage in the opening minute and intercepted four Big Red passes in the first half on the way to a 27-0 halftime lead.

Delaware junior quarterback Joe Walker hit on 20 of 30 passes for a career-high 202 yards and two touchdowns, junior wide receiver Jamie Jarmon set career-highs with eight catches for 84 yards and scored his first career touchdown, junior running back Kareem Williams rushed for a game-high 121 yards, and junior running back Kani Kane scored three short touchdown runs to pace the offense.

The Blue Hens piled up 427 yards of total offense and gained 200 or more yards on both the ground and through the air for the first time since the 2013 season.

Delaware’s defense held Cornell to just 315 total yards. Senior defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (above) recovered a fumble on the first play from scrimmage to set up Delaware’s first touchdown and later intercepted a pass inside Cornell territory to set up another score. Linebacker Colby Reeder, safety Nasir Adderley, and cornerback Malcolm Brown also intercepted passes to lead Delaware.

Delaware head coach Danny Rocco
“We are very happy with the score and the outcome. We needed to come in here today and win a football game, extend the lead, and control the tempo against a team that I felt would compete relay hard. Winning 41-14 is a good score but my expectations are higher than that. There is a lot to learn from what happened out there today. I felt defensively once again we got off to a great start, took the ball away, and got off the field. I think offensively we had some really good drives for touchdowns. Early on we were able to get the ball in the end zone down in the red zone, which is what we have struggled with earlier this season.”

Defensive Tackle Bilal Nichols
“It felt great out there today. We really preached this week that we needed to get more takeways and that we needed to go after the ball more. It was great that we came out fast because that was our emphasis this week.”

HEN SCRATCHINGS:

Hens have won their first two games at home for the sixth time in the last eight years but for the first time since 2014
Williams, whose 49-yard run in the third quarter was the longest by a Blue Hen runner this year, recorded his third career 100-yard rushing effort
Delaware gained over 200 yards in both passing and rushing in the same game for the first time since a 33-30 win over Albany on Oct. 12, 2013
Delaware senior linebacker Charles Bell recorded a game-high 12 tackles
In addition to the four interceptions, Delaware’s defense also broke up six passes and had three sacks
Wide receiver Vinny Papale, who suffered a bruised lung in the first quarter of last week’s game vs. Virginia Tech, returned to action and caught a pass for 14 yards
Kane scored his three touchdowns on just five carries and finished with 11 yards
Senior WR Diante Cherry was held without a catch for only the fourth time his 35-game career, still needs just one reception to reach 100 for his career at Delaware
Freshman running back Khory Spruill (at right) rushed for 39 yards for the Blue Hens
============================================

‘Inconsistent’ offense sinks Hens in 27-0 loss to Hokies

Sep 9th, 2017 · by Delaware State News 

Delaware running back Kani Kane, a Sussex Tech grad, looks for yardage against the Hokies. (UD Athletics/Jesse Caris)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The Delaware defense put in a big effort in Saturday’s game against No. 18 Virginia Tech but one special-teams lapse swung the momentum on Saturday afternoon.

An inconsistent offense also could not put points on the board in the Blue Hens’ 27-0 setback to the Hokies before a boisterous crowd of 62,526 at Lane Stadium.

Delaware (1-1) held the Hokies offense to just 303 total yards and only two offensive touchdowns, but the offense could not hold up its part of the bargain.

Virginia Tech (2-0) held the Blue Hen offense in check all day as Delaware managed just 223 total yards, turned the ball over twice, and was forced to punt 10 times. Delaware was also called for 11 penalties for 84 yards, the most by a UD team since 2014.

“I’m disappointed but I’m not discouraged,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco. “I saw too many phases within the game today that were positive and saw signs of a pretty good football team. I expected a little more today and I thought we would be able to keep the score within reach.

“Our defense had a pretty good day’s work but offensively we were too inconsistent from possession to possession. Virginia Tech has a really stout defense and they’ve been doing this for a long time. There is certainly no shame. I’ve seen that defense take control of a lot of games over the years. We just need to stay focused and stay committed.”

UD Athletics/Jesse Caris
Delaware cornerback Nijuel Hill knocks away a pass in Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech. (UD Athletics/Jesse Caris)

Delaware quarterback Joe Walker completed 8 of 17 passes for 116 yards and also rushed for 26 yards while Thomas Jefferson ran for 27 yards and Diante Cherry caught three passes for 41 yards. Defensively for the Hens, Nasir Adderley had a team-high six tackles and blocked a field goal attempt while Bilal Nichols had five tackles and a sack.

Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 222 yards with touchdown passes of four yards to Travon McMillian and 28 yards to Cam Phillips. Phillips finished with six catches for 90 yards. Kicker Joey Slye added field goals from 50 and 24 yards.

“We walk away from this game with some positives, although its hard to think that way right now after a loss,” said linebacker Troy Reeder. “We met some goals today. Our defensive line was very good and it was nice to see our guys in the back end step up.

“I was proud of the way they played. We can leave this game saying we gave it our best shot.”

The big blow just happened to be the first score of the game when Greg Stroman returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown with 2:45 left in the first half to give the Hokies the lead for good. Slye kicked his 51-yard field goal midway through the second quarter and McMillian scored his short touchdown just before halftime to give Virginia Tech the 17-0 halftime lead.

Phillips 28-yard catch from Jackson early in the fourth quarter and Slye’s 24-yard field goal capped the scoring.

Delaware, which suffered its first shutout since 2014, knocked on the door several times but could not put points on the board. Frank Raggo’s 28-yard field goal attempt with 3:40 left in the first half was off the mark. The Hens drove to the Tech 13-yard line late in the third quarter but was Walker was intercepted by Terrell Edmunds, who returned the ball 55 yards to set up the Phillips touchdown.

“Virginia Tech has a great defense and fantastic linebackers,” said center Brody Kern. “We knew they would be tough to move, but we made too many mental errors and had too many missed assignments. We should have put the ball in the end zone when we got down there. We need to do a better job at finishing drives and we will.”

Extra points

The crowd of 62,526 marked the highest attended game the Blue Hens have participated in school history, surpassing the previous mark of 40,119 at Maryland in 2008. … Diante Cherry went over 1,000 career yards with his first reception of the day in the first quarter. His three receptions leaves him with 99 career catches. … Delaware, which led NCAA FCS in fewest penalties with just 40 in 11 games in 2017, was whistled for 11 penalties for 84 yards. During one stretch in the second quarter, the Hens committed motion penalties on three straight plays. … Delaware was held scoreless for the first time since a 19-0 loss at Towson on Oct. 31, 2015 … Delaware punter Nick Pritchard had a busy afternoon as he punted 10 times for a 39.9-yard average and booted a season-long kick of 52 yard.


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Strong defense carries Hokies past Delaware in home opener

September 9, 2017 - http://www.hokiesports.com/

Lane/Worsham Field - 62,526

BLACKSBURG – Greg Stroman returned a punt for a touchdown, Josh Jackson threw two touchdown passes and the Hokies’ defense recorded a shutout, lifting No. 18 Virginia Tech to a 27-0 victory over Delaware in a non-conference game at Lane Stadium on Saturday.

With the win, the Hokies moved to 2-0 on the season and 52-4 against non-conference opponents at Lane Stadium since 1996. Delaware fell to 1-1 on the year.

Tech’s defense held the Blue Hens to just 223 yards in helping coordinator Bud Foster recorded his 32nd shutout since taking over as the sole coordinator in 1996.

“It’s hard to do nowadays,” Foster said. “I think Delaware has an outstanding football program. I felt going into this game … I’ve known Danny [Rocco] for a long time, and I know he doesn’t take that job unless he has a chance to do some special things there. You’re talking about a tradition-rich program. They are an experienced program – they got 19 starters returning and a lot of upperclassmen. So yes, I’m proud of our kids and how they played … It’s a credit to our kids.”

Stroman broke a scoreless game late in the first quarter when he made a nice cut at the Virginia Tech 45 to dodge a would-be tackler and then went untouched 61 yards for the score.

“First thing I had to do was catch it,” Stroman said. “When I first looked upfield, a lot of guys just hadn’t been pinned, so I just hit and tried to go forward.”

Tech quarterback Josh Jackson threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Travon McMillian and a 28-yard touchdown strike to Cam Phillips. Jackson completed 16 of 28 for 222 yards and the two scores on the day.

Jackson’s production came on a day in which the Hokies’ offense sputtered at times. Tech finished with just 303 yards.

“Obviously, we have a lot of things we need to work on, but I’m proud of them and the way that they played,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “We got to get ready to go for the next one. Delaware, defensively, has a fine scheme. They know it well, they execute it very well and it gave us some problems offensively.”

QUICK NOTES

• Stroman became the first player in Virginia Tech history to return a punt for a touchdown in three consecutive seasons. His three career punt returns for touchdowns rank tied for fourth in school history.

• Stroman’s punt return marked Tech’s 58th touchdown on special teams since 1987, including the 22nd via punt return.

• The Hokies are now 5-1 in their past six home openers, including the past two under Fuente.

• Cam Phillips’ 90 receiving yards now give him 2,291 for his career. He moved past Ricky Scales (2,272) into fourth place on Tech’s all-time list.

• Joey Slye’s 50-yard field goal marked a career high. With two field goals against Delaware, he now needs just four to pass Shayne Graham (1996-99) and become Tech’s all-time leader.

• Slye finished with nine points against Delaware, giving him 330 for his career. He needs just seven points to pass Lee Suggs (1999-2002) into second place on Tech’s all-time list.

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Blue Hens Fall at No. 18 Virginia Tech, 27-0
By Delaware Athletics
Sep 9, 2017

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The University of Delaware defense put in a big effort in Saturday's college football matchup vs. No. 18 Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium, but one special teams lapse swung the momentum and an inconsistent offense could not put points on the board in a 27-0 setback to the Hokies before a boisterous crowd of 62,526.

Delaware (1-1), coming off a season-opening 22-3 win over Delaware State Aug. 31, held the Hokies offense to just 303 total yards and only two offensive touchdowns, but the offense could not hold up its part of the bargain.

Virginia Tech (2-0), ranked No. 18 nationally by the Associated Press, held the Blue Hen offense in check all day as Delaware managed just 223 total yards, turned the ball over twice, and was forced to punt 10 times. Delaware was also called for 11 penalties for 84 yards, the most by a UD team since 2014.

Delaware quarterback Joe Walker completed 8 of 17 passes for 116 yards and also rushed for 26 yards while Thomas Jefferson (below right) ran for 27 yards and Diante Cherry (at left) caught three passes for 41 yards. Defensively for the Hens, Nasir Adderley had a team-high six tackles and blocked a field goal attempt and Bilal Nichols had five tackles and a sack.

Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 222 yards with touchdown passes of four yards to Travon McMillian and 28 yards to Cam Phillips. Phillips finished with six catches for 90 yards. Kicker Joey Slye added field goals from 50 and 24 yards.

The big blow just happened to be the first score of the game when Greg Stroman returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown with 2:45 left in the first half to give the Hokies the lead for good. Slye kicked his 51-yard field goal midway through the second quarter and McMillian scored his short touchdown just before halftime to give Virginia Tech the 17-0 halftime lead.

Phillips 28-yard catch from Jackson early in the fourth quarter and Slye’s 24-yard field goal capped the scoring.

Delaware, which suffered its first shutout since 2014, knocked on the door several times but could not put points on the board. Frank Raggo’s 28-yard field goal attempt with 3:40 left in the first half was off the mark. The Hens drove to the Tech 13-yard line late in the third quarter but was Walker was intercepted by Terrell Edmunds, who returned the ball 55 yards to set up the Phillips touchdown.

POSTGAME QUOTES:

Delaware head coach Danny Rocco
“I’m disappointed but I’m not discouraged. I saw too many phases within the game today that were positive and saw signs of a pretty good football team. I expected a little more today and I thought we would be able to keep the score within reach. Our defense had a pretty good day’s work but offensively we were too inconsistent from possession to possession. Virginia Tech has a really stout defense and they’ve been doing this for a long time. There is certainly no shame. I’ve seen that defense take control of a lot of games over the years. We just need to stay focused and stay committed.

Delaware center Brody Kern
“Virginia Tech has a great defense and fantastic linebackers. We knew they would be tough to move, but we made too many mental errors and had too many missed assignments. We should have put the ball in the end zone when we got down there. We need to do a better job at finishing drives and we will.”

Delaware linebacker Troy Reeder
“We walk away from this game with some positives, although its hard to think that way right now after a loss. We met some goals today. Our defensive line was very good and it was nice to see our guys in the back end step up. I was proud of the way they played. We can leave this game saying we gave it our best shot.”

HEN SCRATCHINGS
• The crowd of 62,526 marked the highest attended game the Blue Hens have participated in school history, surpassing the previous mark of 40,119 at Maryland in 2008
• Diante Cherry went over 1,000 career yards with his first reception of the day in the first quarter. His three receptions leaves him with 99 career catches heading into next week’s game vs. Cornell
• Delaware, which led NCAA FCS in fewest penalties with just 40 in 11 games in 2017, was whistled for 11 penalties for 84 yards. During one stretch in the second quarter, the Hens committed motion penalties on three straight plays
• The game marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools in football
• Delaware was held scoreless for the first time since a 19-0 loss at Towson on Oct. 31, 2015
• Delaware punter Nick Pritchard had a busy afternoon as he punted 10 times for a 39.9-yard average and booted a season-long kick of 52 yards

NEXT GAME
• Saturday, September 16 • Cornell at Delaware • Delaware Stadium, • 3:30 p.m. • High School Band Day

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Hens top Hornets in Rocco’s debut: UD gets battle from DSU but pulls away 22-3
Sep 1st, 2017 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — With Delaware out gaining Delaware State most of the night, Danny Rocco said he was never too worried about losing his first game as the Blue Hens’ coach.

But the Delaware Stadium scoreboard didn’t always agree with him.

Delaware led the Hornets by just five at halftime on Thursday night as both teams struggled to find the end zone.

Finally, though, the Hens found a way to put enough distance between themselves and DelState to put away a 22-3 victory over the Hornets in their football season opener on Thursday night.

Delaware is now 8-0 in the series between the state’s only two Division I FCS programs while also giving Rocco a victory in his debut as the Hens’ head coach.

“I never really felt stressed or pressured,” said Rocco. “I never really felt in jeopardy in coming out of here with a win tonight. I think that calmness allowed our football team to maybe respond there in the second half and finish with some confidence.

Blue Hen coach Danny Rocco was victorious in his debut Thursday night. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

“We certainly didn’t play as well as I thought we would play. … That’s something that we’re really going to have to address.

“We’ve got a lot of work out in front of us but I remain very optimistic,” Rocco said later.

Of course, DelState had something to do with Delaware’s lack of scoring.

The Hens finished with a 432-224 edge in total yards and a 27-11 advantage in first downs. But the game was far closer than last year’s 56-14 Delaware rout.

Anthony Jackson, #11 UD, and Thyrick Pitts, #1 UD, celebrate as the University of Delaware hosts Delaware State University in the opening game of the season at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium in Newark.

The Hens’ 22-point total was their lowest in the eight-game series.

“We’re a different team,” said DSU coach Kenny Carter, whose squad went 0-11 last fall. “We’re a totally different team. It’s not even close. We’re bigger, we’re stronger and we have all the things that are necessary.

“The progress is there but we have to finish. I’m proud of our kids, I hate losing and they hate losing. We had an opportunity and we had to finish.”

The contest featured just two touchdowns, both of which were scored in the second half by Delaware receiver Diante Cherry. The senior was named the Nate Beasley MVP for the two TDs while also catching four passes for 83 yards.

On the first TD, quarterback Joe Walker (13-of-26, 192 yards) scrambled and rolled to his right before firing a 31-yard scoring pass to Cherry that stretched the Hens’ lead to 15-3 with 2:48 left in the third quarter.

Then, with 6:02 left in the contest, Cherry scored on a 19-yard reverse. The receiver dove for the pylon at the end of the play.

Xavier Wilcher, #31 DSU, misses an ankle tackle on Joe Walker, #3 UD, as the University of Delaware hosts Delaware State University in the opening game of the season at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium in Newark.

He was initially ruled out of bounds at the one but was awarded the TD after officials checked the replay.

Ironically, Cherry started the game by dropping what looked like a sure 54-yard scoring pass from Walker. Cherry was a few steps behind a defender and Walker hit him in stride on Delaware’s second possession of the night.

“I was just trying not to get down on myself,” said Cherry. “You’re going to make some mistakes in the game. I just tried to bounce back from that.”

“If Cherry catches the first post, it’s just a different game,” said Rocco. “I don’t know why it’s like that but it’s true. If he scores a touchdown and the bench erupts … and momentum just flies on our side.

UD fans celebrate as the University of Delaware hosts Delaware State University in the opening game of the season at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium in Newark.

“Now he came and responded. He certainly had a very good game. It was just the timing of everything. Joe threw the ball well early, he did not throw the ball well late. Why? I don’t know.”

Junior running back Thomas Jefferson finished with a game-high 102 yards on 19 carries for Delaware.

The Hens’ victory was marred by a serious leg injury suffered by senior cornerback Justin Watson early in the fourth quarter. Watson started to get up after breaking up a long pass but then fell to the ground.

He was taken from the field on a stretcher with his leg in an air cast.

“It was sad,” said Rocco. “It’s always sad. It’s the most disappointing thing about the game when these guys get hurt. It’s not good. … He’s a great young man.”

Delaware led only 8-3 at halftime despite outgaining the Hornets 251 yards to 86 and holding DelState without a first down until late in the second quarter.

The Hens’ first points of the season when defensive lineman Cam Kitchen tackled DSU ballcarrier Mike Waters for a safety late in the first quarter. The play was set up by a nice punt from Maryland transfer Nick Pritchard that pinned the Hornets at their own two.

Connor Lutz, #67 UD, and Collin Wallish, #71 UD, provide some blocking as the University of Delaware hosts Delaware State University in the opening game of the season at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium in Newark.

Other than that, though, Delaware had to settle for a pair of short field goals from Frank Raggo after failing to cash in on some good scoring chances.

DelState threatened to really make the Hens pay for squandering those opportunities when freshman QB Jack McDaniels (12-of-28, 165 yards) led the Hornets on a quick nine-play, 68-yard drive just before halftime. But on a third-and-goal from the one, Delaware safety Ray Jones broke through and ran ball carrier Brycene Alleyne out of bounds for a six-yard loss.

This time it was DelState that settled for a short field goal, a 24-yarder from Wisdom Nzidee — which was partially blocked — to close within 8-3.

With nationally-ranked Division I FCS foe Virginia Tech looming next Saturday, Rocco knows the Hens have to play much better.

“I just think we’ve got to learn from tonight,” said Rocco, holding the game ball he was awarded for his first UD win. “We’ve got to improve from this performance tonight. We’ve got to remain committed to our goals. I told them in the locker room, we’re coming to work tomorrow.’”

Extra points

Quarterback J.P. Caruso got in the game for the Hens with about five minutes remaining. The Appalachian State transfer completed 2-of-3 passes for 14 yards. … Freshman linebacker Colby Reeder had his first game cut short when he was ejected for targeting early in the third quarter. Reeder hit DSU QB Daniels just as he started to slide, knocking his helmet off. Reeder will have to sit out the first half of next Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech. … Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane saw his first action for Delaware, running for 11 yards on four carries late in the game. …. Delaware’s Jake Roth tried a pair of 49-yard field goals in the first half. Both kicks were long enough but went wide.

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Cherry Scores Twice, Leads Delaware to Season Opening Victory Over Delaware State

By Delaware Athletics
Aug 31, 2017

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware football team opened the Danny Rocco Era with a 22-3 victory over in-state foe Delaware State Thursday night at Delaware Stadium.

Senior wide receiver Diante Cherry led the Blue Hens (1-0), making four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. The Lancaster, Pa., native also had a 19-yard acrobatic run off a reverse for another score. The 102 all-purpose yards earned Cherry the Nate Beasley MVP Award as the game's outstanding player.

The Blue Hens offense finished the opening night performance by racking up 432 yards of total offense, but it was the defense that truly shined.

That unit, which returned all but one starter from last year's team, held Delaware State (0-1) to just 224 yards of total offense, and to 3-13 success on third downs.

Delaware allowed just a 24-yard field goal late in the first half after stoping the Hornets on the one-yard line.

The Blue Hens defense forced three turnovers, recovering a pair of fumbles before sealing the win with an interception by redshirt freshman Nijuel Hill late in the fourth quarter. 

Blue Hens redshirt junior quarterback Joe Walker (above) went 13 of 26 for a career-high 192 yards and the touchdown to Cherry while redshirt junior running back Thomas Jefferson ran for 102 yards on 19 carries. 

Head Coach Danny Rocco
"I certainly recognize tonight the significance of team here at Delaware. I recognize the significance of the production of the game and all the involvement from so many people. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate all the support. We had a good crowd and there was great energy out there tonight."

"I think that calmness allowed our football team to finish with some confidence. We certainly didn't play as well as I expected us to play. We did the things we had to do to win the football game. We finished in a way that allowed us to be the better football team out there tonight. We did some good things but we were just way too inconsistent."

"I thought our defense held up their end of the bargain. I thought the two second half takeaways were probably the two most critical plays in the game. They really took away any hopes they had to actually win the game and gave us just enough momentum to go down and finish the drive and extend the lead. I've been doing this a long time and I know how hard it is to win a college football game so we are very happy to get the win."

Diante Cherry
"I was trying not get down on myself (after dropping a sure touchdown on a crossing pattern pass from Walker in the first half). You are going to make some mistakes in a game and I just needed to bounce back. I felt like we were executing things, but when it came down to crunch time, converting third downs, getting into the end zone, we just didn't do that very well. We just have to watch the films and see what we can do better as a team."

Hen Scratchings
• Rocco won his first game as head coach at Delaware and improved to 91-42 all-time as a head coach. He served as head coach at Liberty University in 2006-11 and at the University of Richmond in 2012-16.

• Rocco became the fifth straight Delaware coach to win his debut, joining College Football Hall of Fame members Dave Nelson (1951 vs. Lehigh) and Tubby Raymond (1966 vs. Hofstra), and K.C. Keeler (2002 vs. Georgia Southern), and Dave Brock (2013 vs. Jacksonville, Fla.).

• Delaware has now defeated downstate opponent Delaware State in all eight meetings since the first game in 2007 with an average winning margin of 27 points per game.

• Delaware has now won 9 of its last 13 season openers, 25 of its last 28 home openers, and 25 of its last 27 games vs. non-league opponents at Delaware Stadium.

• Jefferson surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the sixth time in his career.

• Junior defensive end Cam Kitchen opened the Delaware scoring when he notched a safety after tackling Mike Waters in the end zone late in the first quarter. Kitchen later recovered a fumble that led to the touchdown pass from Walker to Cherry.

• Redshirt junior kicker Frank Raggo converted field goals of 21 and 25 yards, the second giving Delaware an 8-0 lead late in the second quarter. He has now converted 10 of his last 13 attempts.

• Members of the team presented Rocco with the game ball in the locker room in celebration of his first Delaware victory.

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Add Nichols, Walker, Yocum to Captains Group 

Aug 27, 2017 - bluehens.com
NEWARK, Del. -- The top student-athlete leadership unit for the 2017 University of Delaware football squad has just doubled.New Blue Hens head coachDanny Rocco announced this week that a trio of standout players - senior defensive tackle Bilal Nichols, senior tight end/fullback Kyle Yocum, and junior quarterback Joe Walker - have been named co-captains.

The trio joins the three captains - senior center Brody Kern, senior linebacker Charles Bell, and junior linebacker Troy Reeder - who were announced at the Blue-White Spring Game in May.The six captains is the highest total ever in Delaware history, surpassing the previous high of five during the 2011 season and four each during the 1996, 2008, 2014, and 2016 campaigns."At the end of camp, we went back and revisited our captains," said Rocco. "This is something I have been doing for a while. We had a few in the summer, and as we head into the end of camp, its gives guys the opportunity to take over some leadership roles.

 It is one of the greatest honors you can receive as a student-athlete and one of those things that stays with you for a long time. It gives more people the opportunity to work towards having a leadership role on the team and being recognized for that."Nichols, a 6-4, 290 lb. sociology major from Newark, Del. (Hodgson Vo-Tech HS), is a fourth-year standout who will start in the middle of the defensive front at nose tackles. A second-year starter and a two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association selection, Nichols has collected 48 tackles during his career, including 11 tackles for loss.Yocum, a 6-1, 240 lb. MBA candidate at Delaware and a native of Reading, Pa. (Exeter Township HS), has been a versatile standout during his five-year career, playing quarterback, fullback, tight end, and contributing on special teams. 

He has played in 29 career games with eight starts.Walker, a 6-3, 205 lb. history major from Philadelphia, Pa. (Martin Luther King HS), is expected to start for the third straight season this fall under center. In 22 career games, he has thrown for 1,559 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 811 yards and five scores.Delaware will open the 2017 season this Thursday, Aug. 31, when the Hens host downstate foe Delaware State at 7 p.m. at Delaware Stadium.Great season, group, and mini-plan packages for 2017 Delaware Football are on sale now as are individual game tickets. Contact the Delaware Ticket Office by phone at 302-831-2257, by email at athletics-tix@udel.edu, or online by clicking on “Tickets” at www.bluehens.com. There are also a limited number of premium box seats still available for the 2017 football season.

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Delaware State University Hornets hoping for turnaround season; starting with in-state Rival University of Delaware Blue Hens

Aug 26th, 2017 · by Tim Mastro · Delaware State News

DOVER — The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference coaches are expecting more of the same from Delaware State this season.

But the Hornets hope to change that.

Coming off a winless 2016 season, the Hornets were picked to finish last in the MEAC again in 2017. Things are supposed to be different this year, though, according to Delaware State.

“It’s night and day from last year,” said coach Kenny Carter. “We’ve had two good years of recruiting and got some players in here who can play in our league and do things on a consistent basis. Everything we wanted to do as we’ve built this thing, now we’ve gotten to that point. Now we have to go play and execute every day.”

The Hornets begin their season with a trip to instate rival Delaware on Thursday at 7 p.m. The rest of the nonconference schedule is highlighted by trips to FBS powers West Virginia (Sept. 16) and Florida State (Nov. 18).

The MEAC portion of the schedule kicks off in Week Two at Hampton on a Friday night at 7 p.m. (Sept. 8). The home opener is Saturday, Sept 23 against Norfolk State at 2 p.m.

Hornet quarterback Keenan Black. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Carter is entering his third season at the helm and is looking to stabilize a reeling program which has not had a winning season since 2012. The Hornets have only won one game the past two years.

Like last year, the team will be made up of primarily underclassmen as Carter has tried to rebuild through recruiting. The Hornets have just eight seniors on the roster.

With so much inexperience, it’s been quite the process. But there’s optimism this could be the year it comes together.

“I’m pleased with where we are,” Carter said. “Are we there yet? No, there’s plenty of work to be done. But we’re on track, I feel like we’re sticking with the plan.”

Delaware State University football head coach Kenny Carter .

There’s still plenty of unknowns this year. The starting quarterback won’t be announced until the days prior to the season opener. The competition, which originally had four players battling for the starting spot, is now down to sophomore Keenan Black and true freshman Jack McDaniels.

The Hornets also only return just one starting wide receiver and have no one older than a sophomore starting on the offensive line.

One place where DSU will be strong though is at running back. Junior Brycen Alleyne and sophomore Mike Waters were both top-five rushers in the conference last season.

They also added freshman Nyfease West to an already deep backfield. West was one of the Hornets primary recruits for the 2016 season but suffered a knee injury in preseason camp that made him miss the entire year.

With so many weapons in the backfield and the youth at quarterback, expect the Hornets to be a run-oriented team to begin the year.

“It’s going to be a lot of ground and pound, stuff it up the gut,” said sophomore lineman Joshua Fala.

Carter thinks the defense will be improved from a year ago when he bemoaned too many missed tackles.

The defensive line got stronger with the addition of Towson transfer Caleb Hebron and when former offensive lineman Jacob Jones joined the unit. The Hornets also return their top two tacklers from last season at linebacker in Malik Harris and Brian Cavicante.

“The defense front continues to get so much better,” Carter said. “Then our linebackers are really starting add on to the things we’ve done in the past. Our physicality at the point of attack is markedly better than what it was last year.”

Delaware State football

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK: The Hornets’ starting quarterback will be named in the days before the opener on Thursday at Delaware. The competition is down to two, sophomore Keenan Black and true freshman Jack McDaniels. Black was recruited as a quarterback but did not throw a pass last season and mostly played wide receiver. McDaniels threw for 2,956 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior in high school a year ago.

RUNNING BACK: This is DelState’s deepest position. The Hornets return two of the MEAC top rushers in junior Brycen Alleyne and sophomore Mike Waters. Both were in the top-five in the MEAC in yards per game last year and Waters set a DelState freshman record for rushing yards. They also will get a boost with the addition of Nyfease West who sat out the 2016 season after suffering a knee injury during preseason workouts.

WIDE RECEIVER: There a lot of question marks at wide receiver this year. Sophomore Fatu Sua-Godinet will start the season as DelState’s top returning wideout. After him there’s a ton of inexperienced players with junior Taronn Selby and sophomore Jordan Hannah who each only caught one pass all last year. Newcomers Angelo Gonzalez, Michael Credle and Michael Ojeh are all expected to be able to contibute right away.

TIGHT END: The Hornets figure to be more active with using tight ends in the passing game this season. Isiah Williams is the lone returner at tight end, he caught one touchdown last season. He is joined by Tyreek Booker and Tim Smith as true freshman who should see time.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The Hornets have a lot of size up front. Expected to lead the way up front are sophomores Joshua Fala (6-7, 355) and Cade Pedro (6-5, 305). Pedro is moving to center while Fala will play tackle. Trey Wallace (6-3, 300) will be at guard joined freshman Matthew Derks (6-4, 325). Freshman Kaiden Crawford (6-4, 290) is a likely starter at the final tackle spot after missing the 2016 season due to injury.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE: A transfer from Towson, Caleb Hebron, will lead the defensive line flanked by sophomores Ulises De Los Santos and Damon Atwater-Stephens while junior Jacob Jones switched over from offensive line to join the defense. The Hornets could also rotate sophomore Adbul Ajelero, sophomore Eljon Williams, junior Robert Jernigan and junior Christian Johnson.

LINEBACKER: There’s little question marks about the linebacking spot. DSU is led by senior Malik Harris who recorded 82 tackles last season, tops on the squad. Sophomore Brian Cavicante had a breakout year as a true freshmen and was second on the Hornets with 70 tackles. Kameron Rogers and Garfield Heslop will also feature on the top unit to start the year.

SECONDARY: Brock Nichols and Xavier Wilcher will start at the two safety positions. Nichols lead the team in interceptions with two a year ago. Keyjuan Selby is one of the returning cornerbacks, last season he was among the MEAC leaders in passes defended. The other cornerback is likely Jahad Niebauer who was a roational player as a freshman last year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

KICKER: Wisdom Nzidee is in his third season as the Hornets’ placekicker. He went 4-for-7 on field goal attempts and 16-of-18 on extra point attempts in 2016.

PUNTER: Fidel Romo Martinez is back for another year as the punter, he was fifth in the MEAC in 2016 in average punting yards.

RETURNER: Alleyne is the top returning kickoff man while Sua-Godinet and the two Selby twins could return kicks.

Delaware State football

2017 schedule 
AUGUST

31-At Delaware 7 p.m.

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Blue Hens have high hopes as Rocco era begins

Aug 26th, 2017 · by Andy Walter Delaware State News

NEWARK — Brody Kern didn’t mince any words.

When the senior center stood up to talk to his Delaware football teammates a few weeks ago, he basically told them they have nothing to show for their careers.

All the Blue Hens have done lately is post back-to-back 4-7 seasons and extend the program’s streak to six straight years without making the playoffs.

“Whenever you talk to fans, all they talk about is 2010, (2007) or 2003 — the last time Delaware was in the national championship,” Kern told his teammates. “And I said, ‘We are nothing. We’re nothing.’

“If we go 4-7 again this year, all these seniors that are graduating are never going to be talked about again. We don’t matter. We’re irrelevant. I said, it’s time that Delaware football is relevant again — and we make ourselves relevant.”

Of course, players on the last six Blue Hen squads have said similar things without getting the results they wanted.

Danny Rocco’s claim to fame is that he’s never had a losing season as a college head coach, going a combined 90-42 in 11 seasons at Liberty and Richmond. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

But Delaware, which opens the season by hosting Delaware State on Thursday night, has one big reason to believe things really will be different this fall — Danny Rocco.

Athletic director Chrissi Rawak hired the highly-regarded Rocco away from CAA rival Richmond in December. Rocco’s claim to fame is that he’s never had a losing season as a college head coach, going a combined 90-42 in 11 seasons at Liberty and Richmond.

Junior quarterback Joe Walker is back for his third year as a starter.

He took the Spiders to three straight NCAA Division I FCS playoff appearances, reaching the national semifinals two years ago.

And for Delaware fans looking for reasons to be optimistic, Rocco says he likes what he sees in his new squad. Rocco went 6-5 in his first season at Liberty in 2006 and 8-3 in his debut campaign at Richmond in 2012.

“I told them (the players) this really is one of the more talented teams I’ve had,” Rocco said after scrimmaging on Tuesday night. “They just have to understand what it takes to win. And the margin of error in this league is so small.

“It’s a much deeper roster,” said Rocco, comparing this team to his first teams at Liberty and Richmond. “I mean I’ve got a good-looking football team. … It just comes down to doing the little things that make the difference between winning and losing.”

The one thing about former coach Dave Brock, who was fired in the middle of last season with a four-year record of 19-22, he always had an eye on the future. He never wanted to have a roster that would get wiped out with the graduation of one big senior class.

“It’s time that Delaware football is relevant again — and we make ourselves relevant,” senior center Brody Kern said.

So Rocco inherits a squad with 51 returning letterwinners, including 19 players who have started six or more games.

“In previous years, where we had young players playing for the first time, those guys are going to be two or three-year starters now,” said Kern. “I think we’re a lot older team, a lot more experienced team than we have been. And I think, with the adjustments that this coaching staff has made. … the way we practice is just completely different.

“There’s a lot less bad practices. I mean, we’ve practiced for almost a month now and I think you can count the bad practices we’ve had on about a hand.”

There’s a belief that, if the Hens are going to get anywhere, they have to improve their passing game, which has been among the least productive in FCS for two years in a row. Junior quarterback Joe Walker is back for his third year as a starter but Delaware believes its receiving corps should be improved.

The Hens also believe their defense should keep them in most of their games. That group, which switches to a 3-4 alignment, is led by senior nose tackle Bilal Nichols, junior linebacker Troy Reeder and junior safety Nasir Adderley.

“This defense is amazing,” said senior lineman Blaine Woodson. “We’ve got players on every level of the defense. I feel like we can be one of the best defenses in the country.”

If nothing else, this group seems to believe in itself and its new coaching staff. Now they’ll have to see if that confidence can translate into a better record.

“It’s a different atmosphere in that locker room and you can feel it,” said Kern. “Just the talking about winning. That’s not something we did before. There was always doubt. And there’s no doubts (now). We have full confidence in the coaches that we have to make great decisions, make adjustments, make changes if need be. I think it’s just a different mindset.”

The 2017 Blue Hens

A position-by-position look at the Delaware football team for this season:

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK: Certainly some people expected that Delaware’s change of coaching staff would also mean a change of quarterback. But Joe Walker (Jr., 6-3, 205) will begin the season as UD’s starter for the third-straight year.

Clearly, though, the Hens will need better production out of Walker than the four TD passes and 12 interceptions he’s thrown in his first team seasons.

Appalachian State transfer J.P. Caruso (Jr., 5-11, 200) has shown that he throws a nice ball but doesn’t have Walker’s size or experience. Caruso, though, will get the chance to prove himself in Delaware’s season-opening stretch of three nonconference contests.

Pat Kehoe (So., 6-3, 230) will be the third-stringer at quarterback.

RUNNING BACK: What looked like one of the Hens’ deepest positions suddenly turned into a question mark in camp when Wes Hills was declared ineligible while Thomas Jefferson (Jr., 6-1, 210) and Kareem Williams (Jr., 5-10, 210) were both dealing with injury issues.

That being said, if they stay healthy, both Jefferson (1,590 yards, 13 TDs) and Williams (934 yards) have proven to be quality backs. The Hens are also intriguied by the potential of newcomer Khory Spruill (Fr., 6-0, 215) while Sussex Tech grad Kani Kane (Jr., 6-0, 240) will also get his chance to carry the ball in his first season after transferring from Lackawana.

Delaware’s new offense will also feature a fullback with veteran utility player Kyle Yocum (Sr., 6-1, 240) getting the starting job.

ndian River product Jamie Jarmon eems poised to have a better year after getting contact lenses to improve his vision.

RECEIVER: The Hens’ wideouts also bear some of the blame for the offense’s lack of passing production over the last couple years. But Delaware also expects to be improved at the position this fall.

With 92 catches for 908 yards, Diante Cherry (Sr., 5-10, 190) has been the Hens’ top receiver through most of his career. Former Indian River High standout Jamie Jarmon (Jr., 6-1, 200) seems poised to have a much-better year after getting contact lenses to improve his vision.

Vinny Papale (Jr., 6-1, 210) is slated to start after recovering from a knee injury with youngsters Ty McElhenie (Fr., 6-2, 190) and Thyrick Pitts (Fr., 6-2, 200) getting the chance to contribute. Counting walk-ons, Delaware has 20 receivers listed on the roster.

At tight end, Charles Scarff (Sr., 6-5, 270) has shown the ability to be a big, dangerous target at times while Brandon Whaley (Sr., 6-5, 250) has been solid throughout his career. M.J. Kehoe (So., 6-7, 255) has also been a frequent target in preseason scrimmages after switching from tackle.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE: Delaware knows what it has in center Brody Kern (Sr., 6-2, 285), who has started all 33 games of his career. Left tackle Jake Trump (Sr., 6-6, 290) is also a proven lineman having played in 34 games with 23 starts.

Right tackle Jethro Pepe (Jr., 6-7, 280) and left guard Connor Lutz (So., 6-5, 300) both got playing time a year ago. At right guard, Mario Farinella (Jr., 6-0, 300) and Penn State transfer Noah Beh (Jr., 6-6, 300) are no strangers to game action.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE: The Hens are expecting big things out of Bilal Nichols (Sr., 6-4, 290), who slides over to nose tackle as Delaware switches to a 3-4 defense.

Former CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year Blaine Woodson (Sr., 6-2, 280) will man the tackle spot with either Cam Kitchen (Jr., 6-1, 260) or Sal Mauro (Fr., 6-2, 265) starting at the one remaining defensive end slot. Considering that backups Grant Roberts (Sr., 5-11, 285) and John Nassib (Sr., 6-6, 265) have played in 68 games between them, Delaware likes its depth up front.

With 217 career tackles, linebacker Charles Bell is an all-CAA veteran.

LINEBACKER: Delaware uses four linebackers in its new alignment but looks to have enough talent to go around at the position.

With 217 career tackles, Charles Bell (Sr., 6-0, 230) is an all-CAA veteran, Troy Reeder (Jr., 6-2, 245) is an impact player in his second year after transferring from Penn State and Anthony Jackson (Sr., 6-1, 225) has 22 starts and 122 tackles in his career.

At the other outside spot, the Hens expect former Salesianum star Colby Reeder (Fr., 6-3, 235) to make an immediate impact with veteran Armen Ware (Jr., 6-0, 225) also in the picture. Delaware’s biggest concern at linebacker might be depth after Jasawn Thompson and Larry Spears were declared ineligible before camp.

SECONDARY: The Hens expect Nasir Adderley (Jr., 6-0, 190) to have a bigger impact after switching from cornerback to the rover safety spot.

Everywhere else in the defensive backfield Delaware has experienced players, including Ray Jones (Jr., 6-0, 210) at strong safety and Malcolm Brown (Jr., 6-0, 200) and Justin Watson (Sr., 5-9, 180) at cornerback. Even reserves K.C. Hinton (Jr., 5-11, 200) and Tenny Adewusi (Jr., 6-1, 200) have seen their share of playing time. That group has eight interceptions between them.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Frank Raggo (Jr., 5-9, 190) returns for his third season as the Hens’ placekicker. For his career, he’s 46-of-47 on PATs and 18-of-27 on field goals.

Nick Pritchard (So., 5-10, 210), the starter at Maryland two years ago, steps into the starting punter job. He averaged 38.2 yards a kick for the Terps. Jake Roth (So., 6-0, 200) will handle kickoffs again this fall.

Delaware football

2017 schedule

AUGUST

31-DELAWARE STATE 7 p.m.

SEPTEMBER

9-At Virginia Tech 3:30 p.m.

16-CORNELL 3:30 p.m.

30-JAMES MADISON* 3:30 p.m.

OCTOBER

7-At Stony Brook* 6 p.m.

14-WILLIAM & MARY*# 3:30 p.m.

21-RICHMOND* (HC) 3:30 p.m.

28-At Towson* 4 p.m.

NOVEMBER

4-At Maine*@ 2 p.m.

11-ALBANY* 3:30 p.m.

18-At Villanova* 1 p.m.

* CAA game.

# Parents & Family Weekend

@ Game played at Portland, Maine

2016 results

2-6 CAA, 4-7 overall

W-Delaware State 56-14

W-Lafayette 24-6

L-Wake Forest 21-38

L-James Madison 20-43

L-Maine 21-28

L-William & Mary 17-24

L-Stony Brook 3-28

W-Towson 20-6

W-Albany 33-17

L-Richmond 17-31

L-Villanova 10-41

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