Blue Hen News

Blue Hens shock No. 5 Elon 28-16: First win over top 5 team in eight years puts UD back on FCS D-I football map
Oct 13th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

UD’s players celebrate after their 28-16 upset of No. 5 Elon on Saturday afternoon. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

NEWARK — The football seemed to hang in the air for an eternity.

In that moment, the only question was whether Vinny Papale would be able to run under it or not.

And when the senior receiver finally pulled in the long, arcing 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Pat Kehoe, Delaware finally had something it had waited a long time for — a victory that puts it back on the FCS Division I football map.

Papale’s TD with just 7:01 remaining gave the Blue Hens the lead for good before they shocked No. 5 Elon, 28-16, before a Parents Day crowd of 19,209 at Delaware Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was the first time Delaware (2-1 CAA, 4-2 overall) beat a top-five team since 2010, which is also the last time the Hens made the NCAA FCS Division I playoffs.

Delaware tight end Charles Scarff pulls in a six-yard scoring pass to give the Hens the lead early in the third quarter. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“He aired that one out a little bit,” Papale said about the TD pass. “It was up there for a while. But it was a perfect ball, honestly. He put it right to a spot where the defender couldn’t get it.

“Just to score a touchdown in that situation is pretty surreal, pretty fun, pretty cool.”

In a back-and-forth game, Delaware trailed 16-14 when it took over the ball at its own 32 with just 9:45 remaining.

But, with perhaps their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Hens put together back-to-back scoring drives to put away a double-digit victory over the Phoenix (2-1, 4-2), who upset No. 2 James Madison a week ago.

Delaware marched 68 yards on six plays for Papale’s TD before following with a six-play 53-yard scoring drive to close it out.

Kani Kane, the Sussex Tech grad who went over the 1,000-yard mark, celebrates his two-yard touchdown run with 4:02 remaining. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane (19-carries-124 yards) ran the ball five straight times for 50 yards on the final drive. The senior, who had just reached the 1,000-yard mark for his career, bulled his way in for a two-yard TD run with 4:02 left to seal the upset.

“I’d like to think what you saw there was the heart and soul of our team,” said coach Danny Rocco. “It was just all right there for us. I do think that’s what we’ve all been kind of searching for. We’ve got to embrace it. We’ve got to build on it and we’ve got to enjoy it when you’re in that moment.”

“In all three phases of the game, we were just able to stay poised,” said senior receiver Joe Walker. “Just play as hard as you can and control what you can control. Just do what you do and we should be able to win this game.”

Kehoe ended up completing 16-of-30 passes for 144 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

After a pretty lackluster offensive start to the game, the Hens put together a clutch drive just before halftime.

Trailing 10-0, Delaware went on a quick six-play, 53-yard march that took only 51 seconds. Kehoe found tight end Charles Scarff, who made an acrobatic catch to stay inbounds for a seven-yard TD reception.

Delaware linebacker Troy Reeder finished with a game-high 15 tackles, including five for losses on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

The touchdown — which was video-reviewed — came with just 11 seconds left before halftime to get the Hens back within 10-7.

Delaware then took the lead on a 69-yard, seven-play drive early in the third quarter. Again, Kehoe found the 6-foot-6 Scarff, who outjumped an Elon defender for a six-yard scoring reception that put the Hens ahead, 14-10.

This time, though, the big play was a 37-yard pass from Walker to Gene Coleman to get Delaware to the Phoenix 20.

Walker, the converted QB, probably saw his most action out of the wildcat formation this season. He ran the ball four times for 17 yards, caught two passes for 17 yards and completed the long pass.

Elon was playing without running back Malcolm Summers, the CAA’s leading rusher, who was still banged up from the JMU game. The Phoenix then lost starting QB Travis Cheek to an apparent serious knee injury in the first quarter.

Backup quarterback Jalen Greene, who had seen his share of playing time this year, came in and completed 11-of-26 passes for 140 yards while also running for 36 yards on eight carries.

But Delaware’s defense limited Elon to just three field goals after giving up a first-quarter touchdown. The Phoenix finished with only 289 yards — 125 yards under its average — and 12 first downs.

Senior linebacker Troy Reeder had a big game, finishing with 15 tackles, including five for losses. He had a big sack on Elon’s final drive.

“We were flying around,” said Reeder. “It was a nice, cool day. Of our 11 starters, I think a good amount of us played the entire game. Some of my first-contact hits, I just felt a pile on top of me. I was getting in on piles, too. … We were all over the place today.

“Probably Sunday night when we started breaking down film, guys just saw it as what it was. It was No. 5 coming in to play us at home and we love playing at home. I think guys did a phenomenal job preparing all week. Hopefully, with the rest of our schedule, we continue to prepare like we’re playing a top-five team.”

That schedule continues next week with a trip to New Hampshire to face a Wildcat squad (1-5) that is having an uncharacteristically rough season.

But Rocco didn’t want to look at the big picture right away on Saturday.

He talked about how great it was seeing the big crowd get excited late in the game and seeing his players perform well in the clutch.

“There were some times out there today when we had so much energy in that stadium that it was just joyful for me,” said Rocco. “And I’m hoping it was joyful for our fans. There was excitement and energy, our kids were playing hard.

“We’ve learned from our hard defeats. This team has been through a lot of adversity. This team has been challenged, doubted, disbelieved and we keep coming back every day going to work, focusing on the next day, staying together, staying united and offering hope and, today, joy.”

Extra points

Delaware’s last win over a top-five team was over No. 3 James Madison in 2010. The last time the Hens beat a top-five team in Newark was over No. 2 Wofford in the 2003 FCS semifinals. … Seven different Hens caught a pass, led by Scarff with five receptions for 43 yards. Papale had four catches for 58 yards. … Senior Jamie Jarmon (Indian River) has caught a pass in 21 straight games. … Saturday’s home crowd was Delaware’s biggest since 2015.
Delaware Ends No. 5 Elon’s Streak at Four
10/13/2018 7:33:00 PM

NEWARK, Del. – Fifth-ranked Elon University football led heading to the fourth quarter, but Delaware answered with a 14-point final frame to win 28-16 on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Delaware Stadium.

"It was a hard-fought game," said Elon head coach Curt Cignetti. "We had a lot of adversity, but I thought the people that came in really stepped up and played well. We just couldn't sustain drives offensively and put too much pressure on the defense. They made the plays at the end and we didn't. They're a good football team and they're going to win a lot of games."

With Elon (4-2, 2-1 CAA) leading 16-14 going to the fourth, Delaware (4-2, 2-1 CAA) scored two touchdowns in a span of 3:59 to pull ahead 21-16 with 7:01 to play and 28-16 with 4:02 to go.

Looking at a scoreless first quarter, Elon got the ball back with 48 seconds left and found pay dirt with a two-play, 61-yard drive that was capped by Jaylan Thomas running in from nine yards out with 31 seconds left. The play was setup by Jalen Greene hitting Cole Taylor for 52 yards down the sideline for the longest passing play of the season for the Phoenix.

Midway through the second quarter, Daniel Reid-Bennett forced his second fumble of the day and Tristen Cox fell on his second in the game to set Elon up with first down on the Delaware 23. Six plays later, Skyler Davis connected from 25 yards out to make it 10-0.

After Delaware forced a three-and-out late in the first half, the Blue Hens drove 53 yards to cut the Elon lead to three at 10-7 with 11 seconds to go before halftime. Out of the break, UD drove 69 yards in four minutes to take a 14-10 lead.

Looking for another second-half comeback, Davis cut the Blue Hen lead to one at 14-13 with his second 25-yard field goal of the day with 7:20 to go in the third. With 58 seconds left in the third, Davis put Elon back on top 16-14 with a 38-yard field goal.

Elon: Jaylan Thomas – 12 carries, 49 yards, 1 touchdown
UD: Kani Kane – 19 carries, 124 yards, 1 touchdown

Elon: Jalen Greene – 11-26, 140 yards
UD: Pat Kehoe – 16-30, 144 yards, 3 touchdowns

Elon: Cole Taylor – 3 receptions, 91 yards
UD: Charles Scarff – 5 receptions, 43 yards, 2 touchdowns

Elon: Daniel Reid-Bennett – 10 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1.0 TFL, 2 forced fumbles
UD: Troy Reeder – 15 tackles, 8 solo, 1.0 sacks, 5.0 TFL

-Elon has now trailed in the second half in each of its last nine road games. It has won six of those contests. 
-Daniel Reid-Bennett's 10 tackles are one short of his career high set last year against Richmond.
-Elon was held to one sack defensively after notching five in back-to-back games against New Hampshire and James Madison.
-With Delaware's 12-point win, it marks the largest win in the series. Delaware remains the only CAA team Elon has yet to beat since it joined the conference in 2014. The two teams have only played three times in those five seasons. 
-Davis Cheek completed 3-of-5 passes for 36 yards in the first quarter before leaving the game with a left knee injury.

After a stretch in which Elon has played four of its first six away from home, the Phoenix will head back to Rhodes Stadium to start a three-game homestand and will open the run Saturday, Oct. 20, with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff against Richmond.

Hens explode in first half, pound host Richmond 43-28
Oct 6th, 2018 · by Delaware State News · Delaware State News

UD linebacker Colby Reeder (4) is congratulated by his teammates after his strip and 35-yard return for a TD on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

RICHMOND, Va. — Delaware’s football team had a long time to thing about its lopsided loss at North Dakota State two weeks ago.
When the Blue Hens finally took the field on Saturday, they were determined to redeem themselves.

And Delaware got off to a flying start, scoring 33 first-half points before finally putting away a 43-28 victory over Richmond in a Colonial Athletic Association game at Robins Stadium.

Along with picking up their first CAA win of the year, the Hens (1-1 CAA, 3-2 overall) also gave coach Danny Rocco — the Spiders’ former coach — the 100th victory of his career. Rocco, though, said he was far more interested in getting his present team back on track than in any career milestone.

“I’m just happy to get our third win,” said Rocco, who was coaching his first game back at Richmond. “It’s been a long, long two weeks. That trip up to North Dakota was a tough trip.

Blue Hen receiver Jamie Jarmon, an Indian River High grad, goes up for a catch against Richmond. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“I think it really challenged all of us to kind of take a step back and re-commit ourselves to the season. We came out swinging.”
Delaware, which led by as much as 43-10 in the third quarter, gained control with a 16-point burst in the first six minutes.

The Hens got their first two points when the Spiders fielded a punt at their own goal line. The momentum took the return man into the end zone where linebacker Ray Jones and others tackled him for a safety.

On the ensuing possession, Delaware drove 59 yards on just four plays, with quarterback Pat Kehoe finding tight end Charles Scarff with an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Then, when Richmond (0-3 CAA, 2-4 overall) got the ball back, the Spiders completed a short pass in the flat, But Blue Hen linebacker Colby Reeder stripped the ball from the receiver and raced 35 yards for a TD that put Delaware up 16-0.

It was the first of a season-high six turnovers that the Hens forced in the contest.

Linebacker Ray Jones tries to fight off a tackle in the Hens’ win on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“It changes the momentum of the game,” said senior safety Nasir Adderley, who had a pair of interceptions. “It just shows what we’re capable of. There’s always room for improvement — we feel like we can play a lot better defensively. But the turnovers definitely helped us.”

“I will say that our guys went after the ball today,” said Rocco. “Some of those interceptions were really big-time plays.”

Kehoe completed 11-of-20 passes for 291 yards with two touchdowns while receiver Joe Walker covered 113 yards on just two receptions. Walker, the former QB, also completed a 46-yard pass.

Delaware ran for only 90 yards but threw for 331. That included a 58-yard touchdown pass from Kehoe to senior Vinny Papale to give the Hens their 33-10 advantage just before halftime.

“I really think what it was, the structure of their defense was very much designed to shut the run down,” said Rocco. “The mindset was, if Delaware was going to come down here and win, they were going to have to throw the ball. They challenged us to throw the ball and we did throw it.”

Senior Kani Kane (Sussex Tech) had a couple short touchdown runs, finishing with 35 yards on 12 carries. Kane’s one-yard scoring leap gave the Hens their 43-10 cushion with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

With Rocco starting to empty his bench, Richmond starting hitting a number of big pass plays that accounted for the final score and skewed the final stats. The Spiders outgained Delaware 608 yards to 421 as backup QB Joe Mancuso completed 27-of-37 passes for 489 yards with three touchdowns but five interceptions.

Mancuso also ran for a game-high 71 yards on 15 carries.

“I told my team, I could have managed the end of the game better,” said Rocco. “But I really felt I had to get some guys battle-tested. Fortunately they had my back out there today. They fought, they finished.”

Extra points

Dejoun Lee had a team-high 64 yards on 17 carries. … Troy Reeder had a game-high 12 tackles while Jones, Charles Bell and Nijuel Hill had Delaware’s other interceptions. … Cornerback Tenny Adewusi (fighting) and backup linebacker Johnny Buchanan (targeting) were both ejected from the game in the second half, meaning they will also have to sit out the first half of the Hens’ next game. … Delaware hosts Elon on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The No. 9 Phoenix (4-1) stunned No. 2 James Madison, 27-24, on Saturday.

Second Half Comeback Falls Short Against Delaware On Mancuso’s Career Day

RICHMOND, Va. – The University of Richmond football team scored 18 unanswered points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, but fell short in a 43-28 loss to Delaware Saturday at Robins Stadium. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Mancuso (Blairsville, Ga.) made the most of his first career start, setting a Richmond record for total offense with 560 yards.

Mancuso threw for 489 yards passing on 27-for-37 with three touchdowns and five interceptions. He also ran for 71 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. His 560 yards of total offense broke the school record set by Michael Strauss on Nov. 16, 2013 against Delaware.

Mancuso's 489 yards passing are the third most in the FCS this season, trailing only Devlin Hodges of Samford (562) and Reece Udinski of VMI (491). His game ranks fourth all-time in Richmond passing history in a single game and is the most since former Spider Kyle Lauletta passed for 546 yards last year against Sam Houston State. He also becomes just the third quarterback in all of FCS or FBS in the last five seasons to have at least 489 passing and 71 yards rushing in a season, matching Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech (2016) and Quinton Flowers of UCF (2017).

Redshirt junior wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson (Indian Head, Md.) caught a career-high 220 receiving yards, including two touchdowns in the loss. Simpson's 220 yards is third-most all-time for a single game behind former Spider Walker Gillette's 242 and 264 receiving yards. Gillette was in attendance to celebrate the 50thanniversary of the 1968 Tangerine Bowl victory. Senior wide receiver Tyler Wilkins (Richmond, Va.) added eight catches for 175 yards and a touchdown in the passing attack.

Delaware threw for 331 passing yards with quarterback Pat Kehoe going 11-for-20 for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Joe Walker led UD with 113 yards receiving on just two receptions. The Blue Hens were held to just 90 rushing yards and only averaged 2.4 yards per carry.

Delaware (3-2, 1-1 CAA) scored the first 16 points of the game in the first 5:08. The Blue Hens got a safety on special teams to open the scoring and for the third-straight game, the Spiders allowed an opposing defense to score a touchdown on them as Colby Reeder took a fumble recovery 34-yards for a touchdown for the 16-0 lead before Richmond had more than one drive.

The Spiders would score their first points on the next possession when Mancuso hit Wilkins on an 80-yard touchdown pass. The Blue Hens came and took a 33-10 lead into the halftime break, scoring two touchdowns in the final six minutes of the half to push out their lead.

Delaware would go in 43-10 in the third quarter after a Kani Kane touchdown run before the Spiders' started their comeback attempt. Mancuso connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass with Simpson to make it 43-16 as the two-point conversion was missed by the Spiders.

The Spiders' defense forced a three-and-out, giving the ball back to Mancuso. He connected with Simpson on a 61-yard pass to bring Richmond into the red zone and capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to make it a 43-22 deficit.

Safety Trent Williams (Chester, Va.) intercepted a J.P. Caruso pass in the first play of the next possession to send Mancuso and the offense back on to the field. Mancuso and Simpson connected once again, this time hitting on a 37-yard touchdown pass to make it a two-possession game with 9:00 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Richmond forced Delaware to punt on its next possession and had a chance to make it a one possession game. Mancuso went for it all, looking to connect with Wilkins on a long strike but Delaware's Nasir Adderley made a diving interception to keep Richmond off the board.

The defense again forced a Delaware punt, giving the Spiders a chance with 4:30 remaining. Mancuso connected with wide receiver Ben Maffe (Ashburn, Va.) on a 32-yard completion to get into Delaware territory. The Spiders pressed for another score before Mancuso was intercepted by Ray Jones at the 29-yard line ending any threat.

The Spiders hit the road for the next two games, beginning next week with a trip to Albany. Game time is set for 7 p.m. next Saturday night.

Not Your Average Joe 
The story behind Delaware football's Joe Walker:



It’s a Tuesday morning in mid-July. As staff members show up for the day’s work, a bright light shines from a dark room in the Bob Carpenter Center.

In the dark room is senior WR Joe Walker studying film and watching route running. While most college students spent the summer working or hanging out at the beach, Walker could be found grinding away and studying his new position.

“Once Joe puts his mind to something, that’s all he’s going to focus on,” former teammate and current Chicago Bear Bilal Nichols said. “I watched how hard he was grinding over the spring and summer. He was so committed to mastering the route and the techniques. Joe is one of the most focused people I’ve ever met. He locks in and wants to be the best he can possibly be.”

The focus and commitment started at an early age for Walker, as his mother always put academics at the top of the priority list.

“My mom always had us focused on our grades. We weren’t allowed to play outside or play football unless we got our work done,” Walker said. “I remember one time when I was in grade school, I started crying because I didn’t think I was going to make honor roll and I thought football was going to be taken away from me. It was that important in our house.”

That focus on grades proved more beneficial than Walker may have realized at the time.

Walker, his two sisters and their mom and stepdad lived in North Philadelphia, an area of the city that is considered among the most dangerous. The city of Philadelphia has the second-highest crime rate of any major city.

During his youth, Walker saw the dangers of the city first hand and the impact didn’t lessen as he started his college career. While he was a freshman at the University of Delaware, he had three of his cousins taken from him in a span of three months.

“It teaches you a lot at an early age. You learn real quick how to deal with real life adversity and how to be tough-minded,” Walker said. “It also showed me how important it was to surround yourself with the right people. That really has been important to getting me to this point.”

Not only did the focus on academics prove crucial, but so was the game of football for Walker.

“I loved playing the game. From my first practice, I fell in love. Being out there on the field with all my friends, there’s nothing like it,” Walker said.

At an early age, Walker’s uncle brought him out to a football practice with his two sons. From that moment, Walker was hooked. His mom became an endless supporter of his football career.

“She’s always been my biggest fan. She drove me to practices, games, camps, everything. She was there pushing me and keeping me focused,” he said. “My two sisters were cheerleaders for our football team and my mom was always there in the stands, exactly where she is for our games here at Delaware.”

Football would provide Walker opportunities he never dreamed of growing up. As a senior in high school, he moved to Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia, which led to several appearances at local football camps and scholarship offers.

Scholarship offers led Walker to the University of Delaware, where he earned the starting QB role in his redshirt freshman season in 2015. For the next two-and-a-half years, he made 25 consecutive starts for the Blue Hens.

“The biggest thing that I learned from Joe was the ability to take criticism and grow from it,” Nichols said. “We weren’t winning like we wanted to be and Joe was dealt a lot of the blame. Not once did he turn his back on it. He took it all on the chin and focused on trying to get better and better.”

Walker’s junior season brought about a new coaching staff and a lesson that life had been preparing him for since his youth.

Midway through the 2017 season, Walker’s consecutive games streak ended when JP Caruso was brought in to take over the QB duties for the Blue Hens.

“I had been playing quarterback ever since I was a little kid. I loved playing the position. I loved having the ball in my hand every play,” Walker said. “I’d be lying if I said it was easy, but ultimately, I wanted what was best for the team. That’s why we play the game.”

Walker, who had been elected captain by his peers earlier in the year, had a choice to make. He could accept a new role or be a toxic influence in the locker room. In his mind, there was only one choice.

“Football is bigger than just one player. This game is not about any individual. It’s 11 guys on the field at one time, fighting every play to help the team win. That’s why I love this game. I love the opportunity to line up with my guys and do everything we can to try and win the game,” Walker said. “Everything I was taught growing up, learning how to overcome adversity, I wasn’t going to let this slow that down. All I wanted to do was help the team win. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

Walker would turn to Nichols, his best friend and long time roommate at Delaware, for advice.

“We had the type of relationship that we could be real with each other. We were able to say things to one another that may have been tough to hear, but ultimately it was because we both wanted the same goals and that was to be the best we could possibly be for the team,” Walker said.

Fast forward a year later and Walker continues to put the team first. Through four games, he leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs.

The most telling stat however may be this: Walker is 260 yards away from becoming just 10th Division I (FBS and FCS) player in the past 30 years with at least 2,000 career yards passing, 1,000 career yards rushing and 500 career yards receiving.

Simply put, Walker will always do whatever he’s asked in order to help the team win.

Blue Hens Set To Take On Rutgers in 2021


NEWARK, Del. – Two programs separated by a little over 100 miles and have a rich history together will be reunited in 2021. 

The University of Delaware football program announced a future date with Big Ten foe Rutgers on Thursday morning. The date is set for Sept. 18, 2021. It's the second Big Ten foe to be added to the Blue Hens schedule with Penn State being added as future opponent recently as well. 

Rutgers and the Blue Hens have a rich history against each other, playing 31 times with the Scarlet Knights leading the series by a slim 15-13-3 margin. The last meeting between the two programs was in 1973. 
Rocco: Hens ‘embarrassed’ in 38-10 road loss to No. 1 North Dakota State
Sep 22nd, 2018 · by Delaware State News · Delaware State News

FARGO, N.D. — Delaware’s football players had been looking forward to playing in the FargoDome for a long time.

Unfortunately for the Blue Hens, the Bison were more than happy to give them the full experience.

No. 1 North Dakota State erupted for 28 unanswered points in the first 13 minutes of the game before coasting to a 38-10 victory over Delaware before a happy homecoming crowd of 18,883 on Saturday afternoon.

The Bison (3-0), who have won six of the last seven NCAA Division FCS national titles, led 35-0 by halftime in the first meeting between the two programs.

Coach Danny Rocco, as his style, didn’t mince any words about his team’s performance. The Hens (2-2) were outgained 527 yards to 152.

Delaware QB Pat Kehoe, who didn’t throw an interception in his first three games, was under pressure much of the time on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“We performed very poorly against a really, really good football team,” he said. “And when you perform poorly against a really good team, you get embarrassed. That’s basically what happened with us today.

“Really no phase of our game earned any right to feel like we deserved to be in the game or to win the game. I did tell the team, we’re all in this together. It’s going to take a little while to process this. We’re all very disappointed in our performance.”

After the Bison scored on their first possession, the contest started to get away from the Hens on their first offensive play from scrimmage. Quarterback Pat Kehoe, who hadn’t thrown an interception in his first three games, had his first pass of the game intercepted by Jabril Cox.

Cox jumped a route in the flat and easily returned it 36 yards for a touchdown as North Dakota State’s lead quickly balooned to 14-0 with 10:13 still left in the first quarter.

Delaware tight end Charles Scarff picks up yardage after catching a pass against the Bison. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Kehoe completed 11-of-29 passes for only 95 yards with three interceptions. He was also sacked three times for losses of 22 yards and lost a fumble.

The junior was the first Delaware QB to throw for 200 yards in each of his first three starts.

“They put us on our heels a bit with the way they started the game and that really knocked off us off our gameplan,” said Kehoe. “I believe in this offense and this team. I believe in every one of the guys in that locker room. We have to get back and watch the tape and know that we all have to get better.”

“He was rattled and very inconsistent,” Rocco said about Kehoe. “We got off to such a bad, bad start. The first drive, they take the ball against our defense, drive for a touchdown. Then we come out and throw a pick six. We really could not have gotten off to a worse start against a team like this in an environment like that.

“We have to protect him better but he’s certainly going to have to play a lot better than he did today if we think we’re going to have a good second half here.”

The Bison scored on five of their first six possessions. They almost led 42-0 at intermission but Delaware tackled a North Dakota State receiver just inches short of the goal line on the final play of the half.

North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick, a fourth-year starter, completed 17-of-26 passes for 280 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. He also ran for 41 yards and two more touchdowns on five carries.

“For us, it’s not about the ‘Jimmy’s and the Joe’s’, it’s about how we’re executing and we didn’t do that today,” said senior linebacker Troy Reeder. “They jumped us, but we were able to make adjustments and I think it showed from the second quarter on. But unfortunately the way the game started, it was too deep of a hole for us to climb out of.”

Delaware did keep the Bison from totally running away with things in the second half.

Kicker Frank Raggo finally got the Hens on the scoreboard when he booted a 33-yard field goal with just 4:12 remaining to finish off a 12-play, 62-yard drive.

Delaware then made the score look a little better when senior safety Malcolm Brown scooped up a fumble and raced 92 yards for a TD with only 1:57 remaining.

But it was far too little, too late.

The Hens have an open date next weekend before starting a stretch of seven straight Colonial Athletic Association games to finish the regular season. They’ll clearly have some regrouping to do.

“We were 2-2 a year ago,” said Rocco, whose team finished 7-4 last fall. “We’re 2-2 here today. We need to take a step back and make some good, hard decisions moving forward. But we all need to stay united and we all need to remain positive as we get back into conference play in a couple weeks.”

Extra points

Defensive back Nasir Adderley and linebacker Ray Jones had 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. … Running back Dejoun Lee had a team-high 42 yards on nine carries. .. Vinny Papale had three catches for 58 yards. … Delaware returns to action on Oct. 6 with a CAA game at Richmond.
North Dakota State Jumps on Delaware Early for 38-10 Homecoming Victory

9/29/2018 - Bison Radio Network

FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota State scored a touchdown on the game's opening drive and got a pick-six by linebacker Jabril Cox on NDSU's first defensive play of the game to jump-start a 38-10 victory over Delaware on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Quarterback Easton Stick accounted for 321 yards of total offense with four touchdowns for the No. 1-ranked Bison, who improved to 3-0 heading into next week's Missouri Valley Football Conference opener against South Dakota State.

Stick was 17 of 26 passing for 280 yards and two TDs. He capped the nine-play, 75-yard opening drive with a 2-yard TD run and scored on a 12-yard run to make it 21-0 after Robbie Grimsley ended Delaware's second drive with another interception.

Jaylaan Wimbush had NDSU's third interception early in the second quarter, plus another that was negated by a penalty. Jaxon Brown had six tackles and Cox finished with five stops to lead the NDSU defense.

The Bison held Delaware to 152 yards of total offense while rolling up 527 yards on offense and averaging 7.6 yards per play.

Delaware went scoreless until the final five minutes of the game when Frank Raggo connected on a 33-yard field goal and Malcolm Brown returned a Bison fumble 92 yards for a touchdown.

Cox went 36 yards for his pick-six and became the first NDSU player with interception returns for touchdowns in back-to-back games since safety Del Gehrett did it in 1967 against South Dakota State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ten different Bison players caught passes led by Desmond Cain's four catches for 89 yards and Darrius Shepherd's four receptions for 77 yards. Running back Bruce Anderson caught an 18-yard TD pass and tight end Ben Ellefson scored on an 11-yard strike.

NDSU kicker Cam Pedersen converted five PAT kicks to run his school-record career total to 196 PATs made. He passed the mark of 191 set by Adam Keller from 2011 to 2014.

A sellout crowd of 18,883 was on hand for the annual homecoming game at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
Former quarterback Walker shines as UD receiver in 27-10 victory over Cornell
Sep 15th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — Joe Walker has been on the throwing end of plenty of deep passes in his Delaware football career.

But, now that he’s a receiver, the former Blue Hen quarterback admits that trying to pull in a long throw when you’re sprinting down the field can be pretty difficult.

“It’s really hard,” said Walker. “As you’re running full speed – you might not notice it — but sometimes your head’s just bobbling and your eyes are trying to focus on the ball. It is a little bit harder than it looks.”

The senior did a pretty good job of it on Saturday, however, pulling in several long throws from quarterback Pat Kehoe to spark the Blue Hens to a 27-10 victory over Cornell at Delaware Stadium.

Walker finished with a career-high 154 yards on just six catches — an average of 26.7 yards per reception — to become the first player in Delaware history with a 100-yard rushing, 100-yard receiving and 200-yard passing game on his career resume.

After the Hens (2-1) sputtered on their first couple possessions, it was the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Walker who out-jumped a Cornell defender to pull in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kehoe on the final play of the first quarter. The TD started a string of 27 unanswered points that put Delaware in control, 27-3, late in the fourth quarter against the Big Red (0-1).

Walker also had receptions covering 42, 39 and 41 yards in the contest.

“We were probably a little over-committed to it,” coach Danny Rocco said about throwing the ball deep. “But we got the result in the end. That’s a big part of it. If you’re going to want to be able to do something, you’ve got to commit yourself to doing it and you’ve got to let it play out.

“I don’t necessarily know that’s going to be the norm moving forward with that many deep shots. But, based on how we went into the game, that’s the way that I think we had to play the game. … In a lot of ways we changed the game today because of our ability to connect on some of those throws.”

Walker’s big afternoon was the first 100-yard game by a Blue Hen receiver since 2014 while the 154 yards were the most for a UD wideout since 2013.

“As a former quarterback, he kind of understands coverages,” said Kehoe. “He knows when we call a play that he has a shot at the route that he’s running. He does a great job creating seperation. He’s a big target to put it out there for.”

Considering he’s still so new to the position, Walker said he and Kehoe didn’t develop chemistry overnight.

“It wasn’t quick,” said Walker. “We developped it over the winter and summer. We worked day-in and day-out. We were able to get that connection down. It makes it look easier out on the game field but we really worked hard for that.”

Kehoe completed 14-of-29 yards for 254 yards with the one TD. That gives the first-year starter six touchdown passes against no interceptions so far.

Kehoe is now the first Delaware QB to throw for 200 yards in each of his first three starts.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior also had an impact running the ball. Kehoe gained 42 yards on eight carries — although he only netted 23 yards after sacks were figured in.

Five of Kehoe’s yards came on a touchdown run late in the second quarter that gave the Hens a 14-3 halftime advantage.

“We’ve been thinking about it, we’ve been talking about it,” Rocco said about running the ball with Kehoe. “We’ve toyed with it. But today we had some good concepts with some of our fly sweeps.

“You’re either handing the ball off to the edge with a speed player or you’re running a big quarterback up inside. Defensively you always have trouble defending that guy as a ball carrier because you don’t account for him.”

Delaware’s 27 points were more than enough for the Hens’ defense to work with.

Cornell’s only TD came on a nine-yard pass with 26 seconds remaining against Delaware’s backup defenders. The Hens had gone nine straight quarters without allowing a touchdown until then.

The Big Red finished with only 232 yards — 139 of which came on its first and last drives of the contest.

Delaware didn’t have any takeaways but did sack Cornell QBs four times for losses of 37 yards.

The Hens have a big week coming up as they head to North Dakota State next Saturday for its matchup with the No. 1-ranked Bison. North Dakota State has won six of the last seven FCS national championships.

Rocco, though, wasn’t interested in talking about the matchup just yet on Saturday.

“We’re going to stay in the moment,” he said. “I was proud to see us fight and get the win. We’ve got to take a step back here and get ourselves ready to go. We’re going to be really excited about our preparation this week.

“One day at a time and really embrace the process,” Rocco added.

Extra points

Jamie Jarmon had one catch for 14 yards, extending his streak to 18 straight games with a reception. … Kickoff specialist Jake Roth broke the school record for touchbacks. He now has 47 in his career. … Safety Malcolm Brown had a game-high 11 tackles with linebacker Troy Reeder adding eight. … Kani Kane had a game-high 65 yards on 18 carries. The Sussex Tech High grad ran three yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. … Frank Raggo added a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter for Delaware’s final six points.
Delaware Hands Football Season-Opening Loss
9/15/2018 https://cornellbigred.com/

NEWARK, Del. -- Delaware's defense limited Cornell to 232 yards of offense and improved to 2-1 on the season with a 27-10 win on Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium. The loss ruined the Big Red's 2018 season opener.

Junior quarterback Mike Catanese connected with classmate Davy Lizana in the right corner of the end zone in the game's final minute after Nickolas Null opened the scoring with a field goal in the first quarter, but in between the Blue Hens stifled the Big Red offense and was opportunistic against its defense. Blue Hen quarterback Pat Kehoe was just 14-of-29 passing, but was credited with 254 yards. His favorite target, Joe Walker, hauled in six passes for 154 yards, making him the first Delaware player in school history to register games of 100 yards rushing and receiving and 200 yards passing in a career.

The Big Red defense kept the visitors in the game nearly the entire way, limiting Delaware to 14 points in the first three quarters. Phazione McClurge and Jelani Taylor each were credited with a team-high seven tackles, while fellow defensive back David Jones broke up a pair of passes.

Three Big Red quarterbacks combined to go 19-of-33 passing for 141 yards and no turnovers, with Catanese completing 5-of-7 passes for 57 yards and the lone score. In all, 11 different players caught a pass, eight had at least one carry and 21 different defenders had at least one tackle. 

Unlike a year ago when the Big Red fumbled on its first offensive play and ultimately trailed 34-0, Cornell took the ball and scored on a textbook 13-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard Nickolas Null chip-shot field goal six minutes into the game. 

The defense forced three-and-outs on Delaware's first two possessions, but the combination of Kehoe and Walker was able to stretch the field. The twosome combined for four connections for 103 yards. Included was the go-ahead 14-yard touchdown on the final play of the first quarter and a 42-yard hookup that set up the Blue Hen's second score. By the break, Delaware led 14-3.

Cornell used three quarterbacks, seven running backs and had 13 different offensive players with a touch in the first 30 minutes.

After a scoreless third, Delaware took control in the final 15 minutes. A 3-yard Kani Kane touchdown run capped a 12-play, 69-yard scoring drive that took 7:41 off the game clock and took much of the wind out of the visitor's sails. The Big Red didn't fold, going for it on fourth down past midfield on a fourth quarter possession before finally getting back on the board with 26 seconds remaining on Lizana's impressive grab on a tough throw by Catanese.

Notes To Know
• Five Cornellians made their first career starts: LB Lance Blass, WR Garrett Cloer, TE John Fitzgerald, CB Phazione McClurge and WR Lars Pedersen.
• Seeing their first varsity action were: LB Lance Blass, OL Nick Busher, WR Devan Cross, RB Jake Derderian, DL Maxton Edgerly, LS Thomas Ferrara, RB Thomas Glover, RB Delonte Harrell, CB Michael Irons, QB Richie Kenney, S Logan Thut, DL Nathaniel Weber.
• Cornell fell to 0-2 all-time against Delaware with no future meetings on the schedule.
• The Big Red is 92-34-4 all-time on opening day, though just 6-5 in its last 11.

Social Roundup 

Nickolas Null starts the scoring with a 28-yard FG. Big Red leads 3-0, 9:00 left in the first quarter. #YellCornell pic.twitter.com/bR7dV5hGSL
— Cornell Video (@CornellVideo) September 15, 2018

Cyrus Nolan and Chase Wickenheiser pick up the sack as the Big Red forces its second straight three-and-out. pic.twitter.com/ODCJ4Ip07z
— Cornell Video (@CornellVideo) September 15, 2018

David Jones breaks up a pass in the end zone to force Delaware into a FG attempt. Kick is no good, Blue Hens up 7-3, 5:23 left in the first half. pic.twitter.com/krETQuIvtN
— Cornell Video (@CornellVideo) September 15, 2018

Davy Lizana catches the Big Red's first TD of the season on a 9-yard pass from Mike Catanese. First career TD pass by Catanese. Delaware leads 27-10, 0:26 left. #YellCornell pic.twitter.com/tlWHQXTQNM
— Cornell Video (@CornellVideo) September 15, 2018

Next Up
• Cornell opens its 2018 home slate when it welcomes defending Ivy champion Yale to Schoellkopf Field on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m.
• The game will be the centerpiece of Homecoming Weekend and also opens the Big Red's Ivy League season.
• The game will be the first for Cornell as part of the Ivy League on ESPN package and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
FCS 2018 PREVIEW: CORNELL Big Red Could Make Big Leap in 2018

Cornell (3-7 IN 2017)
Ivy League (Cornell was T-5th in 2017)

COACH: David Archer - 6th year (12-38)abilene-christian-logo
2017 OFFENSE: 17.3 ppg. (105th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 24.3 ppg. (48th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Cornell might be the most intriguing Ivy team to watch as the preseason unfurls into September and October. The Big Red have only had one season above .500 during this century, but they're going to have an outside chance to push for one this season because the offense retains a lot of its core parts. An offensive line with virtually no turnover, plus a seasoned quarterback in Dalton Banks, means that Cornell should make massive strides from their poor showing last season. The defense will need to rely on some new faces, but if Cornell can control time of possession, the growing pains on that side of the ball could be minimized. Cornell's biggest problem is its schedule -- with out-of-conference games at Delaware and Colgate, plus Ivy road games at Princeton and Columbia, this will be the toughest schedule of any team in the Ivy league. Still, there are signs for positive thinking here. Even an even split would be considered a big step in the right direction for a program that hasn't won five games since 2011.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The first half of the season will be tough, but Cornell could end the season on a five-game winning streak and post a record north of .500 for the first time since 2005. Envision it now: after a couple of tight losses in games with Yale and Colgate, the Big Red break through at Brown, keep the mojo going with a strong matchup at Princeton and ride the momentum all the way to a rivalry win at Columbia. The win over the Lions gives Cornell its sixth and final win of the year, and David Archer wins Ivy League Coach of the Year.

BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1

TOP RETURNEE: LB Reis Seggebruch (Team-leading 62 tackles in 2017).
THE NEXT FIVE: DB DJ Woullard (All-Ivy HM, 20 starts & 78 tackles over last two seasons); OL J. Edward Keating (Second-Team All-Ivy); DL Jordan Landsman (6.5 TFL); QB Dalton Banks (Completed 61% of passes in 2017, All-Ivy HM in 2016); DB David Jones (All-Ivy HM, 4 INTs).
TOP NEWCOMER: TE Ryan Fitton (UConn Transfer).
DID YOU KNOW?: Civil Rights and Anti-War protests in the 1960s and 1970s forced the school to restructure its governance hierarchy and the University President to resign.
THE QUOTE: "I am enthusiastic that Coach Archer will continue to lead our football program into the future. David's plan to rebuild our Big Red football from the ground up has gained momentum with Ivy wins this past season over Harvard, Brown and Princeton. He has my full support." -- Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel, following a contract extension for head coach David Archer in February.

Offense, defense shine as Hens rip Lafayette 37-0
Sep 8th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Delaware defensive players Charles Bell (5), Sal Mauro (98) and Ray Jones (7) combine to tackle a Lafayette player. Delaware sports information/Jordan Burgess

NEWARK — Danny Rocco has no interest in pitting his offense and defense against each other.

But the Delaware football coach realizes that one side’s perfomance has a big effect on the other.

“We’ve got to get the understanding that we complement each other,” said Rocco. “When I get on the offense hard, it’s because they’re not letting the defense off the hook. When I get mad at the offense it’s because they’re forcing the defense to have to go back out there.”

With that idea in mind, the Blue Hens played about as perfectly complementary game as a coach could ask for in dumping Lafayette, 37-0, on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.

In beating the Leopards for the 14th straight time, Delaware (1-1) outgained Lafayette 414 yards to 118, limited the Leopards to minus-18 yards rushing, had a 22-8 edge in first downs and — maybe most impressively — the Hens held the ball for 38:31 compared to just 21:29 for the squad from Easton, Pa.

“I don’t know if I’ve actually seen that in a while for us,” Rocco said about the commanding edge in time of possession. “That was really good to see.”

Of course, Delaware needed just about any kind of victory after its disappointing two-point, season-opening loss to Rhode Island. With that contest played on a Thursday, the Hens had an extra-long wait to get another chance at a victory.

Delaware QB Pat Kehoe threw three TD passes in the first half against Lafayette on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Jordan Burgess

“It was a very long week,” said junior quarterback Pat Kehoe. “After a loss, we had a sour taste in our mouth and we just wanted to get back out here.”

Kehoe had another good game in his second career start. The left-hander completed 18-of-28 passes for 279 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Probably the biggest mistake Kehoe made was getting stripped of the ball for a fumble when the Hens had it at the Lafayette 11 with a minute left in the first half.

Other than that, Kehoe became the first Delaware QB to throw for 200 yards in back-to-back games since 2014 while nine different players had a reception in a game for the first time since 2011.

“I’d say I felt a little more comfortable,” Kehoe said about making his second start. “We have a lot of weapons and my job is just to distribute the ball. We had a good game plan. We were comfortable with what we were doing. That’s what we were able to do — get the ball out of my hands and just let those guys on the edge make plays.”

Blue Hen receiver Vinny Papale pulls in a 15-yard touchdown catch while keeping his feet inbounds in the first half. Delaware sports information/Jordan Burgess

Three different players caught scoring passes: Vinny Papale (4 catches-74 yards), Charles Scarff (4-51) and Bryce De Maille (1-7).
Papale’s 15-yard TD reception was particularly impressive as he caught it along the sidelines and somehow stayed inbounds. The touchdown, which was reviewed, gave Delaware a 21-0 lead with 11:38 left in the second quarter.

“You think you’re in but you don’t really know,” said Papale. “It happens so fast. But they made the right call.”

The Hens also ran the ball well with Kani Kane (17 carries-54 yards) and Khory Spruill (8-18) both scoring second-half TDs. It was sophomore DeJoun Lee, though, who ran for a game-high 93 yards on 11 first-half carries.

The 5-foot-8, 185-pound former Army transfer, who sat out last season, gives Delaware a change of pace with his speed.

“He is so uniquely different than Kani and Khory,” said Rocco. “So if you’re out there playing defense and you’re defending a certain play — and we run it over and over and over — then all of a sudden another guy is carrying the ball, you have to defend the play differently.

“He (Lee) is a threat to break through every time he has the ball. Every time we get him blocked up, he’s going to get to that second or third level.”

Of course, it was Delaware’s defensive players who may have walked away the most satisfied after posting the Hens’ first shutout since last October.

Lafayette’s minus-18 rushing yards were the eighth lowest total allowed by a Delaware team.

Maybe most importantly was the fact that the Hens forced four turnovers after comiong up with just one against URI. Safety Nasir Adderley recovered a fumbled punt at the Leopards’ 31 to set up Delaware’s second TD before making a leaping interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

“We always pride ourselves on takeaways,” said Adderley. “We know how they can effect the game. If we can do that for our offense, it gives them a boost.

“No matter where we are on the field, our mindset is to get off the field and give the ball back to our offense.”

Extra points

Kicker Frank Raggo, who was 5-for-5 on PATs Saturday, has now hit 69 in a row to break the school record of 67 set by Sean Baner (2010-13). … Kehoe’s 279 passing yards were the most for a Delaware QB since Trent Hurley threw for 295 vs. JMU in 2014. … Sophomore quarterback Nolan Henderson, the former Smyrna High standout, saw his first coillegiate playing time in the fourth quarter. … Linebacker Troy Reeder had a team-high eight tackles and a forced fumble. … Delaware recorded a safety with 1:08 remaining when defensive linemen Frank Burton and Brandan Hall tackled a Lafayette ball carrier for a two-yard loss. … Freshman linebacker Johnny Buchanan had the Hens’ other interception.
Delaware Tops Leopards, 37-0

http://www.goleopards.com - 9/7/18

NEWARK, Del. – Delaware shut out Lafayette 37-0 on Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium. The Blue Hens, who were receiving votes in both Top 25 polls, churned out 414 yards of total offense led by quarterback Pat Kehoe.

The junior signal caller threw for three touchdowns and finished the day 18-of-28 for 279 yards while completing passes to nine receivers. The Blue Hens' offense held a distinct advantage in time of possession 38:31 to 21:29.

Lafayette's offense remained without a touchdown for the second straight week, held scoreless for the first time since Nov. 11, 2017 (Colgate, 27-0). Sophomore QB Sean O'Malley ended the day 17-of-33 for 111 yards with one interception. Classmate Cole Northrup also played several series, completing one pass for one yard with one INT. 

Defensively for the Leopards Michael Root, Trent Crossan and Major Jordan had 11, 10 and 10 tackles, respectively. Freshman Malik Hamm registered five stops, including three tackles for loss with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a fumble return.

The hosts put up 14 points in the first quarter. The Leopards were forced to punt on the first offensive possession and Delaware (1-1) took over near midfield. Eight plays later, Kehoe found TE Charles Scarff in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown catch over Yasir Thomas.

On Delaware's second offensive possession, the Leopard defense forced a three-and-out and a punt. Eric Mitchell fumbled the punt and Nasir Adderley recovered at the Lafayette 31. A Jerry Powe sack, one of his nine tackles on the day, left Delaware 3rd and-16 at the Lafayette 26 before Kehoe completed a 20-yard pass to Vinny Papale. Kehoe then hit Bryce De Maille across the goal line for a seven-yard TD toss and a 14-0 advantage.

Delaware took a 21-0 lead four minutes into the second quarter. DeJoun Lee used a 35-yard run and a 12-yard scamper to set up a Kehoe's third TD pass of the day, a 15-yard connection with Papale.

The Leopards' next drive started at midfield after J.J. Younger's 43-yard kickoff return. Northrup, who took over for O'Malley at the end of the third quarter, was under center for the drive. A bad shotgun snap resulted in a 15-yard loss and the Leopards punted for the third time in the game.

Lafayette's defense and Hamm held Delaware out of the end zone just before the half. He sacked Kehoe, stripped him of the ball, recovered the fumble and then returned it 22 yards. Hamm was one of two freshmen to start on the defensive line, joining Ian Grayson. Delaware led 21-0 at halftime.

The Leopards had one first down in the first half and eclipsed that total on the first drive of the second half. O'Malley hit Quinn Revere (8 yards) and Julian Spigner (11 yards) as Lafayette moved inside the Delaware 40-yard line. Delaware brought intense pressure on third and fourth downs on a pair of screen passes, one to each side, of the field were incomplete.

Delaware took over at its own 32-yard line and marched 68 yards for the score. A 20-yard pass from Kehoe to Owen Tyler, who found himself with linebacker coverage, set up the Blue Hens at the seven. Kani Kane finished off the drive, bowling his way into the end zone for the 28-0 margin.

Just before the horn at the end of the third quarter the Leopards opted for the fake punt. Harrison Greenhill completed a short pass to Nick Pearson who ran 24 yards for the first down. The Leopards picked up another first down on a seven-yard toss to Mike Dunn. The drive continued to the Delaware 24 before O'Malley was picked off in the end zone.

Delaware tacked on two more scores. Khoury Spruill capped a 15-play drive that covered 80 yards with a four-yard run for the 35-0 lead. After Delaware booted a punt to the one-yard line, the Blue Hens stopped Mike Dunn in the end zone for a safety, the first safety Lafayette surrendered since 2011.

On the day, Lafayette was 3-of-13 on third down while Delaware converted 9-of-16 tries.

Lafayette (0-2) opens its five-game home slate on Sept. 15, hosting Monmouth at 6 p.m.

Delaware Coach Danny Rocco puts Rhody loss in the rear-view mirror, looking ahead to Lafayette
Don Voltz at WDEL Sep 4, 2018 

Delaware's season-opening loss to Rhode Island last week was not a satisfying outcome for head coach Danny Rocco, but he says the team has quickly shifted its focus to Lafayette, this week's opponent at Delaware Stadium. Rocco says there is much need for improvement and this week the team will work on making itself tough to beat.

Rhode Island upset the ranked Blue Hens, 19-17, and while there were some good things about the game, three turnovers, resulting in 14 Rhode Island points, were just too much to overcome. One area that pleased Rocco was the play of quarterback Pay Kehoe, who was starting his first game as a redshirt junior. Rocco said he was comfortable with Kehoe's performance, which he said got better as the game went along, as he became more confident. Rocco says Kehoe managed the game well.

Delaware turned the ball over three times....two fumbles by running back Kani Kane and one on a bad snap to punter Nick Pritchard, which was bobbled, out on the ground at the three yard line and scooped up for a Rhode Island touchdown. Rocco noted that fundamentals are worked on at every practice but they will be given more emphasis this week.

The inexperienced defensive line played fairly well, according to Rocco, but not as well as they can, or will in the future. He said Rhode Island's quick, elusive quarterback gave them problems with his scrambling ability and frequently had trouble containing him.

This week, the Blue Hens host Lafayette at 3:30 on Saturday. The Leopards lost their season opener, 35-6, to Sacred Heart. Still, the Leopards figure to pose some problems for Delaware since Lafayette coach John Garrett spent one very successful year as Richmond's offensive coordinator under Rocco in 2016, a year when the Spiders went to the NCAA FCS quarter-finals. Rocco says Garrett has a sharp offensive mind and he figures Garrett will have a lot of new wrinkles the Blue Hens will see. 

Delaware's loss to Rhode Island dropped the Blue Hens out of the top 25 but they still received votes. Even though Delaware has already lost a CAA game, Rocco and his players all agree that all of their goals are still intact and available for achieving. 

Blue Hens drop opener to Rhode Island 21-19: Turnovers doom UD vs. CAA underdog:
Aug 30th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Delaware tight end Charles Scarff (85) is congratulated by teammate Noah Beh after catching a 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

NEWARK — This was supposed to be a chance for Delaware to flex its muscles and get a conference victory in the books.

Somebody forgot to tell Rhode Island.

The underdog Rams took advantage of some huge Blue Hen turnovers and escaped with a 21-19 Colonial Athletic Association football victory before a disappointed Delaware Stadium crowd of 17,945 in No. 15 UD’s season opener on Thursday night.

Just when it looked like the Hens might still pull out a win, senior running back Kani Kane fumbled at the URI 42 with 3:58 remaining. The Rams ran off all but the final 16 seconds of the game as they knocked off Delaware for the second-straight meeting.

The Hens also gave up one touchdown on a fumbled punt snap and another TD when URI tight end Tyler Burke somehow got behind the Hens’ defense for a 57-yard scoring catch on a broken play.

“We just gave away way too many opportunities,” said second-year coach Danny Rocco. “We gave up more plays than we made. The two fumbles were back-breaking. We had a couple dropped passes that were just extraordinarily disappointing.

Delaware’s Andrew Powlowski takes on a couple URI blockers Thursday night. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“You get guys that you really expect to be playmakers and step up and make things happen out there and they just did not really come through tonight.”

Delaware had a chance to tie the game on a big turn of events with 6:45 remaining.

With the Hens trailing 21-13 and facing a fourth-and-goal from the 11, quarterback Pat Kehoe lobbed a pass to receiver Joe Walker, who made a great, one-handed catch in the back corner of the end zone. But Walker was ruled out of bounds.

Just as Delaware was lining up for a field-goal try, though, the replay booth called for a review. The call was overturned, giving the Hens the TD.

Delaware then went for two but Kehoe’s quick pass for Jamie Jarmon was partially deflected before falling harmlessly off Jarmon’s hands. That ended up being the Hens’ last real chance to tie the game.

Charles Scarff crosses the goal line after catching a 28-yard pass from Pat Kehoe in the second quarter. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“We will take a conference win any way we can,” said URI coach Jim Fleming, whose team also beat Delaware in 2015, the last time the two programs met. “We gave up some awful plays on defense, but we were able to come back and make some critical plays late.

“Since I have been here, we have been waiting for the opportunity to get a quality win to build upon. It was not a championship-caliber performance, but it was a quality win.”

Kehoe, the fourth-year junior making only the second appearance of his career, played fairly well after a slow start. He ended up completing 12-of-22 passes for 202 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

He should have had a third TD pass. But wide-open fullback Owen Tyler couldn’t pull in a 31-yard pass when Kehoe hit him in stride along the sidelines in the third quarter.

Delaware had to settle for a field goal after the drop.

“We lost for reasons other than Pat,” said Rocco. “Now Pat will play better and he needs to play better. But that really was not the reason we lost the game.”

Kane ran for a game-high 106 yards on 20 carries but lost two fumbles when the Hens had the ball in URI territory. His late fumble came after an impressive 20-yard run on which the Sussex Tech High grad bulled his way through several tackles.

The Hens’ defense was less than spectacular. Delaware finished with a 347-330 edge in yards but forced only one meaningless turnover at the end of the first half.

“Defensively, we did not make a lot of big plays,” said Rocco. “We were not as dynamic as we’ve been. We were not as much as a ball-hawk defense as we have been.”

“I think what we took from last year was that you can be really good,” said linebacker Troy Reeder. “But it only takes one or two plays to lose a game. Ultimately, that’s somewhat what it came down to. … It’s tough. We’ve got to do what we need to do to make the ball bounce our way.”

The first 20 minutes were pretty rough for Delaware.

Blue Hens wide receiver Jamie Jarmon, an Indian River High grad, carries the U.S. flag onto the field before Thursday’s game. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Not only did the Hens’ offense struggle to get anything going but, early in the second half, a high punt snap was bobbled by punter Nick Pritchard and scooped up by URI’s Justice Antrum. He returned the ball a couple yards for a touchdown that gave the Rams a 7-0 lead.

But the mistake seemed to get the Hens’ attention.

Delaware’s offense came to life for the first time in the game and answered with a sharp seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Kehoe found tight end Charles Scarff alone for a 28-yard TD pass that tied the contest at 7-7 with 7:05 left before halftime.

A stop by the Hens’ defense gave the ball right back to the offense. This time Delaware went 59 yards on eight plays for a Frank Raggo 26-yard field goal that gave the Hens their first lead of the season at 10-7.

The big play of the drive came when Kehoe found Kane on a 46-yard screen pass to the URI 26.

In the end, though, there weren’t enough big plays like that for the Hens.

“We had guys who are proven players not really play up to the standard at which we expect them to play,” said Rocco. “How do you really put your finger on why? That’s the hardest thing for me to process right now.

“I felt mid-week that this was going to be a very, very tight game. My instincts, I guess, were right. As the week went on, I started to feel really good about where this team was. But, for whatever reason, tonight we under-performed. I pretty much have to own that.”

Extra points

Linebacker Colby Reeder had an interception and 61-yard reception on the final play of the first half. … Five different players had catches for the Hens, with Jarmon pulling in four for 26 yards. … Newcomer Dajoun Lee ran for 61 yards on only seven carries. … Senior Ray Jones, playing his first game at linebacker after moving from safety, had a game-high 9.5 tackles. … Raggo went 2-for-3 on field-goal attempts, making ones from 26 and 48 yards while missing a 52-yarder.
Blue Hens to face Penn State in football
Aug 30th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK – For a lot of Delaware football fans, having the Blue Hens play mighty Penn State was a dream matchup.

Now that dream is becoming a reality.

On Thursday, Delaware announced that it has scheduled two games at Penn State, in 2023 and 2027. It will mark the first time Delaware has played an active Big Ten member.

Blue Hen coach Danny Rocco began his collegiate playing career at Penn State before transferring to Wake Forest. Rocco’s father, Frank, spent over 20 years working with the Nittany Lions football program.

The Big Ten doesn’t allow its members to schedule FCS Division I programs like Delaware except in years when they have only four conference home games.

Blue Hen quarterback Kehoe eyes first career start: Redshirt junior gets nod in Thursday’s opener vs. URI
Aug 27th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Redshirt junior Pat Kehoe will be just the fourth UD quarterback in the last 30 years to start a season opener without having thrown a collegiate pass. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

NEWARK — In his three seasons at Delaware, Pat Kehoe has gotten on the field just once in a real game.

But coach Danny Rocco said the field isn’t the only a place a player earns respect.

The second-year Blue Hen coach said Kehoe has become a leader in places like 6:30 a.m. workouts or player-organized passing sessions.

“I think that is a big part of Pat,” said Rocco. “And maybe for me, as the head coach who is not there in those moments … sometimes there’s things going on in your program that are really positive and you’re not always certain who’s taking the initiative.

“It has been brought to my attention that that’s kind of been who Pat has been here for a good while.”

Now the Hens are anxious to see if Kehoe’s behind-the-scenes leadership skills will translate to the field.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound redshirt junior quarterback will get his first career start on Thursday when Delaware opens the season by hosting Colonial Athletic Association foe Rhode Island at 7 p.m.

Kehoe got the starting nod over QBs J.P. Caruso, Darius Wade and even Joe Walker, who is now a receiver — all of whom have considerably more playing experience than Kehoe.

And, indeed, Rocco said he plans on playing more than one quarterback on Thursday. Caruso would presumably be the next QB off the bench.

Danny Rocco

Kehoe is just the fourth Delaware QB in the past 30 years to start a season opener without ever having thrown a collegiate pass. Rocco, though, said he made the decision not so much on the left-handed Kehoe’s ability to throw the ball but on his ability to run Delaware’s offense.

“You’re going to see Pat run our offense,” Rocco said at his first weekly press lunch on Monday. “Ultimately, that is one thing we want to be able to do out here Thursday night. We want to be able to run our offense, have him get us in and out of plays, take plays into good looks out of bad looks and then make good decisions with the football — and get the ball to our playmakers.

“That is first and foremost before we start talking about what other things will we do at the quarterback position on Thursday night. But you will see more than one quarterback play in the game.”

This is the first time since 2007 that the Hens have opened up against a conference opponent. That puts more importance on this game — not to mention a little more responsibility on Kehoe’s shoulders.

Kehoe’s teammates, however, say he’s earned their confidence.

“I feel as though you have to respect a guy in a situation like that,” said Walker. “There’s a guy who can have his head down, was low on the depth chart and really worked his way up.”

Walker now caught up

Former starting QB Joe Walker (3) runs with the ball in the Hens’ scrimmage last week. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Joe Walker, now a senior, has the distinction of being a four-year starter at Delaware.

But, after starting 26 games at quarterback over his first three seasons, this time he’ll be lining up as a starting wide receiver.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior did play wideout in the second half of last season with limited success. He had six catches for 152 yards.

After going through spring practice and preseason camp, however, Walker thinks he’s much more prepared to play his new position.

“It wasn’t athletic ability, it was all mental,” he said about lining up at receiver last year. “Being able to receive a lot of knowledge, I feel really good about going into the season.

“I got a lot of support from coaches and players. They really helped me grow as much as I’ve done in the off-season. It’s just been really fast, honestly, changing roles like that. But I have a lot of confidence.”

Delaware needs a receiver to step up after graduating Diante Cherry. With 114 catches for 1,183 yards and six touchdowns, Cherry was the Hens’ leading pass-catcher in that span.

Lining up alongside fellow seniors Jamie Jarmon and Vinny Papale, Walker gives Delaware a physical presence at the position. He may also return kickoffs and punts.

“Joe has made a lot of improvement,” said Rocco. “Coach (Erik) Campbell has done a really good job with Joe, getting him to just do the basic fundamentals that go with being able to master the position. Joe has an amazing amount of talent.

“These techniques and fine-tuning these fundamentals will give him an opportunity to create some space, get open and really make some plays with us. We’re really excited about that and his development. I feel like our football team is a better football team with Joe out there on the edge creating that threat.”

Whether he’s a quarterback or a receiver, Walker said the bottom line is that he just wants to win.

“My mindset has never changed,” said Walker. “I was always going out trying to be a leader.”

Ware not unnoticed

Armen Ware is one of those guys who always seem to find his way onto the field.

The 6-foot, 235-pound senior, who has also seen time at linebacker, is listed as a starting defensive end for the URI game.

A Middletown native, Ware played at St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) in high school. He’s gotten in 21 career UD games as a reserve.

Rocco says Ware first attracted his attention when he was coaching at Richmond two years ago.

“When you’re on the field, you get a different perspective of these kids,” said Rocco. “There were a couple plays on our sideline that night and I’m like, ‘My gosh, who’s this guy. This guy’s playing hard. He’s running to the ball and he’s explosive.’ He’s just an ‘all in’ human being and that’s awesome to see.”

Extra points

Thursday’s contest can be seen on-line as the CBSi Game of the week. … Delaware is slated to have seven transfers in its starting lineup. And that doesn’t include the QB position, where two of the top three players are transfers. … The other three UD quarterbacks in the last 30 years to start a season opener without ever having thrown a collegiate pass are Blake Rankin (2015), Robbie Schoenhoft (2008) and Billy Vernatino (1989).

Calm, Cool Demeanor Has Lawson Ready to Lead Rams against the Blue Hens
By Harold Buckner III
GoRhody.com Staff
Aug 26, 2018

JaJuan Lawson could be called a lot of things due to his performances on the football field, but one thing he is for sure, going into the 2018 football season, is the starting quarterback for the Rhode Island Rams. I had the opportunity to interview Lawson and ask him a few questions regarding final season as a college football player.

Lawson has a calm and relaxed demeanor about himself that carries onto the football field. When watching him practice over the course of summer camp, one could only notice the great body language he presents. Lawson rarely gets frustrated with himself or his teammates when things go wrong because he knows that's a part of football. If he does, it never shows. He's always very motivated and he brings everyone together which is a great quality to have being the leader of the offense.

"My personal goals are only about the team," Lawson said. "All that matters is how late into the season we are playing. That is the only thing I care about."

That mindset is what every player in the locker room should have in their mind. Playing together as one heartbeat is what it's going to take to win and be successful.

In 2017, Lawson's junior year, He appeared in all 11 games, making five starts at quarterback. Lawson finished the season 105-of-176 for 1,198 yards and seven touchdowns. His 59.7 completion percentage was the fourth-highest single-season percentage in program history. Lawson was also third on the team with 270 rushing yards and tied for second with three rushing touchdowns. With a year in the offense under his belt and most of the offensive weapons from last season returning, expect Lawson to improve on those numbers this season.
Blue Hens know that time is now
Aug 25th, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — Being a senior football player comes with a definite sense of finality.

No matter how philosophical you get, the end of your playing career is impossible to sidestep.

So for the Delaware football team, which has a big senior class of 30 players, there’s definitely a feeling that this is their last season to get it done.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are on their last go-around,” said senior linebacker Troy Reeder. “No matter what you say, when it’s your last year, it’s a different mentality.

“And there are so many of us that are involved that I think the team’s kind of taken on that mentality. … We have a lot of guys who have started and played for three or four years that took their lumps and learned — learned at 4-7 and learned at 7-4. Now we’re trying to piece it all together one last time.”

The holy grail for the Blue Hens, who open the season on Thursday by hosting Rhode Island at 7 p.m., is to get the program back into the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs. Delaware still hasn’t been there since reaching the national championship game in 2010.

The Hens did go 7-4 last fall for their first winning season since 2013. In their first season under coach Danny Rocco, they even thought they’d done enough to warrant an at-large playoff berth.

Now, though, just coming close isn’t good enough for Delaware’s seniors. Rocco said there’s clearly a sense of urgency that comes with having a veteran squad.

“There are a lot of guys here who very much deserve to experience the joy and the thrill of victory,” he said. “And we talk about that a lot. A lot of guys have invested an awful lot here in their time in their careers.

“It’s offering a really good standard at which we’re trying to perform to.”

With so many veterans, there’s a lot to like about this Delaware team, which was ranked No. 15 in the STATS preseason FCS Division I poll.

The Hens’ defense, led by Reeder and safety Nasir Adderley, would like to think it can be as good as any FCS defense in the country. A year ago, Delaware was 10th nationally in scoring defense (16.8 points) and 15th in total defense (305.5 yards).

Offensively, the Hens will again try to control the ball. Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane, who emerged as Delaware’s top running back after transferring in from a junior college last summer, leads a solid backfield that should go at least four players deep.

“This is the most talented team I’ve been on, honestly,” said senior quarterback J.P. Caruso, who spent his first three seasons at Appalachian State. “We really don’t have a weakness at any position — we really don’t.

“Our defense is the best defense in the country — the same as last year, I believe. We’re going up against the best defense every single day and it’s just making the offense better. We’re out there competing every single day and there’s so much energy.

“One thing I can tell you is that I’ve never been a part of a team that has so much energy every single practice,” Caruso added. “It’s a lot of fun to be on this team. I’m excited.”

But the Hens’ biggest potential Achilles heel continues to be its lack of a consistent passing game. Last season, Delaware was just 117th out of the 123 teams in FCS as 124.5 passing yards per game.

Delaware did bring in former Middletown High star Darius Wade, a transfer from Boston College. But he’s only third on the depth chart in preseason.

Rocco did shake things up a little this week when he decided to start redshirt junior Pat Kehoe at QB in the opener. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound lefthander has seen action in only one game during his first two playing seasons at Delaware.

Caruso, who started the final six games of last season, is still in the picture. Rocco has a history of playing multiple quarterbacks and said he expects to do so again this year.

“I think we’re very talented on defense,” said Rocco. “We’re very physical and I like our depth. I like our running backs, I like our physicality and I like our ‘O’ line in terms of physicality.

“But we’ve still got to improve our passing game. We have receivers. We’ve just got to be a little more efficient.”

Extra points

Delaware has three teams on the schedule that are ranked ahead of it. That includes No. 1 North Dakota State, No. 7 New Hampshire and No. 12 Elon. … But the Hens don’t have to face CAA giant James Madison, which is ranked No. 2 in the preseason. … Of Delaware’s 24 opening-night starters, 16 are seniors. Rocco listed 12 positions on both offense and defense. … Nine true freshmen made the depth chart as backups.

The 2018 Blue Hens

Here’s a position-by-position look at the Delaware football team for the 2018 season:


QUARTERBACK: There’s a pretty good chance two or three QBs will see game action this season, especially early in the year when the Blue Hens are in the nonconference portion part of their schedule.

Veteran backup Pat Kehoe (Jr., 6-4, 240) has been named the starter for the season opener but has played in only one game in his collegiate career. J.P. Caruso (Sr., 6-0, 205) started the final six games of last season with mixed results. He threw for eight TDs with five interceptions while seeing action in 10 of 11 games.

Darius Wade (Sr., 6-1, 225) is the wild card at the position. He only saw limited playing time in preseason. But, considering he started six games at Boston College, he could still work himself in the picture. And then there’s Joe Walker (Sr., 6-3, 205), who was a three-year starter at QB before being moved to receiver midway through last season. The Hens still run some plays with him behind center.

RUNNING BACK: Delaware has several options in the backfield. Kani Kane (Sr., 6-0, 240) looks like he’s in better shape and certainly knows the offense better than he did last season when he ran for a team-high 594 yards and 7 TDs in his first season with the Hens. But Delaware also still has veteran Kareem Williams (Sr., 5-10, 210), who owns 1,407 career rushing yards.

Khory Spruill (So., 6-0, 230) showed a glimpse of his ability when he ran for 86 yards in a win over Albany as a freshman while newcomer Dejoun Lee (So., 5-7, 185), an Army transfer who redshirted last fall, gives the Hens some speed at the position. There’s a possible fifth running back in Penn State transfer Andre Robinson (Jr., 5-10, 225), who got some preseason carries. Delaware still has to work through some red tape, though, before the former high school star is eligible to play.

The Hens will use a fullback at times with former tight end Owen Tyler (Sr., 6-4, 235) listed as the starter. Former standout running back Thomas Jefferson (Sr., 6-1, 215), a 1,590-yard rusher who opted to return for his final year, could also see time there.

RECEIVER/TIGHT END: The Hens’ receivers, of course, have also played a role in UD’s lackluster passing game over the last several seasons. Delaware wideouts had only 59 catches for 793 yards last year.

But former Indian River High star Jamie Jarmon (Sr., 6-2, 200), who had a team-high 29 catches and all six TD receptions by a receiver last fall, and Vinny Papale (Sr., 6-1, 205) have both seen a lot of playing time in their careers. Joe Walker (Sr., 6-3, 205) also figures to make an impact after adjusting to his new position.

Thyrick Pitts (So., 6-2, 205), Gene Coleman (So., 5-11, 195) and Tylan McElhenie (So., 6-2, 195) are Delaware’s next generation of wideouts after seeing action as freshman.

At tight end, Charles Scarff (Sr., 6-6, 270) can be an imposing target at times — he had three TD catches last year — but needs to be more consistent.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Delaware’s offensive line will be a mix of old and new. After being limited by injuries at times, Guard Mario Farinella (Sr., 6-2, 300) earned preseason all-CAA honors. Connor Lutz (Jr., 6-5, 305), Jethro Pepe (Sr., 6-7, 295) and Noah Bey (Sr., 6-6, 290) have made a combined 28 career starts.

Guard Chuka Ezeuzoh (Jr., 6-5, 305), who redshirted last year after transferring from Delaware State, started in 17 games for the Hornets. Collin Wallish (Jr., 6-6, 285) takes over the starting center job while David Kroll (So., 6-6, 315) will man the left tackle spot after seeing action in 10 games as a true freshman.


DEFENSIVE LINE: After losing four of its top linemen, including two to the NFL, Delaware has some rebuilding to do up front. It hasn’t helped that several players were dealing with injuries in preseason.

Still, Cam Kitchen (Sr., 6-2, 275) and Armen Ware (Sr., 6-0, 235) have both been in the program for a while. Transfers Frank Burton (So., 6-2, 270), from Ball State, and Caleb Ashworth (So., 6-3, 260), from Cincinnati, are both expected to step right into key roles. Dominick Covatto (So., 6-3, 275) and Sal Mauro (So., 6-2, 270) should also be contributors when they’re healthy.

LINEBACKER: The Hens have a lot of linebackers — they list 19 on the roster — including some pretty good ones. Delaware hopes Troy Reeder (Sr., 6-3, 245) and Charles Bell (Sr., 6-0, 230), who is returning from a back injury, are at the top of their games this fall. The two have combined for 398 tackles in their UD careers.

Colby Reeder (So., 6-3, 240) made an immediate impact as a freshman with former safety Ray Jones (Sr., 6-1, 205) moving to linebacker for his last year. Middletown High standout Kedrick Whitehead (Fr., 5-11, 190) is in the mix after taking part in spring practice.

SECONDARY: The quick return of safety Malcolm Brown (Sr., 6-1, 200) from a serious off-season injury has helped solidify an already-veteran secondary. Safety Nasir Adderley (Sr., 6-0, 200) is considered the top player in the defensive backfield but cornerbacks Tenny Adewusi (Sr., 6-1, 200) have K.C. Hinton (Sr., 5-11, 200) have also seen a lot of playing time. Together those four players have 14 career interceptions.

Cornerback Nijuel Hill (So., 5-10, 185) started 10 games as a freshman while converted receiver Joey Carter (So., 6-0, 195) could also contribute this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Now in his fourth year as Delaware’s main placekicker, Frank Raggo (Sr., 5-9, 190) is now a reliable veteran. He’s 74-of-75 on PAT kicks in his career and 19-for-26 on field goals over the last two seasons. He hit a career-high 55-yarder last season.

Punter Nick Pritchard (Jr., 5-10, 210) returns after averaging 40.7 yards per kick last year. Polytech High grad Mark Bonnie (So., 5-11, 185) and Jake Roth (Jr., 6-0, 210) are both dueling for the kickoff specialist job.

Ezeuzoh set to make impact as new Blue Hen offensive lineman
Aug 21st, 2018 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — In two seasons at Delaware State, Chuka Ezeuzoh started 17 games and played in 19.

So playing in zero games last year after transferring to Delaware was a strange feeling.

“Oh, it was really tough,” said the big offensive lineman. “I went from a two-year starter to just standing and watching games. I felt like I was back in middle school.”

But after sitting out his required redshirt season, Ezeuzoh thinks he’s ready to make an impact for his new team.

A 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior is expected to see a lot of playing time this fall for Delaware. The Concord High grad has been rotating in at the starting left guard spot for Delaware during preseason.

“He’s got a neat personality,” said Blue Hen coach Danny Rocco. “He’s a smart kid. I think everybody in this sport respects toughness and hard work – and he’s tough and he works hard. You get instant credibility when you bring those two things to the table.

“He’s learning the offense and he’s progressing really well.”

Kani Kane carries the ball in Tuesday night’s scrimmage as the Hens debuted their blue uniform pants. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

A third-team, preseason all-MEAC pick two years ago, the addition of Ezeuzoh is one reason the Hens still feel good about their offensive line despite losing a couple veteran players to graduation.

Delaware still has tackle Noah Beh along with guards Steve Robinson and Connor Lutz back as returning starters. Senior Jethro Pepe also has starting experience while sophomore David Kroll has been a fixture at left tackle in camp.

Then there’s senior Mario Farinella, who’s battled injuries during his career, but was named to the preseason all-Colonial Athletic Association team after having a good spring practice.

Ezeuzoh said looking forward to this season is one thing that got him through sitting out last year.

“I’m just happy being here,” he said after the Hens scrimmaged in Delaware Stadium on Tuesday evening. “It’s a great opportunity to play here. Even if I wasn’t playing in that particular moment in time, I’d just think about the future. That really motivated me.”

Ezeuzoh said it was always his dream to play for the Hens. So it doesn’t matter to him whether he’s starting or not.

After waiting for his time to come, Ezeuzoh is just happy to be back on the field.

“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “Whether I’m off the bench or starting, I just want to play.”

Feeling blue?

Delaware football is built on tradition. And, for as long as anyone can remember, the Hens have worn yellow uniform pants.

So it was something of an historic moment when Delaware scrimmaged in blue pants on Tuesday night.

The offense wore all blue with the defense outfitted in white jerseys and blue pants. The pants have yellow stripes down the side.

“Now we’ll have more options and combinations when we come out,” said Rocco.

The second-year head coach said he’d let the captains have a say in what colors the Hens wear for their season opener against Rhode Island on Aug. 30.

Not surprisingly, the players got a kick out of debuting the new look.

“These blue pants are sweet,” said quarterback J.P. Caruso. “I like them a lot.”

“They’re great, I love them,” said senior linebacker Charles Bell. “We’re very excited.”

Caruso getting there

QB J.P. Caruso said he feels much more comfortable after spending a year in the program and undergoing shoulder surgery. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Even though Tuesday night’s practice was Delaware’s last significant scrimmage before the season opener, Rocco said he was going to take another day or two to tell the team who Delaware’s starting quarterback will be.

Judging from practice, however, it still looks like Caruso will still be No. 1 QB after starting the final six games of the season in 2017. Rocco said the fifth-year senior clearly understands the offense better after spending a year in the system.

“Last year, early on, communication was an area we weren’t real strong with – in terms of him being able to communicate the plays,” said Rocco. “So he’s much, much better there. And I just think with having started a number of games, and having performed in some big wins, he has made himself a better football player.

“Now he’s not where he needs to,” Rocco added. “That was evidenced tonight.”

Rocco also said the off-season shoulder surgery Caruso underwent seems to have made a big difference. There were times last year when he couldn’t even throw during the week.

“On Saturdays, he was at varying levels of efficiency,” said Rocco. “He’s certainly not dealing with that kind of pain right now.”

Considering he only transferred from Appalachian State last summer, Caruso would like to think he’s much farther ahead than he was last year at this time.

“It’s night and day honestly,” he said. “I feel so much more comfortable in this offense with these receivers. I didn’t even know half the team by name at this point last year.

“I feel a lot more comfortable back there and I’m healthier. I’m just having a lot of fun out here.”

FCS 2018: CAA Football Preview

(STATS) - CAA Football's six teams in the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 were the most of any conference in the subdivision.

A half-dozen may not have been enough.

The 12-team conference is particularly strong this season, with teams in the lower tier that would be title contenders in many other conferences. Preseason favorite James Madison, which has won three straight CAA titles and made two consecutive appearances in the national championship game, isn't a lock with the likes of New Hampshire, Elon, Delaware, Villanova, Stony Brook and Richmond hovering in the deep title race.

Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2018 CAA Football race and STATS' predicted order of finish:

1. James Madison

2. New Hampshire

3. Villanova

4. Elon

5. Delaware

6. Richmond

7. Stony Brook

8. Towson

9. Maine

10. William & Mary

11. Albany

12. Rhode Island




LOCATION: Harrisonburg, Virginia

STADIUM: Bridgeforth Stadium

HEAD COACH: Mike Houston (28-2, two seasons; 71-21 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 14-1, 8-0 CAA (1st)

STARTERS RETURNING: 10 (6 offense/4 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Cole Johnson, QB, Jr.; 
Ben DiNucci, QB, R-Jr. (Pittsburgh transfer); Marcus Marshall, RB, Sr.; 
Trai Sharp, RB, Sr.; Cardon Johnson, RB, Gr.; Riley Stapleton, WR, Jr.; 
David Eldridge, WR, Sr.; Jahee Jackson, OL, R-Jr.; Mac Patrick, C, Jr.; 
Darrious Carter, DL, R-Sr.; Ron'Dell Carter, DL, R-Jr.; Bryce Maginley, 
LB, Jr.; Jimmy Moreland, CB, R-Sr.; Rashad Robinson, CB, R-Sr.; Charles 
Tutt, CB, R-Jr.; D'Angelo Amos, S/RS, R-So.; Ethan Ratke, PK, R-So.; 
Harry O'Kelly, P. So.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Bryan Schor, QB; Andrew Ankrah, DE; Raven Greene, S

OUTLOOK: Despite losing a standout 
senior class that appeared in two straight national championship games 
(winning in 2016), the three-time defending CAA champ has reloaded for 
another title shot. The big story of the offseason has been at 
quarterback, where Johnson, a two-year backup, and DiNucci, who made six
starts in two seasons at Pitt, are competing for the right to work with
incredible talent led by Marshall at running back and Stapleton at wide
receiver. The Dukes' defense - so strong last season in allowing an 
FCS-low 11.1 points per game - has to catch up to the offense. They were
plus-22 in turnover margin - a number that will be hard to match - but 
in Moreland and Robinson (a combined 15 interceptions last season), they
may have the top cornerback duo in the FCS. The Dukes will face a 
brutal stretch of Richmond, Elon, Villanova, Stony Brook and New 
Hampshire in succession.



LOCATION: Durham, New Hampshire

STADIUM: Wildcat Stadium

HEAD COACH: Sean McDonnell (150-88, 19 seasons)

2017 RECORDS: 9-5, 5-3 CAA (Tie/4th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 18 (9 offense/9 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Trevor Knight, QB, Sr.; 
Evan Gray, RB, Jr.; Trevon Bryant, RB, Sr.; Malik Love, WR, Jr.; Neil 
O'Connor, WR, Sr.; Jack Carroll, OL, So.; Dayne Herron, LT, Sr.; 
Jae'Wuan Horton, DE, Sr.; Ryan Sosnak, DT, Sr.; Quinlen Dean, LB, Jr.; 
Jared Kuehl, LB, Sr.; Rick Ellison, S, Jr.; Pop Lacey, S, Jr.; Isiah 
Perkins, CB, Jr.; Prince Smith Jr., CB, Jr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Jake Kennedy, OL; Rick Holt, DT; D'Andre Drummond-Mayrie, S

OUTLOOK: With the most returning 
starters in the conference, the Wildcats are primed for another big run 
in McDonnell's 20th season. A 15th straight playoff appearance appears 
to be a formality for a team that seeks to surpass last year's trip to 
the national quarterfinals. The offense is potent: QB Knight (3,433 
yards, 26 TDs), the CAA preseason offensive player of the year, teams 
with All-America WR O'Connor (97 receptions, 1,396 yards, 10 TDs), and 
last year's subpar run game gets Bryant back from injury. The 4-2-5 
defense must strengthen up front, but the linebackers (led by Dean) and 
defensive backs are outstanding. A season-opening win at rival Maine is a
must-have to set up a potential big season.



LOCATION: Villanova, Pennsylvania

STADIUM: Villanova Stadium

HEAD COACH: Mark Ferrante (5-6, one season)

2017 RECORDS: 5-6, 3-5 CAA (Tie/7th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 16 (9 offense/7 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Zach Bednarczyk, QB, 
Sr.; Aaron Forbes, RB, Sr.; Changa Hodge, WR, So.; Brandon Chadbourn, 
WR, Jr.; Ryan Bell, TE, Sr.; Ethan Greenidge, OT, Sr.; Paul Grattan, OL,
So.; Malik Fisher, DE, So.; Jafonta Johnson, DE, Jr.; Bryan White, DL, 
Sr.; Drew Wiley, LB, Jr.; Jeff Steeb, LB, Jr.; Keeling Hunter, LB, Jr.; 
Rob Rolle, S, Sr.; Jaquan Amos, DB, So.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Taurus Phillips, WR; Ed Shockley, LB; Malik Reaves, DB

OUTLOOK: A deluge of season-ending 
injuries sabotaged Ferrante's first season, but it's made the Wildcats a
lot stronger this year because of the return of QB Bednarczyk, RB 
Gudzak, TE Bell, WR Hodge, All-America S Rolle and others. Although the 
offense became punchless during a four-game losing streak last season, 
the defense remained competitive, finishing No. 2 in the CAA in scoring 
defense (16.1 points per game). LB Steeb was one of the players who came
on strong as a sophomore. The schedule suggests a quick turnaround, but
half of the season is full of strong opponents.



LOCATION: Elon, North Carolina

STADIUM: Rhodes Stadium

HEAD COACH: Curt Cignetti (8-4, one season; 61-21 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 8-4, 6-2 CAA (3rd)

STARTERS RETURNING: 18 (9 offense/9 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Davis Cheek, QB, So.; 
Malcolm Summers, RB, Sr.; De'Sean McNair, RB, Jr.; Corey Joyner, WR, 
Sr.; Kortez Weeks, WR, So.; C.J. Toogood, OL, Sr.; Alex Higgins, OL, 
Sr.; Oli Udoh, OL, Sr.; Marcus Willoughby, DL, Jr.; Warren Messer, LB, 
Sr.; Tyler Campbell, DB, Sr.; Daniel Reid-Bennett, DB, Jr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Chris Blair, DB; Tre Lennon, WR; Ikenna Nwokeji, OL

OUTLOOK: The Phoenix rose a year 
ahead of schedule, improving by six wins in Cignetti's stunning first 
season. Following an 8-1 start, though, they lost their final three 
games including in the playoffs against Furman. With the return of nine 
starters on each side of the ball, they expect to have another big 
season - and they're a bit motivated to only be picked fifth in the CAA 
preseason poll. QB Cheek, the CAA offensive rookie of the year, directs 
an offense that has many weapons, including RBs Summers (755 rushing 
yards in six games) and McNair and WR Weeks. As a senior, LB Messer (114
tackles) will challenge for CAA defensive player of the year. The road 
portion of the schedule is difficult and could wear on the Phoenix.



LOCATION: Newark, Delaware

STADIUM: Delaware Stadium

HEAD COACH: Danny Rocco (7-4, one season; 97-46 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 7-4, 5-3 CAA (Tie/4th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (8 offense/7 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: J.P. Caruso, QB, R-Sr.; 
Kani Kane, RB, Sr.; Joe Walker, WR, Sr.; Jamie Jarmon, WR, Sr.; Charles 
Scarff, TE, R-Sr.; Mario Farinella, OL, R-Sr.; Noah Beh, OL, R-Sr.; 
Caleb Ashworth, DL, R-So. (Cincinnati transfer); Troy Reeder, LB, R-Sr.;
Charles Bell, LB, R-Sr.; Ray Jones, LB, Sr.; Nasir Adderley, S, Sr.; 
Nijuel Hill, DB, R-So.; Frank Raggo, PK, R-Sr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Brody Kern, C; Bilal Nichols, DT; Blaine Woodson, DT

OUTLOOK: Delaware and Ohio Valley 
Conference member Austin Peay were the last two teams left out of the 
2017 playoff field, so this year's Blue Hens team will settle for 
nothing less than the program's first bid since 2010. Rocco has a team 
with skill, size and depth. While quarterback has been a problem in 
recent years, Caruso solidified himself in the second half of last 
season. The former QB, Walker, has settled in at wide receiver and in a 
multi-purpose role. The ball-control run game is strong with Kane, who 
made the CAA preseason team. Still, an aggressive defense will lead the 
way with LBs Reeder and Bell (back from injury) and S Adderly, a leading
NFL prospect from the FCS. The Blue Hens should open with three 
straight wins before they take their best shot at FCS champion North 
Dakota State on Sept. 22.



LOCATION: Richmond, Virginia

STADIUM: Robins Stadium

HEAD COACH: Russ Huesman (6-5, one season; 65-42 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 6-5, 4-4 CAA (6th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (6 offense/8 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Kevin Johnson, QB, 
R-Jr.; Xavier Goodall, RB, Jr.; Deontez Thompson, RB, R-Jr.; Gordon 
Collins, RB, R-Sr.; Dejon Brissett, WR, Sr.; Cortrelle Simpson, WR, 
R-Jr.; Tyler Wilkins, WR, Sr.; John Yarbrough, OL, Sr.; Andrew Clyde, 
DL, R-Sr.; Justin Rubin, LB, Sr.; Dale Matthews Jr., LB, R-Sr.; Colby 
Ritten, DL, R-So.; Daniel Jones, DB, Jr.; Griffin Trau, PK, R-Sr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Kyle Lauletta, QB; Garrett Hudson, TE; Tafon Mainsah, CB

OUTLOOK: Despite losing QB Lauletta, 
the CAA offensive player of the year, to the New York Giants, the 
Spiders could be improved this season. There's just too many skilled 
players returning for Huesman's second season. Johnson made all three 
playoff starts in 2016 when Lauletta was sidelined by an ACL tear, and 
he steps in to work with a three-headed monster at wide receiver 
(Brissett, Simpson and Wilkins - a combined 185 receptions). Huesman 
should look to run the ball more with Thompson's return from injury. 
Clyde tied for the CAA leads in sacks and is one of the top defensive 
tackles in the FCS, but the usually strong defense slumped last season, 
ranking 10th in the conference. Trau has kicked 35 field goals over the 
last two seasons.



LOCATION: Stony Brook, New York

STADIUM: LaValle Stadium

HEAD COACH: Chuck Priore (77-61, 13 seasons; 116-70 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 10-3, 7-1 CAA (2nd)

STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (8 offense/6 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Joe Carbone, QB, Sr.; 
Donald Liotine, RB, Sr.; Jordan Gowins, RB, Sr.; Cal Daniels, FB/TE, 
Sr.; Marshall Ellick, WR, Gr. (Temple grad transfer); Donavin 
Washington, WR, Sr.; Jonathan Haynes, OL, Sr.; John Haggart, DL, Sr.; 
Sam Kamara, DL, Jr.; Jordan Scarbrough, DL, Jr.; Shayne Lawless, LB, 
Sr.; Noah McGinty, LB, Sr.; Gavin Heslop, DB, Jr.; Marc Nolan, P, Sr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Stacey Bedell, RB; Ray Bolden, WR; Tyrice Beverette, DB/LB

OUTLOOK: The Seawolves are coming off
their best season since joining the CAA (second place and a first-round
playoff win), but they might take a step backward following some key 
senior losses. QB Carbone's breakout season (2,470 yards, 23 TDs) 
allowed the offense to improve tremendously, but this season they're 
replacing their top running back (Bedell) and wide receiver (Bolden). 
There's no doubting the defense, which is always strong, especially 
against the run. With Lawless and McGinty, the Seawolves are set at 



LOCATION: Towson, Maryland

STADIUM: Johnny Unitas Stadium

HEAD COACH: Rob Ambrose (52-54, nine seasons; 55-61 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 5-6, 3-5 CAA (Tie/7th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (9 offense/6 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Ryan Stover, QB, R-So.; 
Tom Flacco, QB, R-Jr. (Rutgers transfer); Shane Simpson, RB/KR, R-Jr.; 
Sam Gallahan, WR, R-Sr.; Jabari Greenwood, WR, R-Jr.; Joe Green, TE, 
R-Sr.; Nick Carnesale, OL, R-Jr.; Matt Kauffman, OL, R-Jr.; Nico 
Russollio, OL, R-So.; Zane Ventimiglia, OL, Sr.; Robert Heyward, LB, 
R-Jr.; Keon Paye, LB, R-Jr.; Chris Tedder, LB, Sr.; Malik Tyne, LB, 
R-Jr.; Diondre Wallace, LB, Sr.; Mitch Boals, DB, Sr.; Monty Fenner, DB,
R-Sr.; Aidan O'Neill, PK, Jr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Kanyia Anderson, DL; Clifton Jones, DL; Lyrics Klugh, DB

OUTLOOK: There's a chance the Tigers -
picked 10th in the CAA preseason poll - could pull a surprise in the 
ultra-deep standings. Ambrose utilized a young lineup the last couple 
seasons and it could blossom this year (his 2011-13 and '15 squads were 
7-4 or better). QB Stover, who led the team in rushing yards in addition
to passing for over 2,000 yards as a freshman, didn't get to work much 
with RB Simpson (the 2016 CAA offensive rookie of the year) last season 
as injuries affected the Tigers. The defense returns its top five 
tacklers, led by LB Wallace. They'll have to find a pass rusher to 
replace Anderson.



LOCATION: Orono, Maine

STADIUM: Alfond Stadium

HEAD COACH: Joe Harasymiak (10-11, two seasons)

2017 RECORDS: 4-6, 3-5 CAA (Tie/7th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (6 offense/8 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Chris Ferguson, QB, 
So.; Micah Wright, WR, Sr.; Earnest Edwards, WR, Jr.; Drew Belcher, TE, 
R-Sr.; Cody Levy, OL, Sr.; Chris Mulvey, OL, So.; Manny Patterson, CB, 
Jr.; Alejandro Oregon, DL, Jr.; Charles Mitchell, DL, Jr.; Kayon 
Whitaker, DL, Jr.; Jaron Grayer, LB, So.; Taji Lowe, LB, Jr.; Deshawn 
Stevens, LB, So.; Sterling Sheffield, LB, Sr.; Darrius Hart, S, R-Sr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Josh Mack, RB; Jamil Demby, OL; Isaiah Brooks, OL

OUTLOOK: The Black Bears tend to 
overachieve when counted out. They might need to do that this season 
after RB Mack, a first-team All-American, transferred out of the program
following his sophomore season. QB Ferguson is coming off a strong 
freshman campaign, but the Black Bears have four new starters on the 
offensive line. The veteran-laden defense, led by LB Sheffield, should 
carry the team early on this season. The Black Bears have created 
potential late-season opportunities under Harasymiak, but are only 1-5 
in November. Their schedule is treacherous in the first half of the 
season, but it doesn't include three of the top four teams in the CAA 
preseason poll - James Madison, Delaware and Stony Brook.



LOCATION: Williamsburg, Virginia

STADIUM: Zable Stadium

HEAD COACH: Jimmye Laycock (245-189-2, 38 seasons)

2017 RECORDS: 2-9, 0-8 CAA (11th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 11 (4 offense/7 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Shon Mitchell, QB, So.;
Brandon Battle, QB, Jr.; Nate Evans, RB, So.; Noah Giles, RB, So.; 
Albert Funderburke, RB, Jr.; DeVonte Dedmon, WR, Sr.; Jack Armstrong, 
WR, Sr.; Tyler Crist, FB, So.; Mark Williamson, LT, Jr.; Nick Wimmer, C,
Jr.; Bill Murray, DT, Jr.; Gavin Johnson, DE, Jr.; Arman Jones, LB, 
Jr.; Josh Dulaney, LB, Sr.; Nate Atkins, LB, Jr.; Isaiah Laster, S, Jr.;
Corey Parker, S, Jr.; Raeshawn Smith, CB, Sr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Chris Durant, LT; Connor Hilland, LG; Isaiah Stephens DT

OUTLOOK: Laycock's retirement at the
end of his 39th season should motivate the Tribe to get him to the 
250-win plateau, but it might be difficult considering they're coming 
off their worst season under him. A number of young players gained 
playing time last season, so the Tribe shouldn't stay down too long. 
Mitchell and Battle are competing for the starting quarterback position,
the running back unit is deep and the wide receivers welcome back 
standout Dedmon, who was injured last year. The defense features 
athletic players and Parker is among the conference's better 



LOCATION: Albany, New York

STADIUM: Bob Ford Field

HEAD COACH: Greg Gattuso (21-24, four seasons; 118-56 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 4-7, 2-6 CAA (Tie/10th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 12 (6 offense/6 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: Will Brunson, QB, 
R-Jr.; Neven Sussman, QB/P, Sr.; Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, RB, R-Jr.; Karl 
Mofor, RB, So.; Griffin Clancy, OL, R-Jr.; Micah Royster, OL, R-So.; 
Donovan McDonald, WR/PR, Jr.; Austin Ellis, WR, R-Jr.; Murad Hussain, 
TE, R-So.; Nick Dillon, DL, Sr.; Antoine White, DL, R-Sr.; Brian Dolce, 
DE, R-Sr.; Eli Mencer, LB, R-Jr.; Josh Wynn, S, Sr.; Mason Gray, S, Sr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Jerod Diggs, WR; Malachi Hoskins, DE: Nate Hatalsky, LB

OUTLOOK: Albany went 7-4 and was 
close to securing an FCS playoff berth in 2016, but wasn't nearly the 
same team last year while All-America RB Ibitokun-Hanks struggled to 
come back from a knee injury. His return to full health is paramount 
because the Great Danes ranked last in the conference in rushing without
him. QB Brunson showed promise as a sophomore, yet the Great Danes have
thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in each of the last three 
seasons. A solid defense has been a staple with the Great Danes. Last 
year, they ranked second in the CAA in yards allowed per game (282.5) 
and fourth in points allowed per game (17.7). LB Mencer is an emerging 
playmaker on this year's unit.



LOCATION: Kingston, Rhode Island

STADIUM: Meade Stadium

HEAD COACH: Jim Fleming (7-38, four seasons; 28-39 overall)

2017 RECORDS: 3-8, 2-6 CAA (Tie/10th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 16 (8 offense/8 defense)

KEY PLAYERS: JaJuan Lawson, QB, 
R-Sr.; Tyler Harris, QB, R-Jr.; Naim Jones, RB, Jr. (Nassau CC 
transfer); Aaron Parker, WR, Jr.; Marven Beauvais, WR, R-Sr.; Khayri 
Denny, WR, Sr.; Tyler Burke, TE, Sr.; Kadin Booker, OT, Gr. (Ball State 
transfer); Dwayne Scott, C, R-Jr.; Kyle Murphy, LG, Jr.; L.B. Mack III, 
DE, Jr.; Tez Wilson, DE, Sr.; Brandon Ginnetti, DT, Jr.; Justin Hogan, 
LB, Sr.; Isaiah Moak, LB, Jr. (Hudson Valley CC transfer); D.J. Stewart,
S, Sr.; Rashad Dickerson, CB, Jr.; Momodou Mbye, DB, R-Jr.

THREE KEY LOSSES: Harold Cooper, RB/KR; Jose Duncan, DE; Mike Ezirike, DT

OUTLOOK: URI's struggling program 
hasn't had a winning season since 2001, going a combined 13-66 (9-47 
CAA) in the last seven seasons. Fleming's fourth season was his best 
(plenty of competitive losses as well) and this season could surpass 
that one, although it will require a couple upsets in a tough schedule. 
Lawson, a dual-threat QB, will work behind an experienced offensive line
and with a deep wide receivers unit led by Parker (51 receptions, 823 
yards, 7 TDs). The big question offensively is whether the Rams can 
replace Cooper, their longtime all-purpose threat. On defense, the front
is strong with Ginnetti and Wilson.

Central York quarterback makes Division I commitment to Delaware

Matt Allibone, York Daily Record Updated 4:57 p.m. Aug. 15, 2018

Cade Pribula has made his mom very happy. That's because the Central York quarterback will be attending college only 90 minutes from home instead of five hours away. 

Pribula announced his verbal commitment to the University of Delaware on Thursday, choosing the Blue Hens over fellow Division I FCS programs Sacred Heart and Albany. Delaware first offered Pribula on July 30. 

"Their coach (Danny Rocco) is a really well-spoken guy and he's from Pennsylvania," Pribula said. "He's believed in me from the beginning. I just think it's the best fit for me."

The rising senior won't be able to officially sign with Delaware until Dec. 19 at the earliest. While he still has one more high school season to play, Pribula said he was content to commit now instead of letting the season play out. 

More: Here's when the 2018 York-Adams football season kicks off, and a look at the schedule

"I'm very confident in my decision and wanted to get it out of the way now," he said. "This way I can enjoy camp with all my teammates and focus on the season." 

Pribula first attended a football camp at Delaware three weeks ago and went back for a visit with his family the week after that. He said Rocco told him he's the only quarterback in the Class of 2019 that Delaware has offered a scholarship to. He plans to redshirt his first year of college. 
Central York quarterback Cade Pribula connects withBuy Photo

Central York quarterback Cade Pribula connects with Justin Krentz in the second half of a high school football game Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at Central York. Hempfield defeated Central York 24-21. (Photo: Chris Dunn, York Daily Record)

The Blue Hens are coming off a 7-4 season in their first year under Rocco, who has never had a losing season during a 12-year head coaching career that includes stops at Richmond and Liberty. Competing in the Colonial Athletic Association, Delaware has gone 28-29 over the last five seasons, but has historically been a Division I FCS powerhouse with its last national title coming in 2003. 

As of last season, the Blue Hens have six former players in the NFL, the most notable being longtime Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Former NFL quarterback and 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon also played for the Hens. 

"I really like where the program is headed and I think I can be a big part of it," Pribula said. 

Pribula was named a GameTimePa YAIAA first-team all-star last season after throwing for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 510 yards and nine touchdowns. As a sophomore, he threw for 2,043 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Panthers have gone 13-8 with him under center, making the District 3 Class 6A playoffs in 2016. 

At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Pribula is somewhat undersized by Division I quarterback standards. He said he studies the play of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (6-foot) and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (5-foot-11), who have become NFL superstars despite lacking typical quarterback height. 
Central York QB Cade Pribula is all smiles followingBuy Photo

Central York QB Cade Pribula is all smiles following one of his two touchdown runs during the Panthers' game against Northeastern High School on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. The Panthers of Central York dominated Northeastern during their 36-7 victory to bring Central's record to 2-2 and Northeastern to 3-1. (Photo: Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record)

As far as training, Pribula said he's been lifting weights twice a day since his basketball season ended early this spring. He credited Central York head coach Josh Oswalt for helping him grow as a player and supporting him throughout the recruitment process. 

"He's been great talking to college coaches and selling me as a person," Pribula said. "My dad and brother have worked with me on my passing the entire time." 

A former quarterback at Shippensburg High School and wide receiver at Shippensburg University, Tad Pribula encouraged his son to play behind center when he picked up football in the fourth grade. A younger Pribula brother, Beau, already stands 6-foot-2 as a freshman and will play wide receiver and safety for Central's varsity team this season. 

According to Cade, his younger brother will likely succeed him at quarterback after he graduates. 

"I'm used to competing against Beau in the backyard or in ping pong, so it's really fun to play with him for a change," Pribula said. "He's going to be a great player for this team and he's going to become a great quarterback." 

The Panthers are coming off a 6-4 season but missed the playoffs after back-to-back losses to Dallastown and York High to close the season. With nine returning starters, Central expects to be in the postseason mix this fall. 

"We're figuring to win the Division I title and then represent York very well in the District 3 playoffs," Pribula said. 

Nine of Blue Hens’ 11 Games Set For Broadcast
8/14/18 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – With the University of Delaware sitting among the top-20 in every major poll entering the 2018 season, expectations and anticipation are the highest they've been in some time in Blue Hen country. 

Blue Hens fans all over will be able to track their beloved team with nine of the 11 games this fall set to be broadcasted. 

As a conference, the CAA teamed with CBS Sports Digital for a "CAA Game of the Week" package. The games can be seen live for free on CollegeSportsLive.com. Fox will also be a broadcast partner and will cover the Blue Hens game against Towson on Oct. 27th.

Nationally, Delaware will be featured on the CAA Game of the Week three times with the opener against Rhode Island (Aug. 30), and road games at New Hampshire (Oct. 20) and Stony Brook (Nov. 10). In addition, the games against Lafayette (Sept. 8) and at reigning National Champion North Dakota State can be seen on the ESPN+ app.

Home games against Lafayette, Elon (Oct. 13) and Villanova (Nov. 17) will all be seen on regional partners, while the game against Richmond can be seen on NBC Sports Washington. 

Date Opponent Time Broadcast Partner
Aug. 30 vs. Rhode Island 7 p.m. CollegeSportsLive/CBS Digital
Sept. 8 vs. Lafayette 3:30 p.m. MASN/Watch ESPN
Sept. 22 at North Dakota St. 2 p.m. NBC ND/ESPN+
Oct. 6 at Richmond 3 p.m. NBC Sports Washington/Plus
Oct. 13 vs. Elon 3:30 p.m. NBC Sports Phil/SNY/WRDE
Oct. 20 at New Hampshire 3:30 p.m. CollegeSportsLive/CBS Digital
Oct. 27 vs. Towson 3:30 p.m FOX Sports Go/FOX College Sports
Nov. 10 at Stony Brook 1 p.m. CollegeSportsLive/CBS Digital
Nov. 17 vs. Villanova 12 p.m. NBC Sports Phil/SNY/WRDE

UD Stadium construction to restrict attendance at UD's GRADUATION commencement

Newark Post staff report Aug 12, 2018 

Attendance at next spring’s University of Delaware commencement will be limited due to construction.

Construction at Delaware Stadium will severely limit the number of guests who can attend the University of Delaware’s commencement next spring, UD officials announced last week.

Graduates, who will be required to register for graduation online, will receive one student ticket and three general admission tickets for guests. Tickets will be released mid-February.

The commencement has long been open to the public without tickets and last year drew more than 21,000 people.

However, the long-awaited $60 million stadium renovation will cause the home side of the stadium to be closed.

The project will include the demolition and reconstruction of the bleachers, construction of a stadium club and a new press box, and upgrades to restrooms and concession stands. UD will also build an athletic center and plaza in front of Delaware Stadium. The center will include space for academic support, a lounge for student-athletes and a 10,000-square-foot strength and conditioning space.

Officials said the June 1 commencement will be broadcast live online and at alternate viewing areas for people who do not have a ticket to access the ceremony.

Construction will also affect commencement parking, though those details have not yet been released by the university.

Individual college and department convocation ceremonies, to be held on May 31 and June 1, will not be affected. Further details for specific colleges will be released later.
The Barn Set to Be Unveiled This Season at Delaware Stadium
8/11/2018 - Bluehens.com 

NEWARK, Del. – University of Delaware students will be welcomed by a brand-new tailgate area at Delaware Stadium for all home football games this season.

In a joint initiative between the Athletics Department, the Division of Student Life and partners across the University of Delaware campus, The Barn, presented by Lyft and Klondike Kate's, will be unveiled this fall as part of an effort to create inescapable spirit across all of campus.

"We asked a variety of students what kind of space they would like to see on game day," said Interim Dean of Students Adam Cantley. "The Barn will be an exciting addition to the UD game day experience."

"Having this new tailgating experience will allow students to have the 'big school' game day feel while embracing what makes UD and the Newark community unique," added Madisyn Steinberg, a junior Honors Program student and member of the University of Delaware Marching Band. "The Barn will offer the opportunity for all students to feel at home on game day."

The Barn, whose name derives from the University's roots as an agricultural school and connection with the Blue Hen mascot, will open four hours prior to kickoff and will host plenty of concession options that students may use Flex dollars (as well as other payment options) to purchase, along with stages for live music and a bar area where beer will be available for purchase (cash and credit only) for those of legal drinking age (valid ID is required for wristband).

The Barn will be located northeast of Delaware Stadium in the area surrounding Bob Hannah Stadium.

New to the student experience this year will be an updated drop-off point for the game day shuttle, which will unload students at Sincock Lane and the baseball access road closest to The Barn. UD will also be providing a designated location for students to utilize rideshare services on game day. Rideshare service providers will pick up and drop off in The Nest parking lot, near the southeast entrance.

In addition, the student gate has changed so that it's convenient for students to access the entrance from The Barn and shuttle drop-off points. All students can enter from the southeast corner and must have their UD ID to be scanned at the entry. The Cockpit seating section remains free and is open to all UD students.

Blue Hen Fridays will also be back this year on campus, but even bigger and better than ever! Be sure to wear Blue and Gold every Friday this year!

For complete information on The Barn, visit the Cockpit webpage.

Injury in past, Blue Hen linebacker Bell eyes second shot at senior season
Aug 11th, 2018 · by Andy Walter of Delaware State News

NEWARK — Charles Bell has made thousands of tackles in his life.

But something about this one was different.

The Delaware linebacker thinks he must have twisted awkwardly somehow when he came up to make the stop in a game against James Madison last fall.

All Bell knows is that he immediately knew something was wrong.

“It’s hard to explain,” he said. “I really couldn’t catch my breath, which was the main thing. When I sat up, that’s when I felt this sharp pain all the way down my back.

“When I got off the field, that’s when it really kicked in. I kind of fell into the (trainer’s) table and I knew something wasn’t right.”

The diagnosis was pretty scary: Bell had fractured a vertebrae in his back. His senior season was over.

The silver lining, though, was that because the injury happened in the fourth game of the season, Bell was eligible to return this fall as a grad student.

Delaware linebacker Charles Bell is helped off the field after breaking his back in a game against James Madison. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Getting a second chance at his senior year, Bell said he’s never felt better.

“Honestly, I feel like I’m probably in the best shape of my life,” Bell said after the Blue Hens’ held a two-hour practice session on Saturday morning. “I feel good out there running around. I’m doing full contact and everything. My body feels good.

“It’s definitely weird just because I wasn’t planning on being here for five years,” he said. “I’m not glad I got hurt but it’s great to get another year, I get to play with some of my good friends. And I think we have a really good team this year. I think we’re going to go places.”

Without question, Bell’s return adds to Delaware’s experience on defense. This is his third season as a co-captain.

The 6-foot, 230-pounder is also just the fourth Blue Hen linebacker to earn all-conference honors three times in his career. He’s been in on 246 career tackles.

The 6-foot, 230-pound Charles Bell (5) is just the fourth Blue Hen linebacker to earn all-conference honors three times in his career. He’s been in on 246 career tackles.

But even though the prognosis was good for Bell after the injury, Delaware coach Danny Rocco didn’t take anything for granted.
Rocco remembers the first time he saw Bell at spring practice.

“I went up and gave him a big, old hug like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” said Rocco. “They kept saying he’ll be back, he’ll be OK, he’ll be back, he’ll be OK. But until you actually get out there …

“We had our first short-yardage scrimmage the other day and I was kind of like, ‘Oh boy.’ But he doesn’t look like he’s lost anything. In my mind I haven’t lessened his value in terms of what he’s capable of doing for us on the field.”

Off the field, Rocco says Bell is as valuable as any player Delaware has. The veteran’s return from a serious injury just shows how dedicated he is.

“His presence is extraordinary,” said Rocco. “When you talk about guys who are committed Delaware Blue Hens, he’s at the top of the list. This is an unselfish human being, tough-minded. He’s one of those guys who’s truly in it for all the right reasons.”

Kehoe in the QB picture

Pat Kehoe grew up the son of a high school coach.

Pat Kehoe

So he learned pretty early that football is about the team, not the individual.

“My dad always told me, if you want to think about yourself, go play golf, go swim or play tennis — do something like that,” joked Kehoe, a fourth-year junior quarterback at Delaware. “If you want to play football or basketball, you’ve got to be a team guy.”

While Kehoe has waited seemingly forever to contend for the Hens’ starting QB job, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder only gave a “quick thought” to transferring.

Now the lefthander looks like he’s got a shot at some legitimate playing time. Returning starter J.P. Caruso, who is coming off shoulder surgery, and Kehoe got most of the reps with Delaware’s first-team offense at practice on Saturday.

Boston College transfer Darius Wade is still working himself into the picture.

What Rocco likes is the overall depth at quarterback.

“J.P. certainly has got the experience and is playing well when healthy,” said Rocco. “So with J.P. kind of in and out of the lineup, Pat’s been the most consistent. Darius has shown a real good ceiling but he’s lacked some consistency. He’s probably the guy who’s least comfortable with the offense in this moment.”

Kehoe would like to think he hasn’t changed his approach this season. It’s still about the team, not him.

“I’m just trying to go out there and compete every day,” said Kehoe, whose twin brother, M.J., is a backup tight end for the Hens. “Anybody who plays a position wants to be on the field. But, at the end of the day, I want the team to win.

“If the coaches believe that J.P. gives the team the best shot to win games, I’m 100 percent behind him.”

Extra points

Central York (Pa.) High QB Cade Pribula announced this week that he has verbally committed to Delaware. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior also had offers from Albany and Sacred Heart. … Senior Cam Kitchen, one of Delaware’s few returning defensive linemen, saw some playing time on Saturday as he continues to recover from a foot injury. … Rocco is happy with what he’s seen from Cape Henlopen High grad Brandon Nixon, a third-year defensive lineman. “Brandon has made himself a viable option,” said Rocco. “He has shown durability and dependability. Those are things that get you in football games.”

From the Sidelines: Competition at camp laying foundation for special season
8/8/2018 - BLUEHENS.COM

"The best part about competition is that through it we discover what we are capable of and how much more we can actually do than we ever believed possible."

A visit to the University of Delaware football training camp this summer and it's quickly evident to all that the intensity level is several notches higher. 

Many of the Blue Hens and Coach Rocco have all talked about the unfinished business left on the table after last year's seven-win season, but the competition surrounding each and every drill is when the intensity truly is on display. 

"You can look at competition in two ways," red shirt senior QB J.P. Caruso said. "It can make you or it can break you. In order to be our best, we want to be competing every single time we touch the field and that's what is happening in this camp. We have high expectations and big goals and in order to achieve what we want to achieve, we have to push each other, each and every day."

Caruso is part of a much talked about battle at the quarterback position where he's been joined by Pat Kehoe, Boston College transfer Darius Wade and Nolan Henderson, who have all gotten solid reps in camp so far. 

"I spent a lot of time this offseason trying to understand what I can do better for this team to win," Caruso said. "As a player, it does no good to complain if you don't think you're getting enough reps or playing time. You have to spend the time pushing yourself and truly battling for every snap. This is bigger than each one of us at our spot, it's bigger than any position on the field, it's about this team. We want to win as a team and we'll do whatever it takes to win."

With over 100 student-athletes in camp, it's been a daily battle and nearly every position so far. 

"The daily competition is what makes football so great. It pushes us to performer at a higher level each and every day, to truly focuses on making every rep, every drill count. When we are pushing each other like that, special things can happen," senior defensive lineman Cam Kitchen said. 

With the competition and intensity at an all-time high, who knows what can happen this fall for the Blue Hens, who will enter the year ranked in the top-15 in the country for the first time 2012. 
CAA Football Tops FCS Conferences With Six Ranked Teams In STATS Top 25 Poll
8/6/2018 1:49:20 PM
Rob Washburn

RICHMOND, Va. (August 6, 2018) – CAA Football led all FCS conferences with six ranked teams as the 2018 STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 poll was released on Monday afternoon.

James Madison, which has advanced to the FCS National Championship game for the past two seasons, received six first-place votes and is ranked No. 2 to start the season. New Hampshire opens the year at No. 7 in the poll, followed by No. 12 Elon, No. 15 Delaware, No. 19 Villanova and No. 20 Stony Brook. Richmond was among other teams receiving votes.

JMU returns 12 starters from last year’s 14-1 squad that captured its third straight CAA Football crown with a perfect 8-0 mark. Offensively, the Dukes bring back their top three rushers and two of their three leading receivers. Five starters are back from a JMU defense that allowed only 11.1 points per game, which was the best in the nation. Preseason All-America cornerbacks Rashad Robinson and Jimmy Moreland anchor a secondary that recorded an FCS-best 31 interceptions in 2017.

New Hampshire has nine starters back on both offense and defense from last year’s 9-5 squad that earned a FCS playoff berth for a record 14th-straight season and advanced to the quarterfinals. Quarterback Trevor Knight guides the Wildcats’ offense after passing for 3,433 yards and 26 TD’s a year ago, and he welcomes back his top target, All-America receiver Neil O’Connor (97 rec., 1,396 yds, 10 TD’s). Linebacker Quinlen Dean made a team-high 124 tackles and spearheads the UNH defense.

Coming off its first FCS playoff berth since 2009, Elon has nine starters back on both offense and defense from an 8-4 team. Quarterback Davis Cheek threw for 2,431 yards and 15 TD’s in his rookie campaign and the Phoenix feature three backs who combined to rush for nearly 1,900 yards. All-America linebacker Warren Messer (114 tackles) and safety Tyler Campbell are Elon’s leaders defensively.

Delaware posted a 7-4 overall mark in 2017 and has eight starters returning on offense and seven on defense. All-America defensive back Nasir Adderley (78 tackles, 5 int.) and veteran linebackers Troy Reeder and Charles Bell anchor a defense that surrendered only 16.8 points per game last season. Leading rusher Kani Kane (594 yds, 7 TD’s) and top receiver Jamie Jarmon pace the UD offense.

Villanova is expected to bounce back after suffering through an injury-plagued season a year ago. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk, running back Aaron Forbes and tight end Ryan Bell are experienced playmakers offensively. The Wildcats’ nationally ranked defense returns seven starters, including All-America safety Rob Rolle and linebacker Jeff Steeb (90 tackles, 5 sacks).

Stony Brook advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2017 after tying a school record for overall wins (10-3) and posting a best-ever 7-1 mark in CAA play. Senior quarterback Joe Carbone passed for 2,470 yards and 23 TD’s last season and leads a group of six returning starters on offense. The Seawolves’ defense, which was among the best in FCS, features senior linebacker Shayne Lawless (93 tackles).

CAA Football’s six ranked teams was one better than the Missouri Valley Football Conference, which had five ranked squads, led by No. 1 North Dakota State. The Southland Conference was next with four ranked teams, followed by the Big Sky and Southern conferences with three apiece.

2018 STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 Poll

North Dakota State (151 first-place votes)
James Madison (6 first-place votes)
South Dakota State
Sam Houston State
Kennesaw State
Jacksonville State
New Hampshire
Weber State
Eastern Washington
North Carolina A&T
Central Arkansas
Stony Brook
Illinois State
Austin Peay
Youngtown State

RV: Richmond
Day 1 in the Books:

8/1/18 - Courtesy of the University of Delaware

All the off season drills. All the early morning lifts. All the extra work put in while everyone else was at the beach. It was all for this moment. The return of Blue Hen football.

The 2018 Delaware football season officially got underway on Wednesday afternoon with over 100 student-athletes taking to the practice fields.

"We're excited to get back out here. We've got a good group of seniors who are hungry from last season and have a little unfinished business," head coach Danny Rocco said. "They've been the ones driving us all off season and we've got good depth around them, which lends itself to a great environment for competition."

Reeder, Adderley Earn Preseason All-American Honors
8/1/2018 8:03:00 AM
Courtesy of bluehens.com

Story LinksNEWARK, Del. – If the old adage "defense wins championships" holds true, the University of Delaware football team is in good shape.

Two of the Blue Hens standouts and leaders on the defensive side of the ball were honored on Tuesday when Nasir AdderleyReeder, a two-time captain from Hockessin, Del., guided the middle of the UD defense at inside linebacker and led the team with 89 stops rank in the top-10 in the CAA. He recorded 10 or more tackles three times in 2017 and had a career-high 17 stops in a road win at Maine late in the season. He also had seven tackles for loss and was in on two sacks.

Adderley, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., led a defensive secondary that ranked among the best in the CAA, ranking No. 2 in the league in passing efficiency defense and No. 3 in pass defense.

He was the team's second leading tackler with 78 stops, including a team-high 42 solo tackles, and ranked No. 2 in the CAA with five interceptions. He had 10 or more tackles three times, including a career-high 14 vs. Maine. He also contributed four tackles for loss, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles, and was one of the team's mainstays on special teams.

Adderley is one of only two returning players in the country who had over 75 tackles and five INTs last fall.

The Blue Hens open training camp on Wednesday, August 1 at 2:15 p.m.
Long time Blue Hen Football Super Fan Passes Away:

Published in The News Journal on July 20, 2018 

Ronald Francis Basara Sr.

1945 - 2018 Obituary Condolences

Newark - Ronald Francis Basara, Sr., age 72, of Newark, DE passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

Born in Wilmington, DE, on August 6, 1945, he was the son of the late Stanley and Mary (Dudziec) Basara Jedrick. Ron was a graduate of St. Hedwig's Catholic School, Salesianum High School and the University of Delaware. He was a lifelong employee of the Bank of Delaware, subsequently PNC Bank. Ron was a retired Lt. Colonel of the United States Army Reserve, and a member of MOAA - Military Officer's Association of America.

Ron was known for his sense of humor, love of sports, horse racing, the outdoors, all things University of Delaware and his family.

Ron is survived by his loving wife, Pamela P. (Walsh) Basara; children, Ronald F. Basara, Jr. (Eve) of Belleair, FL, Melinda L. Lutton (Jon) of Catonsville, MD and Daniel S. Basara (Melinda) of Aberdeen, MD; and sisters, Patricia Leary (Brian) and Dorothy Ciszkowski, both of Wilmington.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 1 pm until 2 pm on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a Celebration of Life will begin at 2 pm. Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ron's memory to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Attn: Membership Department, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403.

To sign guest book, visit: spicermullikin.com

7/24/18 - BLUEHENS.COM

BALTIMORE, Md. – The official kickoff to the 2018 season brought high praise and high expectations for the University of Delaware football program. 

CAA Media Day brought together the league's coaches and student-athletes, along with media members from up and down the East Coast for the official kickoff of the 2018 campaign.

After seven wins last year and nearly making the playoffs, the Blue Hens received high praise in the preseason poll, being picked third behind only James Madison and New Hampshire. In addition, five student-athletes were honored on the Preseason All-CAA squad. 

Seniors Troy Reeder, Nasir Adderley, Charles Scarff, Mario Farinella and Kani Kane all received recognition on the preseason team. It was the second most representatives by any team in the league (outside of JMU's six) and the most since 2011 for Delaware.

Reeder is coming off a First Team All-CAA honor last season, in which he racked up 89 tackles (34 solo), seven tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks while playing nearly every snap on the defensive side of the ball for the Blue Hens. 

Not only did Adderley make highlight reel plays and end up on SportsCenter, but he also one of the only two returning defensive players in all of FCS who racked up over 75 tackles and at least five interceptions last season. 

Kane earned Third Team All-CAA accolades last season after rushing for nearly 600 yards on just 142 carries, while piling up seven touchdowns. Kane had two 100-yard performances and a three-TD day in the win against Cornell. 

Farinella is one of the senior leaders on the offensive line, a unit in which helped the Blue Hens rush for over 2,100 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. The Bloomfield, N.J. native has battled injuries over the past three seasons, but gained four starts and appeared in 15 games over that span. 

Scarff earned Second Team All-CAA honors last fall after catching the second most TD passes on the team (3) and started seven games for the Blue Hens at the tight end spot.

Print Friendly Version
Players Mentioned

#23 Nasir Adderley
6' 0"
190 lbs

#7 Kani Kane
6' 0"
240 lbs

#9 Troy Reeder
6' 2"
245 lbs
Redshirt Senior

#85 Charles Scarff
6' 5"
270 lbs
Redshirt Senior
Blue Hens Invaded the Delaware State Fair Today
Delaware Athletics 7/23/2018 

HARRINGTON, Del. – Blue Hen Pride will be on full display at the Delaware State Fair on Tuesday, July 24 as the University of Delaware Athletic Department will once again be on hand at one of the state's biggest and most popular events. 

Nearly 40 Blue Hen student-athletes and staff, including men's basketball head coach Martin Ingelsby, will hit the fairgrounds mid-afternoon on Tuesday to mingle amongst the fans and fair goers. The Blue Hens will sample a wide variety of the food choices, enjoy the rides and games, and check out the numerous animals on hand. 

In what's become a yearly tradition, the Blue Hens will end the day as guest in one of the fair's signature events, the Delaware State Fair Nightly Parade that winds through the fairgrounds beginning at 7 p.m.

Once again, Delaware Athletics will also have a strong presence at the fair's new Social Spot hub located at the Exhibit Hall. From 5-7 p.m., UD student-athletes and staff will interact with fans and provide ticket information to Blue Hens athletics events, giveaways, and chances to spin the prize wheel. A photo booth will also be on site to give fans the opportunity to have shots taken with their favorite UD student-athletes and share with their friends on social media.

The State Fair runs until Saturday, June 28 in Harrington.
Salesianum's Troy Reeder and Sussex Tech's Kani Kane both earned All-Conference honors.

WDEL Sean Greene Published Jul 24, 2018 

First State products LB Troy Reeder (Salesianum) and RB Kani Kane (Sussex Tech) earned two of Delaware's five spots on the Pre-Season All-Conference team. They're joined by TE Sharles Scarff, OL Mario Farinella, and Nasir Adderley.

Delaware is looking to build off of last year's 7-4 campaign that just missed the school's first FCS postseason bid since 2010. It was the first year under former University of Richmond Head Coach Danny Rocco.

The Blue Hens return several weapons from last year's 10th-ranked scoring defense, including Adderley, Reeder, and Charles Bell, who is expected to return from a broken vertebrate in his back. He will serve as a team captain this fall.

Reeder contributed 89 tackles a year ago, while Adderley picked off 5 passes to go with 78 tackles.

Kane finished with 7 touchdowns and 594 rushing yards last year, but figures to see competition from Kareem Williams (469 yards, one TD).
The CAA preseason poll has been released:

7/24/2018 by Rob Washburn - caafootball.com

(Selected by a vote of Head Coaches and Media Relations Directors)

James Madison (21 first-place votes) 241
New Hampshire (2 first-place votes) 206
Delaware 182
Stony Brook 169
Elon (1 first-place vote) 168
Villanova 164
Richmond 127
Maine 81
UAlbany 78
Towson 74
William & Mary 55
Rhode Island 39

BALTIMORE, Md. (July 24, 2018) – James Madison, which returns 12 starters from last season’s 14-1 team that reached the NCAA FCS National Championship game for the second consecutive year, was the overwhelming choice to capture the CAA Football title in 2018 according to a vote of the league’s head coaches and media relations directors. The announcement was made on Tuesday morning as the conference conducted its annual Media Day from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

New Hampshire, which is coming off its record 14th straight FCS playoff appearance, was picked second in the poll, while Delaware placed third. Fourth-place Stony Brook, fifth-place Elon and sixth-place Villanova were separated by just five points in the voting. Richmond was chosen seventh, followed by Maine, UAlbany, Towson, William & Mary and Rhode Island.

JMU captured its third straight CAA Football title in 2017, becoming the first school to achieve that feat since Boston University (1982-84) more than 30 years ago. The Dukes posted a perfect 8-0 mark in CAA play for the second consecutive season and enter the 2018 campaign having won a league-record 18 straight conference games. Offensively, JMU returns its top three rushers and two of its top three receivers from a unit that averaged a CAA-best 34.4 points per game. The Dukes led the nation in scoring defense (11.1 ppg) in 2017 and welcome back five starters from that unit. Senior All-American Rashad Robinson (7 int.) and senior Jimmy Moreland (8 int.) anchor a secondary that tied a CAA record and topped FCS with 31 interceptions a year ago.

New Hampshire welcomes back nine starters on both sides of the ball from last year’s 9-5 team that reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Senior quarterback Trevor Knight (291-471, 3,433 yds., 26 TD’s) is back to lead the offense and he returns his top two receiving targets in All-American Neil O’Connor (97 rec., 1,396 yds., 10 TD’s) and junior Malik Love (70 rec., 733 yds., 3 TD’s). Spearheading the Wildcats’ defense are linebackers Quinlen Dean (124 tackles, 11.5 TFL) and Jared Kuehl (65 tackles, 13 TFL) and defensive end Jae’Wuan Horton (9 sacks).

Delaware went 7-4 and posted its best conference mark (5-3) since 2011 in its first year under head coach Danny Rocco. Eight starters return on offense, including leading rusher Kani Kane (142 att., 594 yds., 7 TD’s) and top receiver Jamie Jarmon (29 rec., 327 yds., 6 TD’s). The Blue Hens ranked 10th nationally in scoring defense (16.8 ppg) last season and have seven starters back. Topping that group are defensive back Nasir Adderley (78 tackles, 5 int.) and linebackers Troy Reeder (89 tackles) and Charles Bell.

Stony Brook tied a school record for overall wins (10-3), posted its most CAA victories ever (7-1) and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2017. The Seawolves have 14 returning starters, including quarterback Joe Carbone (204-363, 2,470 yds., 23 TD’s) and linebacker Shayne Lawless (93 tackles, 13 TFL, 8 sacks).

Elon has nine starters back on offense and defense from last year’s 8-4 team that earned an FCS playoff berth for the first time since 2009 and won more CAA games (6-2) than in its first three years combined. The Phoenix offense returns quarterback Davis Cheek (190-323, 2,431 yds., 15 TD’s) and its top three rushers who combined for nearly 1,900 yards. All-America linebacker Warren Messer (114 tackles, 11 TFL, 5.5 sacks) anchors the defense.

CAA Football also announced its preseason all-conference team. JMU had a league-high six players honored, including Robinson as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year. New Hampshire’s Knight was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

(Selected by a vote of Head Coaches and Media Relations Directors)

Name, School Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Trevor Knight, New Hampshire Sr. QB 6-0 198 Amherst, N.H./Nashua South
Kani Kane, Delaware Sr. RB 6-0 240 Bridgeville, Del./Sussex Tech
Marcus Marshall, James Madison Sr. RB 5-10 207 Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook
Cal Daniels, Stony Brook Sr. FB 6-2 255 Bethel, Conn./Bethel
Dejon Brissett, Richmond Sr. WR 6-2 190 Mississauga, Ontario/Lake Forest Acad.
Neil O’Connor, New Hampshire Sr. WR 5-11 182 Leominster, Mass./Leominster
Aaron Parker, Rhode Island Jr. WR 6-3 191 Brandywine, Md./Gwynn Park
Charles Scarff, Delaware Sr. TE 6-5 270 Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic
Mario Farinella, Delaware Sr. OL 6-0 300 Bloomfield, N.J./Bergen Catholic
Ethan Greenidge, Villanova Sr. OL 6-4 335 Flanders, N.Y./Riverhead
Jahee Jackson, James Madison Jr. OL 6-3 292 Baltimore, Md./Gilman
CJ Toogood, Elon Sr. OL 6-2 293 Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs
John Yarbrough, Richmond Sr. OL 6-5 285 Homewood, Ala./Homewood

Name, School Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Darrious Carter, James Madison Sr. DL 6-5 235 Indiana, Pa./Indiana Senior
Andrew Clyde, Richmond Sr. DL 6-3 275 Dallas, Texas/Highland Park
Brandon Ginnetti, Rhode Island Jr. DL 6-3 275 East Haven, Conn./Cheshire Academy
Kayon Whitaker, Maine Jr. DL 6-3 235 Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate
Quinlen Dean, New Hampshire Jr. LB 6-0 227 Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt
Shayne Lawless, Stony Brook Sr. LB 6-1 225 Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown
Warren Messer, Elon Sr. LB 5-11 227 Garner, N.C./Garner
Troy Reeder, Delaware Sr. LB 6-2 245 Hockessin, Del/Salesianum
Nasir Adderley, Delaware Sr. S 6-0 190 Philadelphia, Pa./Great Valley
Rob Rolle, Villanova Sr. S 6-0 185 Newfield, N.J./Delsea
Jimmy Moreland, James Madison Sr. CB 5-11 172 Royal Palm Beach, Fla./Royal Palm Beach
Rashad Robinson, James Madison Sr. CB 5-11 182 Richmond, Va./Hermitage

Name, School Cl. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Earnest Edwards, Maine Jr. KR 5-10 175 Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute
Donovan McDonald, UAlbany Jr. PR 6-0 175 West Orange, N.J./Montclair
Griffin Trau, Richmond Sr. PK 5-8 170 Culver, Ind./Western Reserve Acad.
Harry O’Kelly, James Madison So. P 6-1 178 Wynnum, Queensland, Australia/Iona
Mozai Nelson, Maine Sr. SPEC 6-0 205 Uniondale, N.Y./St. Anthony’s

Blue Hens to get running back from Penn State

Jul 17th, 2018 · by Delaware State News 

The Delaware football program has picked up a running back transfer from Penn State.

According to several media reports, junior Andre Robinson has accepted a scholarship offer from the Blue Hens.

Robinson, who would be eligible right away with two seasons remaining, spent the last couple years behind former Nittany Lion star Saquon Barkley. The 5-foot-9, 223-pounder has appeared in 23 games for Penn State, running for 196 yards and six touchdowns on 38 carries.

Named the PIAA Class AAA Player of the Year by the Pennsylvania Football Writers Association with 2,338 yards (9.0 avg.) and 29 touchdowns for Bishop McDevitt (Pa.) High, Robinson ran for 5,657 yards (8.1 per carry) and 80 rushing touchdowns during his high school career.

He’d join two other former Nittany Lions who are Delaware starters – linebacker Troy Reeder and offensive lineman Noah Beh.

Delaware is expected to announce an upcoming two-game series with the Nittany Lions, whom the Blue Hens have never played, sometime this summer.

The 5-foot-9, 223-pound Robinson is from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and attended Bishop McDevitt High, where he gained 5,657 yards and ran for 80 touchdowns in his career.

At Penn State, he red-shirted in 2015 and carried the football 38 times for 196 yards (5.2-yard average) and six touchdowns the last two seasons. He also caught three passes for 47 yards with a 40-yard TD reception. Robinson announced last December he was transferring.

Recruiting classmate Saquon Barkley became Penn State’s go-to back, accounting for 5,557 all-purpose yards the last three years before being the second player chosen in the 2018 NFL draft by the New York Giants. Another back, Miles Sanders, also saw back-up duty, sometimes ahead of Robinson.

At Delaware, Robinson would join an experienced backfield that returns last season’s top ground-gainers Kani Kane (594 yards), Kareem Williams (469), Thomas Jefferson (212), who has been taking part in preseason activities after originally not planning to return, and Khory Spruill (183), plus Army transfer DeJoun Lee.

The Blue Hens open preseason camp Aug. 1 leading to the season opener Aug. 30 at home against Rhode Island.

Projected FCS Playoff Qualifiers for 2018

By Craig Haley, 6/26/18 athlonsports.com

Here is Athlon Sports' projected 2018 FCS playoff field (in alphabetical order):

Austin Peay (at-large bid)

The most improved team in the FCS last year still has the bad taste of a playoff snub from Selection Sunday.

Colgate (Patriot champ)

The Raiders have the most complete team in the Patriot League), but key November games against Fordham and Lehigh are on the road.

Delaware (at-large bid)

Head coach Danny Rocco has the Blue Hens back on track. A national runner-up finish in 2010 is their last playoff appearance.

Duquesne (Northeast champ)

A November meltdown (three season-ending losses) has the Dukes motivated in the always hotly contested NEC title race.

Eastern Washington (Big Sky champ)

With losses only to Texas Tech, FCS champ North Dakota State and Big Sky co-champs Southern Utah and Weber State, the Eagles were upset to be left out of the 2017 playoffs.

Elon (at-large bid)

All the young players have grown up, and the Phoenix already arrived a year ahead of schedule with a playoff appearance last season.

Illinois State (at-large bid)

The Redbirds may wind up lamenting a season-opening game against in-state NAIA member St. Xavier, which won't help their playoff resume.

Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley champ)

With 32 straight OVC wins, the Gamecocks haven't lost to a conference foe since Jimmy Garoppolo was slinging passes for Eastern Illinois in 2013.

James Madison (CAA champ)

Third-year head coach Mike Houston has yet to lose to a CAA opponent, including a pair of playoff wins en route to back-to-back national championship game appearances.

Kennesaw State (Big South champ)

The Owls' schedule is tougher with their first FBS opponent, Georgia State, and two playoff victims seeking revenge, Samford and Jacksonville State.

McNeese (at-large bid)

The Cowboys' nine wins were the most of any eligible team that was left out of the playoffs.

Montana (at-large bid)

Returning head coach Bobby Hauck was a perfect 7-for-7 with Big Sky titles and playoff appearances in his first stint from 2003-09.

New Hampshire (at-large bid)

Ho hum, head coach Sean McDonnell and the Wildcats are seeking a 15th straight playoff appearance.

Nicholls (at-large bid)

A September to remember or forget? The Colonels open against Kansas, Tulane, McNeese and Sam Houston State.

North Dakota State (Missouri Valley champ)

The Bison are tied with Georgia Southern for the most FCS national titles, and their six have come in the last seven years.

Northern Iowa (at-large bid)

Head coach Mark Farley has gotten to the playoffs 10 times in 17 seasons because he's recorded 53 wins after the start of November.

Samford (Southern champ)

Samford's lone SoCon title was a three-way share in 2013. The Bulldogs are playing a particularly strong road schedule.

Sam Houston State (Southland champ)

Only North Dakota State has more wins than the Bearkats (86) during this decade.

San Diego (Pioneer champ)

The only Pioneer Football League wins in the playoffs belong to the Toreros in each of the past two seasons.

South Dakota State (at-large bid)

The Jackrabbits are coming off their two deepest playoff runs (quarterfinals in 2016 and semifinals last season) in their FCS history.

Villanova (at-large bid)

Disregard last year's 5-6 record because the Wildcats were injury-riddled. They have top-10 potential in head coach Mark Ferrante's second season.

Weber State (at-large bid)

Coming off a program-record 11 wins, the Wildcats are plugging some big holes in their lineup.

Wofford (at-large bid)

First-time head coach Josh Conklin is replacing legendary Mike Ayers, who won 207 games over 30 seasons leading the Terriers.

Youngstown State (at-large bid)

Head coach Bo Pelini and the Penguins might have to get it done early. They face North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Illinois State in November.

New red-shirt rule will benefit Blue Hens, other college football teams

Kevin Tresolini, Delaware News Journal 
June 20, 2018

One snap will no longer constitute a full season for a college football player and University of Delaware football coach Danny Rocco is delighted.

Beginning this season, Division I players may appear in a maximum of four football games during any year, but it will not count against their four years of eligibility.

Such seasons, known as “red-shirt years” from the color of the jerseys once worn by such athletes, previously required a player to sit out all games.

Until last week, players had five years in which they could play four football seasons. Now, they can play four full seasons, plus four games of another, thanks to an NCAA ruling.

Rocco is on the board of the American Football Coaches Association, which had been pushing for such a change for more than 15 years.

“As coaches we all recognize this as a win-win,” said Rocco, whose Blue Hens commence preseason camp Aug. 1 for the Aug. 30 opener against visiting Rhode Island. “It is definitely best for the student-athlete on a number of different levels.”

That includes academically, Rocco believes, because players will now have a better chance to complete additional under-graduate or post-graduate degree work because they’re more likely to be around for five fall semesters.

On the football field, players — especially freshmen — will have the opportunity to play in situations in which they didn’t before.

Typically, freshmen practice regularly and are part of the team, adjusting to the higher level of college football while they learn and grow physically, but many don’t appear in games. They would then have four more years to play.

Now those freshmen can appear in four games, providing valuable experience for them and precious depth for the football team, especially late in the season when injuries tend to mount and attrition takes a toll.

But players don’t always red-shirt their freshman years. Sometimes, they do so later, especially when an injury is involved.

“No one wants to sit out a year,” Rocco said. “Sitting out is very difficult. It’s such a shock to be the high school star and then not even be able to enter a game.”

All long-time coaches have dealt with situations when a difficult decision had to be made about whether to continue red-shirting a player needed in an emergency situation. 

For Rocco, it happened in his final season as Richmond coach in 2016 when standout quarterback Kyle Lauletta tore his ACL in the final regular-season game against William & Mary and wouldn’t be available for the FCS playoffs. Sophomore Kevin Johnson, who was being red-shirted that year and hadn’t played a snap, then came on to spark the Spiders to a pair of victories before an NCAA quarterfinal loss at Eastern Washington.

Rocco had said after the William & Mary game he wouldn’t play Johnson. But the quarterback came to Rocco the next day and said “Hey coach, I want to play this week,” Rocco said. “This is too good of an opportunity for me not to take advantage of it.”

After more discussion, thought and time, the decision was made to play Johnson, which turned out to benefit the Spiders.

“If I’m gonna play a student-athlete, I want his play count to be 100 plays or more,” Rocco said of his typical approach to red-shirting players.

One example of how the new rule would have greatly benefitted a Delaware player came during the 2002 season, K.C. Keeler’s first as Blue Hens football coach. That year, Andy Hall played quarterback during the 12-game season’s first 11 games but was injured and unavailable for the season finale against Villanova.

Mike Connor, who had started the final four games as a true freshman the year before and was in the process of being red-shirted, was called on to start the Villanova game after not taking a game snap all year. It cost Connor the entire year of eligibility. He transferred after that season to Lehigh, having two years of eligibility left but never threw a pass in a game there.

Under the new rule, either one of those seasons could have been considered a red-shirt year and Connor would have had three years left to play after 2002.

“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being,” Division I Council chairman Blake James, the athletic director at Miami (Fla.), said in the NCAA’s announcement.

“Red-shirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries. Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

It could be especially valuable at the Football Championship Subdivision level, where teams award a maximum of 63 scholarships and then have a 24-team playoff, extending the season and testing teams’ reserves. At the Football Bowl Subdivision level, schools may dole out 85 scholarships and have fewer postseason games.

Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, had been mulling such a change to the red-shirt rule since he was coach at FCS Illinois State in 1999 and dwindling depth forced him to use a defensive lineman who hadn’t played all season in a playoff game.

The rule presently applies only to football, though the NCAA, in last week’s announcement, said the Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee will consider how a similar red-shirt program could be adapted to other sports.

“It creates more viable scenarios where you would be willing to and even strategizing to play some of your younger players,” Rocco said. “That, in and of itself, creates relief and depth.’’

Of the 75 players to see action last season for the 7-4 Blue Hens, 15 played in four games or less. Under the new rules, such a season could count as a red-shirt year, but previous rules only allowed that if an injury was involved. Last year, senior linebacker Charles Bell suffered a season-ending back injury in the fourth game against James Madison but he was permitted to return this season.

Rocco said a good example of a player who might have benefitted last year from the new rule, which is not retroactive, is defensive lineman Carter Lynch. As a true freshman, he didn’t appear in any games and was red-shirted but is now among Delaware’s key players in that position area.

If this rule was in place, he could have played in four games in 2017, gaining some experience while preserving the year of eligibility.

“I told our incoming freshmen, ‘You all have a chance to play,’ ” Rocco said, adding that he expects players to be more “engaged” as a result.

In a separate but equally impactful decision, the NCAA Division I Council also created a new transfer policy for all sports that is much fairer to student-athletes.

They no longer must receive a release from their school permitting them to leave. Under the new “notification-of-transfer” setup, student-athletes are free to shop for new destinations and their names appear in a database to which coaches at other schools have access.

In 2005, when Joe Flacco decided to transfer from Pitt to Delaware, then-Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt wouldn’t give him a release. Flacco, therefore, was ineligible to play for the Blue Hens that season. He started in 2006 and 2007 and has been the Baltimore Ravens starter ever since.

The new rule does still allow conferences to place constraints on transfers, such as those between league rivals as exists now.


Reeder, Adderley Earn Preseason All-American Honors
By Delaware Athletics
Jun 13, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – After both earning All-CAA First Team accolades last fall, it was clear that both Troy Reeder and Nasir Adderley had earned the respect of their conference peers.

Entering their final season the Blue Hens, the duo has the respect nationally as well with both earning Second Team Preseason All-American honors from HERO Sports.

Reeder, a two-time captain from Hockessin, Del., guided the middle of the UD defense at inside linebacker and led the team with 89 stops rank in the top-10 in the CAA. He recorded 10 or more tackles three times in 2017 and had a career-high 17 stops in a road win at Maine late in the season. He also had seven tackles for loss and was in on two sacks.

Adderley, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., led a defensive secondary that ranked among the best in the CAA, ranking No. 2 in the league in passing efficiency defense and No. 3 in pass defense.

He was the team’s second leading tackler with 78 stops, including a team-high 42 solo tackles, and ranked No. 2 in the CAA with five interceptions. He had 10 or more tackles three times, including a career-high 14 vs. Maine. He also contributed four tackles for loss, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles, and was one of the team’s mainstays on special teams.

Adderley is one of only two returning players in the country who had over 75 tackles and five INTs last fall.

The Blue Hens return to camp in early August to prep for the season-opener against Rhode Island, set for August 30 at Delaware Stadium.


Nation's-Best Six CAA Football Teams Ranked In Athlon Top 25 Poll

Rob Washburn RICHMOND, Va. (June 5, 2018)
Athlon Sports 

Preseason FCS Top 25 Poll

Delaware (7-4) starts the year at No. 13 in the preseason national rankings. The Blue Hens narrowly missed a berth in the playoffs a year ago and are looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Expectations are high for another outstanding season in CAA Football as the league led all FCS conferences with six teams ranked in the Athlon Sports Preseason Top 25 Poll, including five in the top 13.

Three-time defending CAA Football champion James Madison (14-1) headlines the group of CAA teams at No. 2. The Dukes, who are 28-2 over the past two years, trail only No. 1 North Dakota State, which edged JMU 17-13 in last year’s national championship game.


New Hampshire (9-5) is right behind JMU at No. 3 in the preseason poll. The Wildcats are looking to extend their record of 14 consecutive FCS playoff appearances after advancing to the quarterfinals a year ago.

Elon (8-4) is ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll. The Phoenix earned their first playoff appearance as a CAA Football member and first overall since 2009 after going 6-2 and placing third in the conference.

Villanova (5-6) opens the season at No. 11 in the Athlon poll. The Wildcats, who have made six FCS playoff appearances since 2008, are expected to bounce back after suffering a slew of injuries to key players in 2017.

Rounding out the CAA teams in the poll is Stony Brook at No. 25. The Seawolves (10-3) advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs last season in their first appearance since 2012. Stony Brook tied a program record for overall wins last year.

CAA Football has had four teams receive FCS playoff berths for the past four years. Trailing CAA Football’s six ranked teams in the preseason poll were the Missouri Valley Football Conference with five and the Big Sky and Southland Conferences with four apiece.

Athlon Sports FCS Preseason Top 25 Poll

North Dakota State
James Madison
New Hampshire
South Dakota State
Kennesaw State
Eastern Washington
Sam Houston State
Jacksonville State
Weber State
Illinois State
North Carolina A&T
Youngstown State
Austin Peay
Sacramento State
Central Arkansas
Stony Brook

Woodson Signs Free Agent Deal With San Francisco 49ers
By Delaware Athletics
May 14, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Add another one to the Blue Hen fraternity in the National Football League.

Blaine Woodson, a three-time All-CAA performer for the University of Delaware, inked a free agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers after participating at their rookie mini-camp last week.

Woodson is the second member of the 2017 squad to join the NFL ranks after defensive line mate Bilal Nichols was drafted by the Chicago Bears in last month’s NFL draft.

Woodson, a 6-2, 280 lb. native of Stroudsburg, Pa. (Stroudsburg HS), earned second team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2017 after ranking fifth on the team with 55 tackles while adding three sacks and an interception. He started each of his final 44 games at Delaware and finished his career with 14.5 sacks for 75 yards and 21.5 tackles for loss for 89 yards.

He also earned second team All-CAA honors and was named the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and was a second team All-CAA selection as a sophomore in 2015.

This marks the fourth time in the past five years that at least two Blue Hens earned NFL contracts.
Former Hen Nichols drafted by Bears
Apr 28th, 2018 · by Andy Walter Delaware State News

Delaware defensive lineman Bilal Nichols was the first Blue Hen drafted since 2015. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Well, it’s not like Bilal Nichols’ new coach will question the youngster’s alma mater.

When Nichols, the Delaware defensive tackle, heard his name called in the NFL Draft on Saturday, it was by the Chicago Bears — whose first-year head coach just happens to be former Blue Hen Matt Nagy.

Nagy and the Bears took Nichols in the fifth round, making him the 145th pick in the draft. Nagy was the one who called Nichols to tell him the news.

“It’s truly the best moment of my life, one of the most humbling moments in my life,” Nichols was quoted on the Bears’ website. “I’d like to personally thank Coach Nagy also for believing in me. It’s great, him coming from my school. We have a great relationship. I was extremely happy for him once he got his job in Chicago.”

A Hodgson Vo-Tech grad, Nichols was the second Delawarean taken in this year’s draft. On Friday, Salesianum School grad Brian O’Neill — an offensive lineman from Pitt — was drafted in the second round (No. 62 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings.

The 6-foot-4, 306-pound Nichols is only the third UD player drafted since 2008 and the first since tight end Nick Boyle went to the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. He’s also the first in-state Blue Hen player drafted since Dan Reeder in 1985.

Bilal Nichols

Raised by his grandparents in Newark, Nichols said this moment started seeming more possible to him as his college career went along. As a senior this past fall, he was a first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association pick and third-team FCS Division I All-American.

He got the chance to prove himself against higher-level competition at the East-West Shrine All-Star Game and then at the NFL Combine.

“The first time I stepped on campus, that was always a goal of mine,” Nichols said about being drafted. “I knew I had the opportunity to get there. Once my senior year came around, it really started to click. Once I got the chance to see scouts coming to practice and things like that, it really started to click for me.”

By the time this weekend rolled around, Nichols had a pretty good idea he would either be drafted of signed as a free agent.

He knows the thrill of being drafted only lasts so long. Now he’s got to prove himself in camp with the Bears.

“That’s the exciting thing, just knowing that I’m going to be able to compete in a camp and earn my spot on the team,” said Nichols. “I live for things like that. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

The 6-foot-7, 297-pound O’Neill is known for his athletic ability. He was a tight end at Sallies, where he was the state Players of the Year in boys’ basketball in 2015.

While he still needs to get bigger, most NFL experts think he’s got a big upside.

“Brian was probably the best athlete of all the offensive lineman in this draft,” Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson was quoted on the Vikings’ website. “You watch this guy get out and pull, it’s unbelievable how fast he moves and the ability to change directions.

“You watch him catch passes, you may have seen the clip. He’s running the ball,” Stephenson added. “You do see that athleticism. I think that helps at the second level.”(Wesley College’s Matt Gono wasn’t drafted on Saturday but the 6-foot-4, 306-pound offensive lineman signed a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons late Saturday.
Annual Blue-White Spring Game
By Delaware Athletics
Apr 21, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – The start of football season may be a few months away, but the excitement was palpable at Delaware Stadium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

The day began with a plethora of Blue Hens faithful, including newly signed Eagles linebacker and Delaware alum Paul Worrilow, flocked to the ninth annual Fandemonium presented by Louviers Federal Credit Union.

Bounce houses, petting zoo, a live DJ and plenty of other activities built excitement leading up to the first live look at the Blue Hens this spring.

Two sessions of 7-on-7 drills featured new QB and Delaware native Darius Wade, who went 8-for-10 in the drills, while Troy Reeder woke up the crowd early on with a pick-6 in the 7-on-7 sessions.

Joey Carter also had an interception during the sessions, while Jamil Gilmore led the way with four tackles.

In the full scrimmage series, Pat Kehoe had a strong day, finishing 8-for-12, along with his backfield mate on the day, DeJoun Lee, who went for 37 yards on seven attempts.

The second half of the full scrimmage sessions was highlighted by a drive in which Wade and Vinny Papale connected three times, including a great leaping catch for a 26-yard TD.

Defensively, Armen Ware had four tackles, including two sacks on the afternoon, while K.C. Hinton and Dominick Covatto had five tackles apiece.

Blue, the offensive side, won the contest 46-44 with a specialized scoring system.

During halftime of the event, Head Coach Danny Rocco named his three captains, seniors Joe Walker, Troy Reeder and Charles Bell. Other award winners included Reeder (defense most improved and weight room champion), M.J. Kehoe (weight room most improved) and Collin Wallish (offense most improved).

Spring Game Coaches' Show Returns Prior to Spring Game Radio Broadcast
By Delaware Athletics
Apr 11, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – For the first time in nearly a decade, the University of Delaware football team’s annual spring game will be heard live over the air waves!

94.7 WDSD-FM returns for its 20thseason of Blue Hen football, led by the “Voice of the Blue Hens” Scott Klatzkin, who returns for this seventh season, and will host not only the Spring Game broadcast on Saturday, April 21st, but also the Spring Game Coaches Show at Klondike Kate’s on Wednesday, April 18th.

The Coaches’ Show will be live from 7-8 pm featuring head coach Danny Rocco and other distinguished guests. The show will lead up to Saturday’s live game broadcast.

Saturday’s broadcast will begin live at 2:30 p.m. with a pre-game show from Fandemonium presented by Louviers Federal Credit Union and will continue with complete game coverage including play-by-play of the contest, interviews and post-game show.

Fandemonmium 6 presented by Louivers Federal Credit union will feature the Anchor Buick GMC Fan Zone, which will be open from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will feature FREE entertainment for all ages including pony rides, interactive inflatables, petting zoo, live music, games, food sampling, giveaways, laser tag, photo booth snapshots, face painting, balloon art and more. All of the fun in the Anchor Buick GMC Fan Zone is FREE for all fans! Food, drinks, and UDairy ice cream will also be available for purchase.

The game and coaches show can be heard live on 94.7 WDSD, WDSD.com and the iHeartRadio app.

In addition to Klatzkin, long time fixture around the Blue Hens, Bill Harman will join the radio team for the spring game and for the entire 2018 season. Harman has been the color analyst for the Delaware men’s basketball team for the past five seasons and has coached both football and basketball in the state of Delaware for the past four decades.

Harman replaces UD Hall of Famer Eddie Conti, who recently changed careers and has limited availability this fall.

“It was an honor being a part of the Blue Hens broadcast team last season. I truly enjoyed being a part of the amazing Delaware gameday atmosphere, once again, and appreciate the fans embracing me in my new role,” Conti said. “Unfortunately, my schedule will not allow me to continue on as color analyst, but I look forward to tuning in for what should be an exciting season for UD Football.”

Joining Klatzkin and Harman for the Spring Game and this fall will be Cory Nidoh, who returns to the sidelines for his second season with the Blue Hens.

Also on Saturday, April 21stwill be the annual Football Select-Your-Seat Event in Delaware Stadium will allow patrons to purchase 2018 Delaware Football season tickets. 

The Blue-White Spring Game at 3:30 p.m. will give fans the first chance to see the 2018 Delaware Football team in action!
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Blue Hen Brotherly Love: Quartet of Brothers Enjoy Being Teammates
By Delaware Athletics
Apr 10, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – Competitive spirit is usually starts at an early age and can often be traced back to sibling rivalries in the backyard.

For four sets of brothers, that competitive spirit continued as collegiate teammates at the University of Delaware.

“Growing up, you always end up competing in the backyard and as you get older, you talk about playing together, but to actually have this opportunity, it’s awesome,” MJ Kehoe (football) said.

The Kehoe brothers (Pat and MJ) are actually part of triplets, with their sister McKayla. They aren’t the only brothers on the Blue Hen football team, joining the star linebacker duo of Colby and Troy Reeder.

In addition to the football brothers, Will and Stephen Hirschmann lace it up for the men’s lacrosse team, while Luis and Asdrubal Marcano are part of Delaware’s men’s tennis team.

“For us, it’s really unique because we’re able to play together and talk different languages and no one knows what we’re talking about besides us,” Luis Marcano said.

Becoming a Division I athlete is rarified air. In most sports, less than three percent of high school athletes become an athlete at the Division I level. The impact of being able to achieve that feat with your sibling is not lost on these Blue Hens.

“I was a part of his recruiting process because I knew how special it would be to play with my brother in college, it’s not an opportunity that many people get, so to have the chance to play with him for two years and have our parents see us on the same team, it means a lot,” Will Hirschmann said.

And for the Reeders brothers, playing together at their dad’s alma mater is even more unique.

“We grew up coming to games here and watching all the great players. We used to go home and reenact guys like [Joe] Flacco, Omar Cuff and Paul Worrilow,” Colby Reeder said. “To do that alongside each other, it’s pretty awesome.”

Report: LB Worrilow, UD and Concord alum, to sign with Eagles

24/7 News Source 
Published Apr 3, 2018 

Worrilow is expected to provide depth to the Eagles' defense and special teams.

The 27-year-old was a part-time starter in his lone season with the Detroit Lions last season. He finished with 30 tackles and one fumble recovery in 13 games.

Worrilow has recorded 416 tackles and four sacks in 72 career games with the Atlanta Falcons and Lions. He also collected three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

The 6' 1", 232 lb. Worrilow was originally signed as a college free agent by the Falcons following the 2013 NFL Draft out of Delaware. Report: LB Worrilow, UD and Concord alum, to sign with Eagles


Spring Game and Fandemonium IX on Saturday, April 21

Courtesy of UD

There will be plenty for you to enjoy on Saturday, April 21 at Blue Hens Fandemonium IX presented by Louviers Federal Credit Union at the UD Athletics Complex. The day will be filled with family fun and Blue Hens competition!

The Anchor Buick GMC Fan Zone will be open from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will feature FREE entertainment for all ages including pony rides, interactive inflatables, music, games, food sampling, giveaways, laser tag, photo booth snapshots, face painting, and more. All of the fun in the Anchor Buick GMC Fan Zone is FREE for all fans! Food, drinks, and UDairy ice cream will also be available for purchase.

At the same time, the annual Football Select-Your-Seat Event in Delaware Stadium will allow patrons to purchase 2018 Delaware Football season tickets. The Blue-White Spring Game at 3:30 p.m. will give fans the first chance to see the 2018 Delaware Football team in action!

You can also root on Blue Hens Softball as they take on College of Charleston at 12:00 p.m. and Delaware Baseball as they take on James Madison at 1:00 p.m. Admission and parking for all events are free.

12:00 p.m. Softball vs. College of Charleston
1:00 p.m. Baseball vs. James Madison
1:30 p.m. Fan Zone Opens
Select-Your-Seat Event Begins
3:30 p.m. Football Blue-White Spring Game Kicks-Off
4:30 p.m. Fan Zone Closes


Reeder, Blue Hens Fueled By Unfinished Business
By Delaware Athletics
Mar 21, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – It may sound cliché, but there’s a fire that is burning inside the University of Delaware football spring practices.

A heightened level of intensity and tenacity. A raised level of enthusiasm when it comes to routine drills. Where is this coming from?

“I’ve never seen the intensity and competitiveness so high with any team I’ve ever been around,” senior Troy Reeder said. “We know that we left some unfinished business out there. We know that we left things on the table. There’s a fuel that is burning inside all of us from last year.”

Reeder and the Blue Hens piled up seven wins last fall, the most by Delaware since 2013. However, they all know how close they came to the program’s first FCS postseason berth since 2010.

“We had plenty of opportunities to seize last year, but ultimately, we left it up to others because we weren’t able to get the job done completely. This year, we are focused on tightening up the details and making sure that we are ready to take advantage of everything that is put in front of us,” Reeder said.

This spring also brings with it the second season under Coach Rocco and his staff, which allows everyone, student-athletes and coaches alike to fine tune their craft.

“Last year, we spent a lot of time learning each other. Not only the playbooks and systems, but also how they wanted things done and them learning our strengths,” Reeder said. “This year has been so great because we know each other now. Now it’s about fine tuning all those details and making sure we get better every time we step on the field.”

Reeder and the Blue Hens step back on the practice field on Thursday, March 22 at 2:45 p.m.


Pro Day Brings Pursuit of NFL Dreams To Reality For Blue Hens
By Delaware Athletics
Mar 20, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – There were backyard games against the neighborhood kids, pop warner games, high school games and outstanding careers as Blue Hens.

All of that led up to Monday afternoon’s NFL Pro Day at the University of Delaware for nine former Blue Hens. The list of former Blue Hens included Anthony Jackson, Grant Roberts, Blaine Woodson, Diante Cherry, Brandon Whaley, Bilal Nichols, John Nassib, Simba Gwashavanhu and Eric Patton.

Descending upon Delaware Field House were approximately 23 scouts, including at least one NFL General Manager, from 20 different pro organizations to get measurements and conduct tests in the vertical jump, bench press, broad jump, three cone drill and shuttle drills, along with on-the-field drills with each position group.

“I’ve been extremely blessed to have incredible coaches and teammates throughout my career and they all helped us get to this day,” Nichols said. “To be able to showcase my abilities and skills in front of so many NFL organizations, it’s an honor for me just to have that opportunity.”

This year’s NFL Draft is set for April 26-28.

“I’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, it’s a day we’ve all dreamt about,” Woodson added. “Now it’s just time to hope that someone gives us a shot.”


Flacco Invests in UD Athletics
Date: Mar 14, 2018 
Courtesey of Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware 

We are excited to share with you that one of the most successful student-athletes in University of Delaware history, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, and his wife, Dana, have made a significant gift to the future of UD Athletics. As part of Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, the Flacco family's gift will directly support UD Athletics’ Building Our Home initiative, including the construction of the Whitney Athletic Center and the renovation of Delaware Stadium.

“Football and family,” Joe says, when asked what matters most in his life. In fact, it was the Flaccos’ four children that inspired the couple to give back to Joe’s alma mater. “We are at a point in our lives where we are raising our kids and thinking about their education. It has allowed me to think about how important UD was for me in my development. I am thrilled to be a part of making the University even better for future generations,” said Flacco, Class of 2008.

With this significant investment into the Delaware Athletics facility campaign, over $52 million has been committed towards the $60 million goal. With $7.8 million remaining to raise before construction begins, UD Athletics is relying on its dedicated supporters to reach its goal of shovels in the ground after the 2018 football season.


Homecoming and Parents Weekend Dates Set for 2018
By Delaware Athletics
Mar 12, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – Football Saturdays in Newark build memories for a lifetime.

More memories are set to be created this upcoming fall when the University of Delaware hosts their annual Homecoming and Parents/Family Weekend.

Those dates have been solidified for 2018 with Parents/Family Weekend set for the Oct. 13th football game against Elon and Homecoming slated for Oct. 27th against Towson.

For the second straight year, Delaware Athletics will host its Celebration of Champions recognition during Homecoming Weekend. The recognition honors NCAA and conference championship teams that are celebrating their 10, 20, 25, 30, 40 and 50-year anniversaries. Student-athlete alumni that were part of these teams will participate in an on-field ceremony at Delaware Stadium prior to kickoff.

This year, Delaware athletics will honor the following championship teams:

50 years – 1968 Football, 1969 Men’s Golf

40 years - 1979 Men’s Track, 1979 Baseball

30 years – 1988 Field Hockey, 1988 Football, 1989 Women’s Swimming, 1989 Men’s Swimming, 1989 Women’s Basketball, 1989 Women’s Tennis, 1989 Baseball, 1989 Men’s Golf

25 years – 1994 Men’s Track & Field

20 years – 1999 Baseball, 1999 Men’s Lacrosse, 1999 Men’s Basketball, 1999 Men’s Indoor Track & Field

10 years – 2008 Volleyball

Season tickets are on sale now. Renewing season ticket members can click here to access the season ticket renewal application. Fans interested in becoming a new season ticket member can do so for as low as $89 (less than $15 per game) and payments can be split into four equal monthly payments using the Payment Plan option.

Fans who purchase new season tickets now will have priority to select new seats during the seating assignment process that will begin on April 17th. More information can be found in the 2018 Season Ticket Guide.

To become a new season ticket holder, please click here or call The Delaware Ticket Office at (302) 831-2257. Fans can also request to be contacted by a Ticket Office representative by clicking here.

Full game times and additional game information will be provided at a later date.


Rocco Finalizes Coaching Staff For 2018
By Delaware Athletics
Mar 1, 2018

NEWARK, Del. – With spring football right around the corner, University of Delaware football head coach Danny Rocco has finalized his coaching staff for the upcoming season.

Joining Rocco’s staff will be a familiar face to Blue Hens fans as Nick Rapone will take over the cornerback coaching duties, along with Kevin Reihner (Offensive Assistant/Tight Ends Coach) and Greg Meyer (Recruiting Assistant/Offensive Quality Control).

Recent alum Jalen Kindle will join the coaching staff as the Defensive Assistant and work with the linebackers, while Manny Rojas and Clint Sintim, will serve as Co-Special Teams Coordinators, along with their coaching duties with the inside and outside linebackers.

“I’m really excited to complete our staff as we head into our second season here at Delaware. We’ve really been able to round out our staff with extremely knowledgeable and experienced coaches and it puts us in a good position headed into spring ball in a few weeks,” Rocco said.

Rapone returns to Delaware after spending five seasons working with the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs. He coached five Pro-Bowl selections and two All-Pro selections during his time in Phoenix. This is Rapone’s second stint with the Blue Hens, after he served as the defensive coordinator from 2006-12, where he was a part of two National Championship game appearances (2007, 2010). He also had stints on the defensive staffs at Temple, UConn, Pittsburgh and ETSU.

“A lot of our fans and supporters are familiar with Nick as he spent numerous years here with a lot of success working with K.C. [Keeler]. I’ve known him for quite some time and was certainly excited to here about his interest in the job and the knowledge and experience he will bring to our staff,” Rocco said.

Reihner joins the staff after spending last year as an offensive assistant at Wake Forest and the 2016-17 campaign as the Offensive Quality Control Specialist at Fordham. He played collegiately at Stanford University and Penn State, where he was a member of the offensive line and a part of three consecutive BCS bowl games.

Meyer is a familiar face to Offensive Coordinator Matt Simon and new QBs Coach Alex Wood, having worked alongside both of them at the University of Buffalo. Meyer spent the past five seasons with the Bulls, where he was served on the offensive staff in various capacities, including player development, wide receivers and offensive quality control. Prior to coaching at Buffalo, Meyer worked with the wide receivers and DBs and Lycoming College. Meyer’s collegiate playing career was also at Buffalo, where he was a three-time All-Conference selection.

Kindle remains in Newark and transitions into the coaching role, after playing the past five years with the linebacking core. He was a four-time CAA All-Academic Conference honoree and this past year was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy Award, the academic Heisman for FCS and FBS programs.

The Blue Hens take to the field for the first time this spring on Tuesday, March 13. A full practice schedule can be found at BlueHens.com.