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Blue Hens Earn Best Recruiting Class Rank In Program History

2/10/2020 Blehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – With 17 starters returning next season, the University of Delaware football program was already built for a bright future. That future got even brighter with 15 incoming recruits in the Class of 2020. 

How bright exactly? 

According to HERO Sports, the nation's top recruiting site for FCS programs, it's the best in program history with the Blue Hens ranked third in the country among all incoming classes. 

Three incoming recruits, Fintan Brose (#15), R.J. McNamara (#65) and Marcus Yarns (#83) all ranked among the Top-100 incoming recruits by HERO Sports. 

"I'm really excited about this group of student-athletes that signed with us. This is an extremely talented group that not only has had success on the football field, but off the field as well," head coach Danny Rocco said. "It's a group that is filled with student-athletes that will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact on our program and I'm excited for their future with us here at Delaware."

This year's class is the second straight ranked in the top-10 nationally after last year's class was ranked ninth in the country. 

Delaware will open its spring football camp next month with a full spring schedule becoming available in the next two weeks. 

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Former Players Veach and Bleymaier Headed to Super Bowl:
1/19/2020 - bluehens.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Over the years, the University of Delaware football program has built a pathway to the NFL.

From Scott Brunner to Rich Gannon to Joe Flacco to Nick Boyle to Bilal Nichols, the list goes on and on. That list is not limited to on the field and this weekend, two former Blue Hen standouts shining off the field punched their tickets to Super Bowl 54 in Miami on Feb. 2nd.

Brett Veach, Class of 2001, and Joey Bleymaier, Class of 2005, are both members of the Kansas City Chiefs staff with Veach serving in his fourth season as the organization's general manager, while Bleymaier is in his fifth year on the coaching staff. 

The Chiefs went 12-4 in the regular season and will face the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers for the Lombardi Trophy. 

While at UD, Veach led the Blue Hens to a four-year mark of 30-16 that included three winning seasons and a 12-2 mark in 2000 when Delaware advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) national semifinals. Veach earned third team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors in 2000 as a junior wide receiver and is one of only seven football student-athletes in UD history to earn CoSIDA Academic All-American honors. He earned CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic honors three times.

During his four-year career, Veach caught 99 passes for 1,470 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaged 22.2 yards on 70 career kick returns. He ranks No. 12 all-time at Delaware with 3,382 career all-purpose yards.

Bleymaier, who serves as a offensive quality control and passing game coordinator for one of the most prolific offensive units in the NFL, was a four-year wide out for the Blue Hens, including being a member of the 2003 National Championship team. 
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Bright Future An in-depth look at what Delaware football returns for 2020:

By Andy Lohman - Posted 1/12/2020 - from bluehens.com

A little over one month removed from the 2019 Delaware football season, it is clear the year wasn’t what anyone expected or hoped for. A year after returning to the FCS Playoffs for the first time since 2010, the Blue Hens went 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association, finishing in the bottom half of the conference.

But while everybody associated with Delaware football has higher hopes and expectations for the team, there are a lot of reasons for Blue Hens fans to be optimistic moving forward. An analysis of the roster shows a young, inexperienced team that earned valuable playing time throughout the season.

The 2018 iteration of the Blue Hens was stacked with 32 seniors, several of whom are now playing in the NFL. Naturally, Delaware had a lot to replace for 2019. The entire starting defensive secondary and linebacking corps, plus every starting wide receiver was different from the previous year, mostly with players who had played minimal snaps to that point in their career. Now, the opposite is true for the 2020 roster.

Here's a look at the sheer volume of production Delaware brings back for next season:

https://spark.adobe.com/page/0Z6QcxBIUVR2B/

 

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Blue Hens Welcome 11 In Early Signing Period

12/18/2019 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – Success is built upon the people involved in the process.

That group of people for the University of Delaware football program continues to grow as the Blue Hens welcomed 11 new signees on the first day of early signing period. 

The Blue Hens swept through Pennsylvania with six incoming recruits, along with three from Maryland and one each from Delaware and Virginia. 

"I'm really excited about this group of student-athletes that signed with us today. This is an extremely talented group that not only has had success on the football field, but off the field as well," head coach Danny Rocco said. "It's a group that is filled with student-athletes that will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact on our program and I'm excited for their future with us here at Delaware."

Here's a look at the incoming class.

Name Position Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Deven Bollinger QB 6-5 212 New Tripoli, Pa./Northwestern Lehigh
Fintan Brose DL 6-2 290 Irwin, Pa./Hempfield Area
Jack Hall DL 6-2 280 Midlothian, Va./Benedictine Prep
RJ Macnamara LB 6-2 222 Lansdale, Pa./North Penn
Andrew Miklos TE 6-4 235 Manheim, Pa./Lancaster Catholic
Micah Pr'out DB 6-0 160 Waldorf, Md./North Point
Patrick Shupp OL 6-3 325 Easton, Pa./Easton
Dillon Trainer LB 6-1 225 Philadelphia, Pa./LaSalle College High School
Nic Ware DB 6-0 190 Montgomery Village, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel
Debo Williams LB 6-0 220 Smyrna, Del./Smyrna
Marcus Yarns RB 5-11 185 Salisbury, Md./Parkside

Deven Bollinger (QB, 6-5, 212, New Tripoli, Pa./Northwestern Lehigh)

Two-sport standout at Northwestern Lehigh 
Two-year captain of both basketball and football teams
Four-time All-League honoree
Two All-State accolades
Passed for 7,324 yards, 90 TDs, while also rushing for over 2,000 yards and 22 TDs
Helped his team to 19 wins over final two seasons, including the league title this past fall


Fintan Brose (DL, 6-2, 290, Irwin, Pa./Hempfield Area)

Four-sport athlete in high school competing in football, basketball, baseball and track & field
Two-time All-Conference honoree on the defensive line
Had over 25 Division I offers


Jack Hall (DL, 6-2, 280, Midlothian, Va./Benedictine Prep)

Four-year starter at Bendictine Prep
Two-time team captain
Helped team to three state championships appearances including winning the title this fall
Earned First-Team All-State accolades as a junior when he piled up 75 tackles and 15 sacks
Also played baseball for the Cadets


RJ Macnamara (LB, 6-2, 222, Lansdale, Pa./North Penn)

Three-sport athlete in high school (football, lacrosse, wrestling)
Captain of both lacrosse and football during senior season
Two-time First Team All-League and All-Area
Chose Delaware among 18 Division I offers
Former teammates with current Blue Hen Justis Henley


Andrew Miklos (TE, 6-4, 235, Manheim, Pa./Lancaster Catholic)

Big body tight end who starred in both basketball and football
Two-year captain of the football team
Four-time All-Conference honoree
Piled up 113 catches, 1,405 yards and 19 TDs during his four seasons
Helped his team to three section championships, including back-to-back during his junior and senior seasons


Micah Pr'out (DB, 6-0, 160, Waldorf, Md./North Point)

Athletic DB who played both football and basketball in high school
Three-year starter at DB for North Point 
Helped team pile up over 30 wins during his career
Two-time All-Conference honoree
Tallied 67 tackles, four INTs and 14 PBUs


Patrick Shupp (OL, 6-3, 325, Easton, Pa./Easton)

Big body addition to the offensive line
Two-sport athlete at Easton, playing both football and lacrosse
Served as team captain during senior season
Three-year starter on the OL at Easton
Two-time All-Conference honoree
Chose Delaware among 12 Division I offers


Dillon Trainer (LB, 6-1, 225, Philadelphia, Pa./ LaSalle College High School)

Three-sport athlete at LaSalle College High School
Three-time All-Conference honoree in football
Two-time All-Conference honoree in wrestling
Brother of Liam Trainer, rising sophomore LB on the Blue Hens


Nic Ware (DB, 6-0, 190, Montgomery Village, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel)

Two-year starter, serving as captain his senior season
Helped his team to 2019 WCAC Championship
Earned two All-Conference honors
Piled up nearly 90 tackles, along with five INTs and over 20 PBUs during his career


Debo Williams (LB, 6-0, 220, Smyrna, Del./Smyrna)

Four-year starter for Smyrna High School
Two-time team captain for the Eagles
Part of two state championships
2019 DIAA Defensive Player of the Year
Set school record with 153 tackles, 32 of which were TFLs, in addition to eight sacks
Racked up nearly 500 career tackles in four seasons
Three-time All-State honoree

Marcus Yarns (RB, 5-11, 185, Salisbury, Md./Parkside)

Three-sport athlete at Parkside, playing football, basketball and lacrosse
Two-way standout, playing both DB and RB
Two-year captain for both football and basketball teams
Two-time All-Conference honoree
Helped Parkside return to state playoffs for first time in 10 years during junior season
Racked up over 2,500 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns 

Players Mentioned:

#21 Justis Henley
DB
5' 11"
175 lbs
Sophomore

#11 Liam Trainer
LB
6' 2"
235 lbs
Redshirt Freshman

Fintan Brose
DL
6' 2"
290 lbs
Freshman

Patrick Shupp
OL
6' 3"
325 lbs
Freshman

Andrew Miklos
TE
6' 4"
235 lbs
Freshman

Deven Bollinger
QB
6' 5"
212 lbs
Freshman

Micah Pr'out
DB
6' 0"
160 lbs
Freshman

Nic Ware
DB
6' 0"
190 lbs
Freshman

RJ Macnamara
LB
6' 2"
222 lbs
Freshman

Dillon Trainer
LB
6' 1"
225 lbs
Freshman

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Former Blue Hen Nick Boyle Enjoying Career Year With Baltimore Ravens

Bluehens.com 12/4/2019 by Andy Lohman

It was a long time coming, and it couldn't have come at a bigger moment.

Holding a slim lead against the undefeated reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the fourth quarter at home on Sunday Night Football, the Baltimore Ravens lined up on the doorstep of the end zone.

Nick Boyle, an All-American tight end for the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens from 2011-14 and a fifth-round draft pick by the Ravens in 2015, took off to his left as the ball was snapped. As the Patriots secondary sorted out its coverage, Boyle broke across the goal line, eluding safety Devin McCourty. Lamar Jackson's pass hit Boyle in the hands, and the Wantage, N.J., native dove into the end zone: his first career NFL touchdown.

Boyle, in his fifth professional season, was immediately mobbed by his teammates.

"The coolest part I tell everybody was my teammates, how much they celebrated with me," Boyle said in the Ravens' locker room after yet another impressive and emphatic win, this time over the Houston Texans. "I couldn't really move. That was just cool to see the joy in their faces for me. I think that means a lot and it speaks a lot for this team with the relationships here."

Nick Boyle Ravens Celebration

It was a massive touchdown for the Ravens, cementing both the win over the Patriots, and themselves as Super Bowl contenders. But it was also a massive score for Boyle, who after years of being renowned for his elite blocking, is having a career year in terms of receiving. Through 12 games, Boyle already has a career-high 281 yards this season and with four games left, is just three catches away from tying his career high for receptions.

That's not to say Boyle has fallen off as a blocker, either. His protection, especially in the run game is still among the best in the league and has earned him more offensive snaps than any Raven outside of the offensive line and Lamar Jackson.

"Nick Boyle is probably one of the best all-around tight ends in the league right now," Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said. "The tight ends in the league that are the so-called 'great pass catchers' or the 'vertical threats,' they're not blocking like Nick Boyle. I promise you."

That blocking is a key part of why the Ravens have the top-ranked rushing attack in the NFL, averaging nearly 60 more yards per game than any other team.

Boyle is just one weapon that Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman has at his disposal in one of the most unique and dynamic offenses in the league. Along with Jackson, a bona fide MVP candidate at quarterback, Boyle leads a trio of tight ends that includes Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews that is among the most productive in the NFL.

Nick Boyle Ravens Fans

"This year has been awesome, it's been flying by because we're doing well," Boyle said. "Every day I come to work, man I got awesome teammates. I think that's something really cool about this team, and unique, is the relationships we have here. Especially the tight end group. It makes it so much more fun."

Part of that group is fellow Blue Hen Charles Scarff, who has spent his rookie season on the Baltimore practice squad after grabbing seven touchdowns as a senior for Delaware in 2018.

"He's been awesome so far, a good add. He's a really good football player and he's a good person," Boyle said of Scarff. "We always talk about Delaware, we're always joking around, he's always going back."

For Boyle, the four years he spent at Delaware had a lasting impact, especially in his journey to professional football.

Nick Boyle Colgate

"Gamedays at Delaware, Tubby Raymond Field. That's a special place," Boyle said of what sticks out to him from his college career. "Delaware was everything to me. From the relationships I have there with all the coaches that have coached me, all the staff that work around the football team, even the professors, and lifelong friendships that I've had there. The work ethic, to go out there and prepare and make sure you're ready for game day. It was awesome, I love Delaware so much."

That work ethic is possibly the most crucial difference for a player from an FCS program to evolve into a regular NFL starter.

"I think you always need to work hard to get here [to the NFL]. Especially for me, I'm not the fastest dude," Boyle laughs.

That hard work has paid off because as the Ravens have established themselves as Super Bowl favorites this year, Boyle has established himself as one of the most complete tight ends in the NFL.
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Seven Blue Hens Earn All-CAA Accolades
11/26/2019 - BLUEHENS.COM

NEWARK, Del. – For the 11th straight year, the University of Delaware football program placed at least seven members on Colonial Athletic Association all-conference squads, which were announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Redshirt seniors Mario Farinella (OL), Nick Pritchard (P), Cam Kitchen (DL) and Owen Tyler (FB/HB), along with redshirt freshman Will Knight (RB), all earned Second Team accolades, while redshirt senior Chuka Ezeuzoh (OL) and sophomore Kedrick Whitehead (S) earned spots on the Third Team.

Farinella, Pritchard and Kitchen all made their second straight appearance on all-league squads. While Tyler, Knight, Ezeuzoh and Whitehead all earned their first collegiate all-conference honors. 

Knight was outstanding in his debut season at Delaware, rushing for 919 yards on 125 carries, good for 7.4 yards per carry, which ranked fourth in the country. His 919 total rushing yards ranked second in the CAA. He piled up eight total TDs, seven on the ground. He became just the second freshman ever in program history to reach 900+ rushing yards, joining only Andrew Pierce in 2010. 

Ezeuzoh and Farinella anchored the offensive line over the past two seasons for the Blue Hens, each playing multiple positions throughout the span. Through that stretch, Delaware had five different players post 100-yard rushing performances, including five such games this year. 

Tyler was a versatile weapon for Delaware, playing in the fullback, halfback and tight end spots during his senior campaign. He caught 12 passes for 143 yards and two TDs for the Blue Hens. 

Pritchard became just the third Blue Hen in program history with over 7,500 yards punting, ranking second in the league with a 42.7 average per punt, while leading the league in punts of 50 yards (20) and punts inside the 20 (13). 

Kitchen posted career-highs in tackles (64), tackles for a loss (6.5) and sacks (3). He also became just the fifth defensive lineman to play in 50 career games at Delaware. He led this year's Blue Hens in both sacks and TFLs, while sitting third in total tackles. 

Whitehead led the defensive effort in tackles with 103, ranking first in the league among defensive backs in that category. He became just the 10th sophomore in program history and just the third DB to reach 100+ tackles in a season. He also had five pass breakups and one INT. 

Players Mentioned

#75 Chuka Ezeuzoh
OL
6' 5"
305 lbs
Graduate Student

#77 Mario Farinella
OL
6' 2"
305 lbs
Graduate Student

#99 Cam Kitchen
DT
6' 3"
290 lbs
Graduate Student

#31 Nick Pritchard
P
5' 10"
225 lbs
Redshirt Senior

#21 Owen Tyler
TE
6' 4"
255 lbs
Redshirt Senior

#1 Kedrick Whitehead
DB
5' 11"
195 lbs
Sophomore

#25 Will Knight
RB
5' 11"
195 lbs
Redshirt Freshman
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Blue Hens Announce 2020 Football Schedule:
 bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – With a young, talented core returning and the grand opening of the Whitney Athletic Center, the 2020 football season is poised to be an exciting one at Delaware Stadium.

On Thursday, the CAA and the University of Delaware unveiled their 2020 schedule, which includes six home games.

The Blue Hens start the season with back-to-back road conference games against the past two regular season champions with James Madison (Sept. 5) and Maine (Sept. 12).

Delaware's home opener is slated for Sept. 19 when Long Island University visits Newark.

A trip to ACC foe N.C. State (Sept. 26) precedes Parents & Family weekend at Delaware Stadium, which is slated for Oct. 3 when Elon comes to town.

Homecoming is set for Oct. 24 when the Tribe of William & Mary visits Delaware Stadium, with road trips to Stony Brook (Oct. 17) and Albany (Oct. 31) sandwiched between.

The Blue Hens wrap up the 2020 slate with three consecutive home games, welcoming Towson (Nov. 7), Villanova (Nov. 14) and Delaware State (Nov. 21).

Blue Hen fans will have their chance to secure seats for all six home games when season tickets go on sale in January. Ticket packages start at as low as $85. Renewing season ticket members will receive their renewal form via email shortly after the new year. Anyone interested in becoming a new season ticket member can click here or visit BlueHens.com/fbtickets for more information. 
2020 Football Schedule
Sept. 5 at James Madison*
Sept. 12 at Maine*
Sept. 19 LONG ISLAND
Sept. 26 at N.C. State
Oct. 3 ELON*
Oct. 17 at Stony Brook*
Oct. 24 WILLIAM & MARY*
Oct. 31 at Albany*
Nov. 7 TOWSON*
Nov. 14 VILLANOVA*
Nov. 21 DELAWARE STATE
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Three CAA Football Selected To Field For NCAA FCS Playoffs

Rob Washburn - https://caasports.com/
2019 NCAA FCS Playoff Bracket

RICHMOND, Va. (November 24, 2019) – Three CAA Football were selected to the 24-team field for the 2019 Division I Football Championship.

CAA champion and automatic qualifier James Madison was joined by at-large selections UAlbany and Villanova.
It marks the 14th straight year that CAA Football has had at least three teams make the playoffs. The conference set a record with six participants in 2018.

James Madison (11-1), which captured the CAA title for the fourth time in the past five years, received the No. 2 overall seed and a first-round bye. The Dukes, who are making their sixth consecutive playoff appearance and 16th overall, will host either Holy Cross or Monmouth at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 7.

UAlbany (8-4) received an FCS playoff berth for the first time as a CAA member and just the second time overall, having last made the field in 2011. The Great Danes will host Northeast Conference champion Central Connecticut State (11-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the winner meeting #5 Montana State.

Villanova (9-3) earned a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and 13th time overall. The Wildcats will travel to Southland Conference member Southeastern Louisiana (7-4) at 4 p.m. on Saturday with the winner taking on #6 Montana.

All first and second-round FCS playoff games will be televised on ESPN3.

CAA Football has now had multiple postseason selections in 29 consecutive years. Over the last 14 seasons, eight league teams have reached the national title game and 15 have advanced to the national semifinals.

The CAA was one of four conferences to have at least three teams in the field. The Missouri Valley Football Conference had five teams chosen, the Big Sky Conference had four and the Southland Conference also had three.

The NCAA Division I Football National Championship will take place at Noon (ET) on Jan. 11 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.

2019 NCAA Division I Football Championship
First Round (Nov. 30)
Central Connecticut State at UAlbany, 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
Villanova at Southeastern Louisiana, 4 p.m. (ESPN3)

Second Round (Dec. 7)
Holy Cross/Monmouth at #2 James Madison, 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
Central Connecticut/UAlbany at #5 Montana State, 3 p.m. (ESPN3)
Villanova/SE Louisiana at #6 Montana, 3 p.m. (ESPN3)

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Blue Hens drop 8th straight to Villanova 55-33 in season finale
Nov 23rd, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Bluehens.com

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Over the last three season’s Delaware’s football program has beaten every CAA team expect two.

And, even against perennial national power James Madison, the Blue Hens have played some competitive football.

But then there’s Villanova.

In what was once a fierce rivalry, Delaware somehow managed to lose to the Wildcats for the eighth straight year and for the 13th time in the last 14 meetings on Saturday afternoon.

The Hens’ latest loss to Villanova was by a score of 55-33 in the regular-season finale for both squads.

That the Wildcats (5-3 CAA, 9-3 overall) beat Delaware (3-5 CAA, 5-7 overall) was hardly a surprise. Villanova has been nationally-ranked all year and will receive an NCAA FCS Division I playoff berth today.

But the fact that the Hens looked so helpless on defense was a bit shocking.

Villanova led by scores of 27-7 in the second quarter and 48-17 in the third. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on eight of their first 11 possessions and finished with their most points in the 53-game series.

“I’m really disappointed in how our team performed today,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco, who suffered his first losing seasons in 14 years as a head coach. “Defensively, we really just had our finger in the dike the entire game. … They were extraordinarily efficient offensively. We really had a hard time getting any stops.

“I thought we had too many young players this year that faded as the year went on. They didn’t perform as well down the stretch as they may have performed halfway through the season. I said it’s going to be a very challenging winter because we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to get this right. Today was certainly not what it needs to be.”
Blue Hen receiver Gene Coleman pulled in eight catches for 104 yards and a TD against Villanova.

Villanova’s Changa Hodge put up four touchdowns and 236 receiving yards on eight catches. Only guys named Randy Moss and Wayne Chrebet have had more yards catching the ball against against Delaware.

Wildcat quarterback Daniel Smith was 17-of-24 for 378 yards with five TDs as Villanova totaled 589 yards and 30 first downs. The Wildcats faced just eight third downs in the contest.

“Defensively, a lot of the things we’re doing are things that I’ve done for years and have worked against this team,” said Rocco. “There’s some things we have to look at there. We’ve got to really take a hard look at our roster.

“When it was all said and done, we certainly did not put up much of a fight defensively today. That’s evidenced in the score, that’s evidenced in the flow of the game, evidenced in how easily they were able to get the ball in the end zone.”

“We really couldn’t stop them at all,” said junior cornerback Nijuel Hill.

Offensively, the Hens played reasonably well.

Senior quarterback Pat Kehoe, starting in place of injured starter Nolan Henderson (Smyrna), had one of the most productive games of his career. He completed 29-of-49 passes for 336 yards with two TDs and only one interception — on a deflected pass. He was also sacked just once.

Freshman running back Will Knight also had another good game. The former Smyrna High standout ran for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just nine carries while adding 39 more yards on two receptions.

It was Knight’s 68-yard sprint for a first-quarter touchdown that got Delaware within 14-7 and gave the Hens some life.
Delaware defensive end Brandan Hall tries to pressure Villianova QB Daniel Smith, who threw five touchdown passes.

Junior Gene Coleman also had a good day, collecting eight receptions for 104 yards with a TD. With 525 yards, Delaware finished with only 64 yards fewer than Villanova.

It was all just too little, too late.

“Our offense probably played well enough to make it a game,” said Rocco. “But they beat us to the punch.”

“We just didn’t quite weather the storm enough early,” said Kehoe. “At the end of the day, we didn’t score enough points. We needed to score 56 and we didn’t.”

Rocco didn’t have any concrete reason for the Hens’ recent struggles against Villanova. Those problems clearly started before the third-year head coach was hired.

But the Wildcats have also out-scored Delaware, 125-61, in the last three meetings.

“The only way for us to make it right is to win,” said Rocco. “We’ve got to win this game. I’ve felt this way for a couple years.
“My kids seem excited — they kind of want to fight. Their focus hasn’t been as much on winning the game as it’s been on competing and fighting. We’ve got to focus on winning the game. We’ve got to play better football so we can win the game.

“The only way to change the narrative is to win the game,” he added.

“I don’t think one person in that locker room could explain it,” said Kehoe. “We’ve just got to get back to work. We’re capable.”

“Obviously we’re going to have a bad taste in our mouths for months to come,” said Hill. “We’re going to just use this a motivation.”

Extra points

Delaware still holds the record for points scored in the series in its 59-42 win in 2000. …. Villanova’s previous series high were the 59 points it tallied in an overtime win over the Hens in 1999. … Senior kicker Jake Roth’s 42-yard field was the 13th of his career. … Safety Noah Plack had a team-high seven tackles. 

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Battle of the Blue Trophy Stays Home as Wildcats Thump Delaware, 55-33
11/23/19 - https://villanova.com/

Villanova finishes regular season 9-3 and stands in excellent position on eve of playoff selections

VILLANOVA, Pa.—In a perfect storm of scenarios in the final game of the regular season, No. 10 Villanova (9-3, 5-3 CAA Football) blew past Delaware (5-7, 3-5) for a triumphant 55-33 victory at Villanova Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win allowed the Wildcats to retain the Battle of the Blue Trophy for an eighth straight year and the 13th time in 14 seasons since the annual rivalry game added the "Battle of the Blue" billing. Villanova made its annual Senior Day a happy one and improved its standing for an FCS playoff berth for the first time in three years. 

Junior wide receiver Changa Hodge (East Stroudsburg, Pa.) had one of the best days in school history by a Wildcats receiver with eight catches for 236 yards and four touchdowns. He is the first Villanova player with a 200-yard receiving game since Brian Finneran against Rhode Island in 1996, as well as the first to catch at least four touchdown passes in a game since Mike Siani had five versus Xavier in 1971. Hodge's total of 236 yards through the air in Saturday's affair is the fifth-highest total by any FCS player this season. 

The flurry of touchdown passes came from junior quarterback Daniel Smith (Leesburg, Va.), who threw for 378 yards and five scores overall while rushing for 44 yards and another touchdown. Smith departed the game after the third quarter with the Wildcats comfortably in front, but his 422 yards of total offense for the day are the seventh-most in school history. He is the first Villanova quarterback since 2004 to throw five touchdown passes in a game. Smith has had a hand in 43 of the 57 offensive touchdowns the Wildcats have scored this season (31 passing, 11 rushing, one receiving). 

"I'm really proud of the way our staff prepared our guys and obviously the way our guys played," Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante said. "I am happy to be on the positive side of this game and real proud of our staff, team, administration and everybody that has been behind of us. Our guys had a heck of a game." 

The two teams combined for 1,114 yards of total offense and 88 points, the latter figure perhaps a silent homage to the #88strong motto that has been the Wildcats rallying cry throughout the year. Villanova put points on the board at a fast and furious pace from the outset as the offense rolled to the tune of 12 first downs, 211 total yards and three touchdowns by the end of the first quarter alone.

Smith scored on a three-yard run on the opening drive of the game and later threw his first touchdown of the day to senior wide receiver Zac Kerxton (Haymarket, Va.) for a 14-0 lead with 3:21 to play in the first quarter. After the Blue Hens answered with a 68-yard rushing touchdown 44 seconds later, the Wildcats countered themselves in the final minute of the period when Hodge caught a 16-yard pass to extend the margin to 20-7. He was far from done. 

Villanova executed its longest pass play of the year with 9:30 to play in the second period when Smith and Hodge connected for an 82-yard score. The score was 34-17 at halftime and stayed that way for over 11 minutes into the third period. Hodge caught a 43-yard touchdown pass with 3:38 to play in the third quarter and hauled in a 37-yard score with 34 seconds remaining in the period as the Wildcats put the game all but out of reach with a 48-17 lead. Freshman running back DeeWil Barlee (Malvern, Pa.) and sophomore Jalen Jackson (Richmond, Va.) each rushed for a touchdown in the game.

"This was about it being Delaware and us wanting to come out and beat Delaware," Smith said when asked about the postseason implications of the lopsided victory. "The last seven years before this we have had the trophy in our house, our locker room, so we just wanted to bring it back and we did whatever we could do to bring [the trophy] back." 

Villanova had a season-high 589 yards of total offense, with the number also marking the fourth-most in a game in school history. Hodge and Kerxton accounted for the lion's share of receiving numbers, with Hodge's 236 yards the Wildcats second-highest single-game total ever. Kerxton made five catches for 61 yards and added 25 yards on punt returns. Barlee rushed for 73 yards, Jackson went for 65 yards in his second game back after an injury and freshman TD Ayo-Durojaiye (Damascus, Md.) ran for 35 yards. 

"It feels good when you've got a guy that can thrown the ball right into your pocket and you don't have to make a tough catch all the time," Hodge said of Smith's passing accuracy. "It's something that us receivers want most of the time. He can obviously get the ball out but he's got wheels too. My receivers coach preaches winning 1-on-1 matchups all the time, so I get excited in those situations because I know my abilities. I'm always thinking 'just win' [in 1-on-1 coverage]." 

Junior cornerback Jaquan Amos (Philadelphia, Pa.) recorded his team-high fourth interception of the season to set up the Villanova possession which led to Hodge's final touchdown of the day. Freshman safety Isas Waxter (Orange, N.J.) and sophomore linebacker Qwahsin Townsel (Egg Harbor Twp., N.J.) led the team with eight tackles apiece. Late in the game, senior Tyler Von Nessen (Manalapan, N.J.) forced a fumble which sophomore Anthony Siragusa (Florham Park, N.J.) recovered to put a stamp on the big win. 

Villanova has reached nine wins in a season for the 10th time since becoming an FCS member in 1985. With the regular season complete, the Wildcats tied for a third place finish in the CAA Football regular season standings and are in line to return to the Division I Football Championship for the first time since 2016 and the 13th time in their history. The field of 24 teams for the playoffs will be announced at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2. The top eight teams are seeded and earn a first-round bye, while the other teams will open postseason play next Saturday. 

"I'm not sure where it came from but sometimes it just happens," Ferrante said of the special season Villanova is in the midst of. "The #88strong thing came from the players. That was an 'in this room' team thing, but it kind of spread and has gone out through the fans, the parents and everybody. It comes from the guys. I am real proud of our staff who is doing a great job and I am proud of the team because this is a really tight group and they have been the ones sticking it together." 

Villanova has played, and beaten, Delaware more times than any other opponent in its history. The all-time series dates back to the 19th century and the first-ever meeting in 1895. With their eighth straight win in the series on Saturday, the longest streak by either team in the rivalry, the Wildcats are now 31-21-1 in head-to-head matchups with the Blue Hens. The 55 points scored in the latest victory are the most scored by Villanova in any game in the series.

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Hens win home finale, snap 3-game skid 17-10 over Stony Brook
Nov 16th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — Even when it was over, and Delaware’s football team had gotten what it came for, Cam Kitchen didn’t want to leave the field.
The Blue Hens’ senior defensive lineman had just played his final game at Delaware Stadium.

And even though that fact was going to be true no matter whether the Blue Hens won or lost, the moment was certainly made a lot sweeter by the fact that Delaware had found a way to beat Stony Brook, 17-10, on Saturday afternoon in its last home game of the football season.

“It means a lot — it means everything,” Kitchen said about winning his home finale. “To win my last game ever here at this stadium, it means the world to me. I had to stay out there for a couple extra minutes and just look around, touch the Blue Hen in the middle of the field one more time.

“It means the world to me.”

To be sure, there really wasn’t much pretty about this one as Delaware (3-4 CAA, 5-6 overall) snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Hens managed just 250 yards of offense, they surrendered 188 rushing yards to the Seawolves’ Isaiah White and the two teams combined to complete only 11 passes.

There were some reasons for Delaware’s offensive struggles. It lost starting quarterback Nolan Henderson (hip) and center Mario Farinella (hand) on the same first-quarter play.

The Hens ended up having to play sophomore center Mickey Henry — whose own right hand was in a cast from an injury he suffered earlier in the week.

But Delaware did what it had to do, with Stony Brook (2-5 CAA, 5-6 overall lending a helping hand in several key situations.

“We talked a lot about finishing all week long,” said coach Danny Rocco. “It’s about the only real theme that I offered. We were big in big moments. That’s something we haven’t been of late.”

With the game tied 10-10 at halftime, the second half featured just one touchdown. Will Knight (Smyrna) went up the middle for a 21-yard TD run to cap a nine-play, 55-yard drive with only 10:18 remaining.
Delaware linebacker Johnny Buchanan returns an interception 33 yards for a TD on the game’s third play from scrimmage.

The run was the highlight of another big day for the redshirt freshman, who finished with 108 yards on 17 carries while adding another 28 yards on two receptions.

But the touchdown came when Delaware should have been facing a fourth-and-12 at the Seawolves’ 36. Stony Brook lineman Makye Smith, however, was called for unsportsmanlike conduct to give the Hens a first down.

Later in the contest, it looked like Stony Brook was going to get the ball back at midfield with almost five minutes remaining. But the Seawolves’ John Corpac fumbled a punt and the Hens’ Andrew Pawlowski recovered it.

Delaware was able to pick up a pair of first downs before fumbling the ball back to Stony Brook at its own 27 with just 1:04 left. The Seawolves were only able to reach their 46 before time ran out. Stony Brook was averaging 25.6 points per game.

“As a defense, we just wanted to play motivated, play with passion,” said Kitchen, who had a team-high eight tackles. “It showed up today to our benefit. We were definitely playing for something. We just wanted to show the defense that we have.”

The Hens came up with two big turnovers in the contest.

On just the third play from scrimmage, Kitchen pressured Stony Brook QB Tyquell Fields (5-for-11, 45 yards) into a short third-down pass. Delaware linebacker Johnny Bunchanan just had to pull in the interception and return it 33 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game.

“I looked to see big 99 (Kitchen) hitting the quarterback and it kind of altered the direction of the ball,” said Buchanan. “I told Cam, I owe him for that one. He got me that pick.”

In the third quarter, Stony Brook had a third-and-goal from the Hens’ 11 when Fields inexplicably lobbed a pass into a crowd of players in the middle of the end zone. Delaware safety Noah Plack came down with the interception to end the threat.

Between them, Fields and Blue Hen quarterback Pat Kehoe (6-of-10, 87 yards) combined to throw for only 137 yards. And 29 of those yards came on the Seawolves’ last three plays of the game.

Rocco thought the wind played a role in limited passing numbers while losing Henderson hurt Delaware.

“We thought Nolan would have been able to throw the ball in the wind,” said Rocco. “Nolan throws a tight spiral. I really thought he’d have a big day today. … I would have liked to see what Nolan could have done today but we certainly leaned on our backs because of the circumstances.”.

Extra points

White’s 188 rushing yards were the 12th-most against a Delaware team. … The Hens also lost receiver Chi Chi Amachi to a knee injury after he made a nice, leaping 33-yard catch along the sideline in the first quarter. … Delaware closes the season next Saturday with a 1 p.m. game at Villanova
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White and Turner Both Gain Over 100 Rushing Yards in Loss at Delaware
11/16/19 - https://stonybrookathletics.com/

NEWARK, DE. – Redshirt senior RB Isaiah White (Gordon Heights, N.Y./Longwood) rushed for 188 yards and true freshman RB Jadon Turner (Rochester, N.Y./Irondequoit) gained 101 yards on the ground in his first career game, but the Stony Brook football team fell at Delaware on Saturday afternoon in the CAA Football game at Delaware Stadium. 

Turner also scored his first career touchdown on a 41-yard run in the second quarter for the Seawolves (5-6, 2-5 CAA Football).

SCORING

Delaware struck first on the first drive of the game with a 33-yard interception return by LB Johnny Buchanan with 13:38 left in the opening quarter. The PAT by K Jake Roth was good.
Stony Brook got on the board in the second quarter when K Nick Courtney nailed a 24-yard field goal with 8:59 left in the half. The drive was 12 plays for 65 yards and took 5:57 off the clock. The drive started when DB Gavin Heslop blocked a Delaware field goal attempt.
The Seawolves took the lead when RB Jadon Turner scampered 41 yards for the touchdown with 5:43 left in the second quarter. The PAT by K Nick Courtney was good. The drive was three plays for 56 yards and took 1:12 off the clock.
The Blue Hens knotted it up with a 23-yard field goal by K Jake Roth with 0:08 left in the second quarter. The drive was 10 plays for 71 yards and took 5:26 off the clock.
Delaware retook the lead when RB Will Knight scored on a 21-yard run with 10:18 left in the fourth quarter. The PAT by K Jake Roth was good. The drive was nine plays for 55 yards and took 3:22 off the clock.

THE NUMBERS

Stony Brook gained 341 yards of total offense on 59 plays. Delaware had 250 yards of total offense on 54 plays.
The Seawolves had the ball for 32:16 minutes of the game.
PASSING: Stony Brook: 5-11-2 for 45 yards. Delaware: 6-11-0 for 87 yards.
RUSHING: Stony Brook: 48 carries for 296 yards, one touchdown Delaware: 43 carries for 163 yards, one touchdown.
QB Tyquell Fields had 45 passing yards.
WR Nick Anderson had two catches for 16 yards. 
RB Isaiah White collected 188 rushing yards on 26 carries, RB Jadon Turner collected 101 rushing yards on 13 carries with one touchdown.
DB Augie Contressa recorded eight total tackles with a 0.5 sack and 1.5 TFLs.

NOTES

DB Gavin Heslop blocked a Delaware FG attempt in the second quarter for his block of the season. He also blocked a Richmond FG attempt two weeks ago.
K Nick Courtney made his 16th career field goal on Saturday and the 10th of the season with his kick in the second quarter. He now sits tied for fifth place on Stony Brook's single-season list for field goals made and sixth-place on the Seawolves' career list.
RB Jadon Turner scored his first career touchdown on a 41-yard rush in the second quarter. The score by the true freshman marked the ninth time this season a Seawolf has scored their first career touchdown.
RB Jadon Turner rushed for 101 Yards for his first career 100-plus yard game. He also became the first true freshman to rush for at least 100 yards since teammate Isaiah White accomplished the feat against Central Connecticut in 2015.
RB Isaiah White reached 100-plus rushing yards in the first half alone and finished with ??? yards. It marks his fourth 100-plus yard rushing game of the season and the fifth of his career.
RB Isaiah White's 188 rushing yards are a career-high, besting his previous high of 131 yards gained against Wagner earlier this season.
Stony Brook had multiple 100-yard rushers for the second time this season.
OL Mason Zimmerman extended his consecutive starts streak to 42 games, while DB Gavin Heslop extended his streak to 36 straight games. DB Augie Contressa extended his consecutive start streak to 23 games. DL Casey Williams extended his streak to 19, while OL Kyle Nunez and DL Brandon Lopez added to their streak to make it 17 straight starts now.
WR Jaquell Webb started on Saturday for the first time in his career. He is the 17th Seawolf to start for the first time this season.
RB Jadon Turner and RB Tahshawn Brinson made their first appearance in a game to become the 13th and 14th different Seawolves to made their collegiate debut this season. 
Delaware won the toss and deferred to the second half.
Captains for Saturday's game were RB Isaiah White and DB Gavin Heslop.

UP NEXT
Don't miss your chance to catch the Seawolves in action when they return to LaValle Stadium on Nov. 23 to face UAlbany in the Battle for the Golden Apple at 2 p.m. (GET YOUR TICKETS NOW).

Team Statistics
Game Stats SBU DELAWARE
Total Yards 341 250
Pass Yards 45 87
Rushing Yards 296 163
Penalty Yards 4-50 3-35
1st Downs 16 15
3rd Downs 6-14 3-12
4th Downs 1-2 1-1
TOP 32:16 27:44
Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
DELAWARE
13:38 - DELAWARE - Johnny Buchanan 33 yd interception (Jake Roth kick)
0 7
2nd Quarter
SBU
08:59 - SBU - Nick Courtney 24 yd field goal 12 plays, 65 yards, TOP 5:57
3 7
SBU
05:43 - SBU - Jadon Turner 41 yd run (Nick Courtney kick), 3 plays, 56 yards, TOP 1:12
10 7
DELAWARE
00:08 - DELAWARE - Jake Roth 23 yd field goal 10 plays, 71 yards, TOP 5:26
10 10
4th Quarter
DELAWARE
10:18 - DELAWARE - Will Knight 21 yd run (Jake Roth kick), 9 plays, 55 yards, TOP 3:22
10 17

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Frustrated Hens suffer 3rd straight loss 21-17 to Albany
Nov 9th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — For the third straight week, Delaware could have won a football game.

This time, the argument could be made, the Blue Hens should have won a football game.

But they didn’t.

And that’s what made Delaware’s third-straight loss, a 21-17 setback to Albany in a CAA game at Delaware Stadium on Saturday afternoon, so hard to swallow.

The fact that the Hens (2-4 CAA, 4-6 overall) now have to win their final two games just to finish at .500 is icing on the cake.

Probably Delaware’s biggest regret was that it twice had the ball at the Great Danes’ one yard line but came away with only three points to show for it. That came back to haunt the Hens when Albany (4-2 CAA, 6-4 overall) drove 73 yards to score the winning touchdown with 10:54 remaining.

Quarterback Jeff Underfuffler drilled a 13-yard scoring pass to Jerah Reeves for the only points of the second half.

“It’s very frustrating for all of us,” said UD coach Danny Rocco, who has never finished with a losing record in his 14 seasons as a head coach.

“I certainly expressed that frustration with our team post game. I certainly called out everybody — including myself — in that post-game conversation. I don’t think it’s fair to point the loss at one or two plays in the game. Holistically we’re not playing well enough to win. We’re doing things now that bad football teams do.”

The first touchdown that got away from Delaware came at the end of the first half.

With the contest tied, 14-14, QB Nolan Henderson found his former Smyrna High teammate, Will Knight, along the sidelines for a 55-yard gain to the Albany 23.

A DaJoun Lee seven-yard run later gave the Hens a second-and-goal from the one. But Delaware lost a total of three yards on a pair of running plays before settling for Jake Roth’s 22-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

“Our inability to score a touchdown just before the half was something that was concerning to me,” said Rocco. “I knew that they (the Great Danes) were good down there on the goal line.”
QB Nolan Henderson ran for 72 yards on 14 carries in Saturday’s game.

The Hens, who out-gained Albany 366 yards to 362, kept moving the ball well in the second half.

Delaware had the ball at the Great Danes’ 20 when Henderson rolled out and found receiver Thyrick Pitts running parallel to the goal line at the one. Just when it looked like Pitts might fight his way into the end zone, Albany knocked the ball loose where Kareem Gibson recovered the fumble at the three.

The Hens never came close to scoring again.

Delaware had three possessions after Albany took the lead but managed just one first down all told, on a Henderson 21-yard run. The sophomore QB went a combined 0-for-6 on those three drives as the Hens never got anything going.

“I did feel very confident that we were going to be able to drive the ball and score there late in the game,” said Rocco. “We just weren’t able to do it. … In the biggest moments, they made the biggest plays. The end of the game certainly belonged to them.
“The thing I said in the locker room, offensively, there are moments when we looked extraordinarily good on offense. We have rhythm, we have balance. … and then other series we don’t even look like the same team. That’s very frustrating, very disappointing.”

Henderson completed only 8-of-17 passes for 141 yards with a four-yard scoring pass to freshman receiver Jourdan Townsend. He did run the ball 15 times for 72 yards.

Knight finished with 79 yards on 14 carries while adding another 61 yards on a pair of receptions. The freshman tied the game at 14-14 on a 28-yard TD burst in the second quarter.

“They’re a great defense, but I don’t know if much of it wasn’t us shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Henderson. “Penalties, taking a sack here and there, not completing a ball, and then obviously, the turnovers. I think we had plenty of opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them.

“The defense played great. We didn’t really hold up our end of the bargain in the second half.”

Defensively, Delaware gave up two big pass plays early — a 41-yarder and a 64-yarder. But the Hens also allowed just one TD over the final 38 minutes and limited the Great Danes to 12 points less than their per-game average.

And while Underfuffler threw three touchdown passes, he also completed 13-of-23 passes for only 176 yards — 90 yards under his average.
Delaware forced Albany to punt six times.

“A lot of us, this is our first time playing each team,” said sophomore safety Kedrick Whtehead (Middletown), who had a game-high 12 tackles. “So we’re just learning, taking one game at a time, hoping to grow and get better every week.”

Henderson said he doesn’t expect Delaware to pack it in just because its record isn’t what it wanted.

“We’re all football players and I think, no matter what your record is when you come out on Saturday, you only know one speed,” he said. “You only know one effort level. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I know we have a good locker room and the guys in it, they’re not thinking about anything other than going out Saturday and winning a game.”

Extra points

The Hens’ 17-14 advantage marked their first halftime lead since their season-opening win over Delaware State. … Lee ran for 69 yards on 11 carries as well as adding a 41-yard kickoff return. … Safety Noah Plack had nine tackles with a pair of pass breakups. … Saturday’s win was just Albany’s third against Delaware in the nine-game all-time series.
Frustrated Hens suffer 3rd straight loss 21-17 to Albany
Nov 9th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — For the third straight week, Delaware could have won a football game.

This time, the argument could be made, the Blue Hens should have won a football game.

But they didn’t.

And that’s what made Delaware’s third-straight loss, a 21-17 setback to Albany in a CAA game at Delaware Stadium on Saturday afternoon, so hard to swallow.

The fact that the Hens (2-4 CAA, 4-6 overall) now have to win their final two games just to finish at .500 is icing on the cake.

Probably Delaware’s biggest regret was that it twice had the ball at the Great Danes’ one yard line but came away with only three points to show for it. That came back to haunt the Hens when Albany (4-2 CAA, 6-4 overall) drove 73 yards to score the winning touchdown with 10:54 remaining.

Quarterback Jeff Underfuffler drilled a 13-yard scoring pass to Jerah Reeves for the only points of the second half.

“It’s very frustrating for all of us,” said UD coach Danny Rocco, who has never finished with a losing record in his 14 seasons as a head coach.

“I certainly expressed that frustration with our team post game. I certainly called out everybody — including myself — in that post-game conversation. I don’t think it’s fair to point the loss at one or two plays in the game. Holistically we’re not playing well enough to win. We’re doing things now that bad football teams do.”

The first touchdown that got away from Delaware came at the end of the first half.

With the contest tied, 14-14, QB Nolan Henderson found his former Smyrna High teammate, Will Knight, along the sidelines for a 55-yard gain to the Albany 23.

A DaJoun Lee seven-yard run later gave the Hens a second-and-goal from the one. But Delaware lost a total of three yards on a pair of running plays before settling for Jake Roth’s 22-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

“Our inability to score a touchdown just before the half was something that was concerning to me,” said Rocco. “I knew that they (the Great Danes) were good down there on the goal line.”
QB Nolan Henderson ran for 72 yards on 14 carries in Saturday’s game.

The Hens, who out-gained Albany 366 yards to 362, kept moving the ball well in the second half.

Delaware had the ball at the Great Danes’ 20 when Henderson rolled out and found receiver Thyrick Pitts running parallel to the goal line at the one. Just when it looked like Pitts might fight his way into the end zone, Albany knocked the ball loose where Kareem Gibson recovered the fumble at the three.

The Hens never came close to scoring again.

Delaware had three possessions after Albany took the lead but managed just one first down all told, on a Henderson 21-yard run. The sophomore QB went a combined 0-for-6 on those three drives as the Hens never got anything going.

“I did feel very confident that we were going to be able to drive the ball and score there late in the game,” said Rocco. “We just weren’t able to do it. … In the biggest moments, they made the biggest plays. The end of the game certainly belonged to them.
“The thing I said in the locker room, offensively, there are moments when we looked extraordinarily good on offense. We have rhythm, we have balance. … and then other series we don’t even look like the same team. That’s very frustrating, very disappointing.”

Henderson completed only 8-of-17 passes for 141 yards with a four-yard scoring pass to freshman receiver Jourdan Townsend. He did run the ball 15 times for 72 yards.

Knight finished with 79 yards on 14 carries while adding another 61 yards on a pair of receptions. The freshman tied the game at 14-14 on a 28-yard TD burst in the second quarter.

“They’re a great defense, but I don’t know if much of it wasn’t us shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Henderson. “Penalties, taking a sack here and there, not completing a ball, and then obviously, the turnovers. I think we had plenty of opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them.

“The defense played great. We didn’t really hold up our end of the bargain in the second half.”

Defensively, Delaware gave up two big pass plays early — a 41-yarder and a 64-yarder. But the Hens also allowed just one TD over the final 38 minutes and limited the Great Danes to 12 points less than their per-game average.

And while Underfuffler threw three touchdown passes, he also completed 13-of-23 passes for only 176 yards — 90 yards under his average.
Delaware forced Albany to punt six times.

“A lot of us, this is our first time playing each team,” said sophomore safety Kedrick Whtehead (Middletown), who had a game-high 12 tackles. “So we’re just learning, taking one game at a time, hoping to grow and get better every week.”

Henderson said he doesn’t expect Delaware to pack it in just because its record isn’t what it wanted.

“We’re all football players and I think, no matter what your record is when you come out on Saturday, you only know one speed,” he said. “You only know one effort level. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I know we have a good locker room and the guys in it, they’re not thinking about anything other than going out Saturday and winning a game.”

Extra points

The Hens’ 17-14 advantage marked their first halftime lead since their season-opening win over Delaware State. … Lee ran for 69 yards on 11 carries as well as adding a 41-yard kickoff return. … Safety Noah Plack had nine tackles with a pair of pass breakups. … Saturday’s win was just Albany’s third against Delaware in the nine-game all-time series.
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Albany Defense Leads Football's 21-17 Win Over Delaware
UAlbany Sports Information 11-09-2019

Score: UAlbany 21, Delaware 17

Location: Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del.

Records: UAlbany 6-4 (4-2 CAA) | Delaware 4-6 (2-4 CAA)

Short story: The University at Albany football team’s defense shut down Delaware in the second half, and Jerah Reeves caught the game-winning touchdown pass as the Great Danes topped the Blue Hens, 21-17, in a CAA game Saturday, Nov. 9

Coach Gattuso: “We challenged the defense. We thought the first half we were giving things away. The second half, we weren’t doing. And the turnovers turned up big for us. We had two big turnovers that took away their momentum and we were able to win the game.”

RECAP

The University at Albany football’s defense forced two key second-half turnovers to help the Great Danes capture a 21-17 CAA victory over Delaware on Saturday.

With UAlbany trailing 17-14, Eli Mencer stripped the quarterback on Delaware’s first drive of the second half, and Tyler Carswell forced a Blue Hens’ fumble on the Great Danes' 1-yard line later in the third quarter.

Jeff Undercuffler’s 14-yard touchdown strike to Jerah Reeves with 10:54 left in the fourth gave UAlbany the lead and proved to be the winning score.

That was one of three touchdown passes on the day for Undercuffler, who also threw a pair to Juwan Green.

Karl Mofor helped the Great Danes hold the ball for more than 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, picking up key first downs on his way to a 132-yard game.

The Great Danes struck first, with Green’s 15-yard touchdown catch from Undercuffler giving UAlbany a 7-0 lead.

After Delaware tied the game, the pair hooked up again, this time on a 64-yard score, to make it 14-7. On the play, Green outran two defenders, caught Undercuffler’s perfect pass in stride and raced to the end zone untouched.

The Blue Hens responded with a touchdown and then a field goal as the first half expired to take a 17-14 lead into the intermission.

But from that point, UAlbany’s defense held, forcing two third-quarter fumbles and getting a key sack by Danny Damico on third down that took the Blue Hens out of field-goal range.

Up next: UAlbany returns home Saturday, Nov. 16 to take on New Hampshire on Senior Day. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.

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Henderson, Hens can’t complete comeback
Nov 2nd, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

TOWSON, Md. — Even the way it turned out, it was a highlight-reel play.

On a fourth-and-three, at the Towson 15, with just over a minute left, with Delaware trailing by seven, Nolan Henderson dropped back to pass.

But the former Smyrna High quarterback had no one to throw to and nowhere to go, so he just started scrambling. Henderson was all the way back at the 45 when he out-ran a Tiger lineman and started sprinting for the first-down marker.

With a Towson defender charging straight at him, Henderson slid — thinking he was far enough to get the first down.

Only he wasn’t.

Henderson came up a yard short, Towson took over the ball and, a few moments later, the No. 21 Tigers were celebrating a gut-wrenching 31-24 win over Delaware in a Colonial Athletic Association dogfight at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

There was just 1:18 remaining when Henderson’s scramble play ended. After scampering from one side of the field to the other, he said he just didn’t know exactly where the first-down marker was.

“Either way, I can’t slide there,” said Henderson. “I kind of lost track of where I had to get to after running around. At the end of the day, I’ve got to do all it takes to get that half yard.”

The redshirt sophomore QB was playing for the first time since missing two games with a concussion. Henderson, though, didn’t know if that played a part in his sliding too soon.

“Definitely, the emphasis this week was to protect myself,” he said. “I don’t know if that was the case or I just lost track of where I was. I’ve just got to lower my shoulder and do whatever I can to get that extra half yard.”

It was a pretty tough second-straight loss for the Blue Hens (2-3 CAA, 4-5 overall), who probably saw their FCS playoff chances end with the setback.

After trailing 24-14 at halftime, Delaware battled back to tie the game at 24-24 on Jake Roth’s 26-yard field goal with 11:08 remaining.

The Hens, though, couldn’t stop Towson from marching 62 yards on 10 plays to retake the lead. Yeedee Thaenrat scored the game-winning touchdown on a two-yard run with 4:54 left.
Receiver Thyrick Pitts finished with four catches for 88 yards against Towson. (Delaware sports information)

But the play that will haunt Delaware’s defense came on the play before.

With the Tigers facing a third-and-15 from their own 16, QB Tom Flacco (17-for-23, 294 yards) threw up a pass for receiver Jason Epps along the sidelines, in the end zone. Blue Hen safety Kedrick Whitehead made contact with Epps as the ball was coming down but Epps also ended up out of bounds.

The officials called Whitehead for pass interference, putting the ball at the two and setting up the touchdown.

“I asked if it was uncatchable but they don’t really like to hear that question any more,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco. “He (Whitehead) obviously didn’t need to do it. I had the feeling like he could have just let him (Epps) finish the play and it was going to be out of bounds or overthrown.

“I was very disappointed. That was a huge, huge play in the game. We could have held them to a field goal there.”

Third downs were a problem for the Hens throughout the game. Towson was 5-of-8 on third-down conversions in the contest while finishing with a 453-415 edge in yards.

The ending, though, spoiled what could have been a pretty good comeback for Henderson and Delaware.

With Towson up 24-14 and getting the first possession of the second half, the Hens looked like they were in trouble. And, sure enough, Flacco fired a 26-yard pass to Caleb Smith (nine catches-200 yards, one TD) on that first drive.

But the Hens’ Nijuel Hill forced a fumble at the end of the reception and recovered it. On the next play, Henderson launched a 54-yard pass to freshman receiver Jourdan Townsend.

One play after that, Smyrna’s Will Knight scored on a 21-yard run and Delaware was back in the game at 24-21.

The Hens only gave up the one touchdown in the second half while forcing three turnovers.

“I really challenged the defense at halftime,” said Rocco. “I kind of felt like, if we didn’t rise up in the second half, we might give up 48 or 50 points. We played a lot better in the second half on defense.”

“In the first half, we just weren’t getting it done,” said linebacker Drew Nickles. “I don’t think we were really playing that hard. In the second half, we did play better.”

Henderson, who was playing his first game since Oct. 12, almost made a triumphant return. He completed 13-of-24 passes for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Henderson also made plenty of big plays with his feet — either scrambling to buy time or running for some crucial yards. He netted 48 yards on 15 carries, scoring on a two-yard dive to the pylon for a two-yard TD run.

“He is really, really impressive,” Towson coach Rob Ambrose said about Henderson. “He’s really, really awesome with the ball in his hands. He’s going to be a threat in this league for a while. He’s a very talented young man.”

The Hens have played well in some stretches over the last two games while struggling at other times. They return home to host Albany next Saturday still trying to put a complete game together.

“We have to put it together,” said Nickles. “We probably should have done it by now but we have to do it at some point. We have flashes, definitely. But we’ve got to put it together as a team to be a good team.”

Extra points

Knight ran for a game-high 96 yards on 15 carries. That included a 35-yard run on Delaware’s final drive. … Thyrick Pitts caught four passes for 88 yards, including a 41-yarder. … Townsend had 71 yards on two receptions, including a 17-yrd scoring pass in the first quarter. … Delmar High grad Shane Leatherbury had two receptions for 47 yards for Towson.

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Towson Football Takes Down Rival Delaware
11/2/19 - https://towsontigers.com

TOWSON, Md. – The No. 21/22 Towson University football team, spearheaded by 200 yards receiving by Caleb Smith and three rushing touchdowns from Yeedee Thaenrat, scored a touchdown with 4:54 left to take a 31-24 victory over rival Delaware.

With a 24-24 tie score, a 10-play, 62-yard drive by Towson (5-4, 2-3 CAA) ended in a two-yard touchdown by Thaenrat to take the lead vs. Delaware (4-5, 2-3 CAA) for good as the defense held the other way in the red zone.

Key Game Stats:

Towson led 24-14 at the half, the largest lead for the Tigers at the break against a league opponent this season. Delaware tied the game in the opening four minutes of the fourth quarter. The next drive, the Tigers scored a touchdown and held for the win.
In a high-scoring game, Towson had the edge in total offense with 453 yards compared to 415 for Delaware. Much of the difference came from passing, with Towson having 294 yards in the air compared to 240 for the Blue Hens.
Tom Flacco had a strong day as the Towson field general, throwing 17-for-23 with 294 yards and a touchdown. His primary target was Caleb Smith, who had a career day with nine catches for 200 yards, the first 200-yard receiving day for Towson since 2016, and a touchdown.
On the ground, Yeedee Theanrat ran the ball 16 times for 70 yards, scoring three touchdowns to total 12 on the season. Adrian Feliz-Platt averaged 5.5 yards a carry, totaling 55 yards on 10 rushes.
Defensively, Robert Heyward tallied up seven tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Coby Tippett forced a turnover on an interception, adding seven tackles.
For Delaware, Nolan Henderson was 13-for-24 on passing with a touchdown and an interception, also adding 48 yards on the ground plus a score. Will Knight rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries while Thyrick Pitts caught four passes for 88 yards. Nijuel Hill concluded with six tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries.


Postgame Quote:
Towson head coach Rob Ambrose: "This was a game we knew we had to win; it's Delaware, it's November. I'm incredibly proud of my guys. The heart, the character, the resiliency, the desire and that they were not willing to lay down. I congratulate Delaware, this was a very hard-fought game, their guys played hard and they are very well-coached. Our character shined through, not what we do but who we are, I am proud of the young men that represented this institution the right way under duress."

How it Happened:

Delaware started on offense and broke into Towson territory with a Nolan Henderson 22-yard pass to Chichi Amachi. Later on third and four, a designed QB rush was stopped after one year with a quick tackle from Sam Gyeni. Delaware punted the ball and downed it on the Towson three-yard line.
Despite two rushes of 10+ yards from Adrian Feliz-Platt and D'Ago Hunter, a fumble by the latter was recovered by Delaware on the Towson 27. The Towson defense stood tall with a rush for no gain, an incompletion after a rush from Bryce Carter, then Robert Heyward taking down Henderson for a 12-yard loss on the sack. Delaware punted for a touchback.
Towson wasted no time on the next possession: on the second play, a drop off pass to Caleb Smith turned into 22 yards as the junior rolled down the sideline and was hit late for a 15-yard penalty tacked on. Next play, Tom Flacco fired down the middle back to Smith for 40 yards to set up first and goal on the one-yard line. Yeedee Thaenrat barreled ahead for his 10th touchdown of the year, giving Towson a 7-0 lead with 8:13 left in the first.
Delaware went to the ground over and over again with Will Knight to get to Towson's half of the field. DeJoun Lee added a six-yard carry, then a QB run by Henderson converted a third and short. Towson stacked up Delaware on a third and one, but the Blue Hens went for it on fourth down and converted on a direct snap to Lee for three yards. After a Henderson 10-yard rush and a Heyward tackle for a three-yard loss, a pass to an open Jourdan Townsend for 17 yards resulted in a touchdown, tying the score at 7-7 in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
Flacco got throwing on Towson's next offensive drive, throwing a pass to Jason Epps for 10 yards on a third down. Following two penalties pushing Towson back, Flacco, with all day to throw, threw a dart to Smith for 32 yards to convert a set of downs. Three plays later, again Flacco, rolling out to avoid rushers, lightly arced the ball Smith, who spun away from a tackler to get into the end zone for an 11-yard score. Towson led 14-7 with 9:06 left in the second quarter.
Henderson found Thyrick Pitts for passes of 41 and 14 yards, then added a pass interference penalty to get to the two-yard line. Henderson rushes himself, diving for the pylon and scoring to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:51 left in the second quarter.
Feliz-Platt bolted forward on a 17-yard run to begin the following drive, then three plays later, Flacco moved several yards in the pocket, then found Shane Leatherbury next to the sideline for 25 yards. Two passes to Daniel Thompson IV and the Tigers were inside the three. Thaenrat rushed twice, scoring on the second attempt for a 21-14 Towson lead with 1:37 left in the half.
Down came Delaware as Henderson rushed for 22, then a pass to Pitts for 19 got the Blue Hens inside the Towson 40. The defense stood tall and got the ball back: an incompletion off a rush from Malik Tyne, a sack by Heyward and finally, Coby Tippett picking off Henderson to give the ball back to the Tigers with 54 seconds left.
Flacco led the charge down the turf, going a 10-yard pass to D'Ago Hunter, a 19-yard catch by Smith, a Flacco rush for 17 yards and a pass interference call to get to the Delaware seven. Towson was stopped from there. Aidan O'Neill knocked down the 24-yard field goal to make it 24-14 Towson at the break.
Towson started with the ball in the second half and got downfield with a couple of 22+ yard passes, complete to Leatherbury and Smith. But on Smith's catch, a fumble was recovered by Delaware on its own 25. The Blue Hens scored in three plays, a Townsend 54-yard catch, a Lee rush for no gain and a Knight 21-yard rush for a touchdown. Towson still led 24-21 with 11:23 left in the 3rd.
Thaenrat rushed three straight times to begin the next drive for 14 yards, but he fumbled on the final carry, with Delaware recovering. The Towson defense held Delaware to a three-and-out in its own territory, forcing a punt, with was fair caught on the 10.
Again Flacco looked to Smith for a big play, finding the Albany, New York native on a 20-yard pass across the middle to convert a 3rd and 13. Feliz-Platt made a couple of nice rushes for 14 yards combined and a first down, but the Tigers did not go further. Shane McDonough punted 47 yards to the Delaware 22.
On third down, Henderson kept the drive going three times on third downs: a 14-yard throw to Amachi along the sideline, a 14-yard pass to Pitts down the middle to get near midfield and a nine-yard scramble to the sideline. Into the fourth quarter, Henderson kept completing passes to get into the red zone. On 3rd and two on the Towson nine, Delaware's pass was incomplete. Jake Roth converted the 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24 with 11:08 to play.
Hunter began the drive with a 38-yard kickoff return to jump start the Tigers. On third down, again Flacco went to Smith for a 14-yard completion and a first down. Down the field the Tigers came with a couple of rushes and two more passes, then a pass interference penalty got Towson to the Delaware two-yard line. Thaenrat punched in the touchdown next play, putting Towson back ahead 31-24 with 4:54 left in the fourth.
Delaware first started to pass, with a one-handed reception by Gene Coleman II for 15 yards extending the drive, then two plays later, Knight got room on the right side on a rush for 35 yards. On third and three, Chizurum Umunakwe stopped Knight for a loss of one yard. Henderson ran all around the field, including nearly back on midfield. He got back to the line and went for the first, diving and coming up short by a yard. Towson took over on downs.
Rushes for six yards by Hunter and five yards by Thaenrat gave Towson a first down, enough to run out the clock. Towson won 31-24.

Inside the Numbers:

With a 24-yard field goal to end the first half, Aidan O'Neill tied the all-time record for field goals by a CAA player with 59.
Caleb Smith earned his first career 100-yard day on receiving. It is the first 200-yard receiving game for a Tiger since Christian Summers had 232 receiving yards vs. St. Francis on Sept. 10, 2016.
Yeedee Thaenrat earned his third game with at least three rushing touchdowns with this season. His 12 rushing touchdowns on the season is tied for ninth all-time in program history.
This is the third-straight victory for Towson over Delaware at home, including wins in 2017 and 2015.
This is the third time this year where Towson earns a victory over a team either ranked or receiving votes in the FCS rankings at the time, the other two being Maine and The Citadel.

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Kick returns doom Hens in 35-25 CAA loss to Richmond
Oct 26th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — Surrendering a touchdown on a kickoff return can be brutal.

Not only does it give the other team a huge lift, it kills the momentum your squad just gained by scoring on the play before.

“It’s not just us on the field, it’s the fans, the crowd,” said Delaware safety Kedrick Whitehead. “We get things going our way and then that happens. It’s like, hit the reset button and you have to start all over again. We have to find another way to get momentum to come back to our side.”

No. 19 Delaware somehow managed to give up a pair of TDs on kickoff returns in just the first half and never fully recovered before falling to Richmond, 35-25, on homecoming Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.

The Blue Hens (2-2 CAA, 4-4 overall) did close within three points in the third quarter after trailing by 18 at halftime. But the Spiders (3-1 CAA, 4-4 overall) answered with another big play — a 63-yard touchdown pass — and Delaware never seriously threatened again.
Delaware running back DeJoun Lee stretches the ball across the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown run on Saturday.

Both coaches agreed that Aaron Dykes’ two kickoff returns — a 100-yarder in the first quarter and an 88-yarder in the second quarter — were back-breakers. It’s the first time UD gave up two kickoff return TDs in a game since a 52-18 loss to McNeese State in the 1995 I-AA playoffs.

“Anytime you give up a kickoff return, it’s hard to win a game — giving up one,” said Richmond’s Russ Huesman. “Giving up two is extremely hard.”

“The thing that disappointed me the most is I thought their team played harder than our team did today — particularly in the first half,” said Delaware’s Danny Rocco. “They had four plays of 60-plus yards in the game. … At the end of the day, that’s the difference in the football game, you can shape it however you want.”

Delaware actually looked like it might still have a chance to pull out a victory when it grabbed the momentum in the third quarter.
A quick, two-play, 56-yard drive was capped off by a 29-yard scoring run from Will Knight (Smyrna). A defensive stop was then followed by a 16-play, 80-yard march.

Pat Kehoe’s 14-yard TD pass to tight end Bryce DeMaille got the Hens suddenly back within 28-25 with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter.

However, that’s when Richmond quarterback Joe Mancuso (21-of-29 for 280 yards) found Keyston Fuller (8 catches-161 yards) all alone down the sidelines for a 63-yard scoring pass. Delaware never really challenged again.
QB Pat Kehoe made his second start in a row, throwing for 164 yards and a TD.

The Hens had the ball only twice in the final 16 minutes. The Spiders killed off the last 7:43 of the game with a 12-play, 28-yard drive.

Richmond out-gained Delaware, 418 yards to 343. The Spiders also converted 7-of-12 third-down chances plus one fourth down.

“Defensively, we really struggled to get off the field,” said Rocco. “We did fight our way back into the game. … we just couldn’t quite get enough stops to really feel like we would be able to take control or take the lead.”

While quarterback Nolan Henderson (Smyrna) was cleared to play after suffering a concussion two weeks ago, Rocco stayed with Kehoe for the whole game. The senior completed 12-of-21 passes for 164 yards with the one TD and no interceptions.

Kehoe was sacked four times for 21 yards.

“Pat had more of the reps (in practice),” said Rocco. “Pat was not the reason we lost today. We were moving the ball well enough with Pat in the game to continue. I don’t really have any regrets on the decision.”

“We were moving towards where we wanted to be,” Kehoe said about the Hens’ third-quarter comeback. “But we weren’t able to maintain the momentum on our side.”
Safety Kedrick Whitehead came down with an interception off a tipped pass.

Knight made some more big plays, running for 101 yards and the TD on 13 carries while adding 45 yards on three receptions.

Richmond seemed to be particularly motivated by its one-point loss to Yale last week. The Hens, on the other hand, seemed somewhat uninspired — especially in the first half.

Rocco thought Richmond’s kickoff returns were a sign of it.

“You see it in every game, week to week, in a lot of teams,” he said. “It’s just a reality. Every week, you’re not firing on all cylinders, you’re not playing at your best, you’re not playing at your highest level. It’s disappointing.

“We’re young. That’s probably a factor in that. But you see it on other sidelines, too. It’s the old reality that, week to week, it’s a different game.”

Extra points

Besides his passing yards, Mancuso also ran the ball 15 times for a team-high 95 yards with a pair of short TDs. … DeJoun Lee added 55 yards and a five-yard TD on 16 carries with 120 yards on kickoff returns. … The Spiders are only 13-5 all-time in Newark. … Richmond’s Dykes finished with 260 all-purpose yards, including 226 on kickoff returns. … Whitehead (Middletown) had a game-high 12 tackles with an interception and a pass breakup. … Delaware didn’t have any sacks in the contest. … The Hens play a 2 p.m. game at Towson next Saturday.
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Richmond Spoils No. 19 Delaware’s Homecoming with a 35-25 Victory

10/26/2019 | https://richmondspiders.com/

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Richmond football team used a fast start and strong special teams play Saturday afternoon as the Spiders played spoiler in Newark, Delaware as the Spiders defeated the No. 19 Delaware Blue Hens 35-25 at Delaware Stadium in the Blue Hens' homecoming. The victory improves the Spiders to 3-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play while the Blue Hens fall to 2-2 in league action. The win marked the Spiders' third-straight CAA victory, the first time Richmond has accomplished that since winning four in a row in 2016.

Redshirt freshman Aaron Dykes (Knoxville, Tenn.) was the spark the Spiders needed, becoming the first player in program history to return to kickoffs back for touchdowns in the same game. His two kickoff return touchdowns ties the NCAA FCS record for a single game. Dykes had a 100-yard return in the first quarter and an 88-yard return in the second quarter for scores. He finished with a program-record 226 kickoff return yards, breaking the previous record of 222 yards held by Justin Rogers in 2007 against New Hampshire. He became the fourth Spider in program history with a 100-yard return.

Redshirt junior quarterback Joe Mancuso (Blairsville, Ga) led the Spiders offense, accounting for 375 yards off total offense and accounting for three touchdowns. Mancuso finished Saturday's game 21-for-29 passing for 280 yards a touchdown and an interception. He also led the team on the ground, picking up 95 yards on 15 carries and two scores on the ground.

Graduate transfer wide receiver Keyston Fuller (Griffin, Ga.) led the air attack, grabbing eight passes for 161 yards, including a career-long 67 yarder on the first drive to set the Spiders up deep in Delaware territory.

Defensively, the linebacking corps of freshman Tristan Wheeler (Bethlehem, Pa.) and redshirt senior Billy Caughell (Apopka, Fla.) led the charge. Wheeler finished with 11 stops, seven solo and a pass breakup, with Caughell adding 10 tackles, 1.5 for loss and a sack. Senior captain Daniel Jones (Williamsburg, Va.) added eight tackles, one for loss and a pass breakup.

Richmond finished with five sacks on the day, attacking Delaware quarterback Pat Kehoe all game long. Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Kobie Turner (Clifton, Va.) led the way with two sacks on the day.

The Spiders led the entire game, taking the opening drive in four plays for the opening score. Mancuso connected with Fuller on a 67-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage setting up the score that was capped by a nine-yard run by Mancuso. The Spider defense held Delaware on its first possession and took its second drive 87 yards on 10 plays for their second touchdown. The ground attack covered 57 yards on the drive, including 42 yards by Mancuso, capping on a one-yard scamper by the quarterback for the 14-0 lead.

Delaware got on the board on the ensuing possession, using just four plays to drive 64 yards and taking 1:40 off the clock to cut the lead to 14-7. Dykes helped the Spiders respond with his first kick return touchdown of the afternoon, taking the consequential kick 100-yards for to push the Spider lead back to 14 points at 21-7. The 21 first quarter points are the most for the Spiders in an opening quarter since scoring 22 points in the opening quarter against Morgan State in 2014.

After Delaware got back on the board with a 32-yard field goal, Dykes and the kick return unit got all the momentum back on the Spider sideline, this time taking the kick off 88 yards to the end zone as the Spiders and Blue Hens went in to halftime with Richmond leading 28-10.

Delaware came out fast in the second half, using just 0:49 and two plays to get on the board, this time with a Will Knight 29-yard run. The two-point conversion attempt was good and cut the Spider lead down to 28-18. After a Spider punt gave Delaware the ball with 10:48 on the clock, the Blue Hens used a 16-play, 80-yard drive to score on a Pat Kehoe to Bryce De Maille 14-yard touchdown to cut the lead down to three at 28-25.

Richmond got the answer it needed on its very next possession. After Dykes took two carries for six and seven yards, respectively, the Spider offense got creative as it got Fuller matched up with a linebacker. Mancuso found him up the Spider sideline for a 63-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead back to 10 at 35-25.

After a Spider drive stalled inside the Delaware five, the Blue Hens drove the ball back out to midfield before the defense stepped up and forced a Delaware punt. Richmond took over with 7:43 remaining in the fourth quarter and refused to give the ball back as the Spiders used a 12-play 28-yard drive to run the clock down to 0:00 and secure the win.

The Spiders are back in action next week as they host the Stony Brook Seawolves at Robins Stadium on homecoming. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m.
=========================================
Blue Hens rebound by stopping UNH
Oct 19th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — The last two minutes were a heart-pounding race.

On one side was New Hampshire’s offense, moving steadily but deliberately down the Delaware Stadium turf.

And on the other side was the game clock, clicking away the seconds.

Which would happen first — would the Wildcats reach the end zone or would the clock hit zero?

Finally, UNH quarterback Max Brosmer’s pass to the end zone fell incomplete, the clock ran out and No. 24 Delaware could at last celebrate a hard-earned 16-10 victory over the No. 22 Wildcats before a relieved crowd of 16,730 on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

“It’s an experience,” senior defensive lineman Cam Kitchen said about the last-minute drive. “It’s definitely what you play football for. It’s fun. Your heart’s pumping. …”

And when the final pass falls incomplete?

“It’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders,” said Kitchen. “It’s like a sigh of relief.”
Former Smyrna High standout Will Knight gets loose for a 39-yard run late in the second quarter. Delaware sports information

Grinding out a victory meant a lot more than just surviving one last drive for the Blue Hens (2-1 CAA, 4-3 overall). It also was a measure of redemption for Delaware after its 42-7 rout at the hands of Elon last Saturday.

“This was one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in a long time,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco.

The veteran coach used the word ‘embarrassed’ to describe the loss to Elon.

“Me losing a game is not all that uncommon,” said Rocco. “But that score was different. There was something about that game that didn’t feel right. We had to kind of press all the buttons and have all the conversations and kind of clear our emotions. … At the end of the day you either respond or you don’t respond. And this team responded.”

“Everybody goes through adversity,” said running back Will Knight (Smyrna). “We didn’t let it down us. We just kept fighting. We knew that we had to come back this week.”

In a lot of ways, Delaware just played old-fashioned football in handing the Wildcats (3-1 CAA, 4-3 overall) their first conference loss of the season.

Playing without starting QB Nolan Henderson (Smyrna), who took a hard hit to the head against Elon, the Hens threw the ball only 16 times. Instead, they kept the ball in the hands of DeJoun Lee (23 carries-103 yards) and Knight (16-101), who both went over 100 yards.
Senior defensive lineman Cam Kitchen recorded a pair of sacks, including one on which he forced and recovered a fumble. Delaware sports information

On Delaware’s only touchdown drive of the afternoon, the Hens covered 74 yards on a combined five running plays from Knight and Lee. Knight broke off a 39-yard run before Lee capped off the march with a nine-yard scoring run that tied the contest at 10-10 with 1:11 left before halftime.

The rest of Delaware’s scoring came from the right leg of Jake Roth, who made three of four field goals in the game. His 33-yarder in the third quarter and 29-yarder in the fourth quarter with 2:46 remaining accounted for the only second-half points.

“We talked about how it was going to be a dogfight and we were going to pound it,” said Lee. “Will and I talked about it — if we have a good game, this team has a good game. Obviously the ‘O’ line had a great game.

“We knew what we were getting into and we were excited about it. That’s what football is about.”

“On the way home (from Elon) on the plane, I told Jared (Ambrose) we need to get big and run the ball,” said Rocco, referring to his offensive coordinator. “As we put some drives together, we did have that rhythm where you know we were going to get five, we were going to get six, we were going to get seven or eight (yards). … We didn’t finish drives in the end zone the way you need to but it played out in our favor.”

The Hens’ defense did the rest, putting together one of their most complete performances of the season. Both UNH scoring drives came after interceptions, at the Delaware 34 and 31, in the second quarter.

Along with limiting the Wildcats to only 251 total yards, the Hens forced three turnovers. None of those turnovers were bigger than an interception by redshirt-freshman cornerback Amonte Strothers at the UNH eight yard line with 9:28 left in the game.

Kitchen also had a big game with two sacks, two pass breakups and a strip sack and recovery in the fourth quarter. The Hens had three sacks in the game after recording just one in their first six games.

“We have a lot of young guys that are very hungry,” said Kitchen. “It’s definitely something we’ve been waiting on doing.”

On the game’s final drive, the Wildcats marched 57 yards on 13 plays. They had a first down on the Delaware 22 with 10 seconds left.

On the first play, Brosmer’s pass was deflected and almost intercepted by linebacker Drew Nickles just short of the goal line.

Then on the last play, Brosmer (16-of-33 for 160 yards) tried to find Charles Briscoe running toward the sideline but led him out of bounds.

“There’s always hope if you’re willing to fight and if you care,” Rocco said about rebounding from last week’s loss. “This team cares, our coaches care. We’ve got fight and we’ve got passion. It was an ugly game in a lot of ways. We wanted it to be that.

“We had just enough firepower to find a way to win the game.”

Extra points

Delaware linebacker Matt Palmer had nine tackles and a first-half interception. … Senior quarterback Pat Kehoe completed 9-of-15 passes for 94 yards with the two interceptions. … Tim Poindexter also had nine tackles. … The Hens did give up three more sacks for losses of 32 yards. … Redshirt freshman QB Anthony Paoletti got in on a couple plays, completing a five-yard pass and getting sack for a 17-yard loss. … Roth’s other field goal attempt, from 52 yards, was long enough but hit the right upright.
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No. 22 'Cats Fall at Delaware
10-19-19 - New Hampshire Wildcat Football News

DURHAM, N.H. – Senior cornerback Prince Smith Jr. (Philadelphia, Pa.) intercepted a pair of passes to lead another strong effort by the No. 22 University of New Hampshire defense, but the Wildcats came up just short in the end and dropped a 16-10 decision at No. 24 Delaware on Saturday afternoon in Delaware Stadium.

Evan Horn (33) leads the Wildcats onto the field at Delaware Stadium
The loss snapped UNH's four-game win streak. The Wildcats are 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware is also 4-3 overall and the Blue Hens are 2-1 in the CAA.

The Wildcats are off next weekend and return to action with a game against Villanova on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. for STEM Day. Group tickets for UNH home games start at $9 and are available at www.unhwildcats.com or by calling 603-862-4000. Group ticket options include all-you-can-eat barbecue seating in the Touchdown Tents.

Max Brosmer went 16 of 33 for 160 yards
Freshman quarterback Max Brosmer (Roswell, Ga.) led the Wildcats down the field in the closing minutes in search of a winning touchdown. UNH had a first down at the Delaware 22-yard line with about 30 seconds to play, but three passes fell incomplete and the game ended.

Smith leads the team with three interceptions this season and also is the career leader with 11.

His picks of quarterback Pat Kehoe came on back-to-back Delaware possessions in the second quarter and directly led to UNH's two scores.

Carlos Washington Jr. scored a 4-yard TD to give UNH a 10-3 lead 
Kicker Jason Hughes (Atkinson, N.H.) took advantage of the first and matched his career-long with a 45-yard kick to tie the game at 3-3 with 6:08 left in the half. Sophomore Carlos Washington, Jr. followed the second interception with a 4-yard run with 3:23 left to cap a short drive and put UNH up 10-3 with 3:23 to go. Delaware tied the game at 10-10 with its only TD of the game just before the half.

Washington paced the UNH ground game with 12 carries for 60 yards.

Sophomore safety Pop Bush (Nocatee, Fla.) led the Wildcats with 10 tackles and junior safety Evan Horn (Lebanon, Pa.) had nine tackles. Senior defensive end Josh Kania (Milton, Ga.) had two of UNH's three sacks and sophomore defensive tackle Niko Kvietkus (Southington, Conn.) had the other.

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Elon Earns Statement Victory with 42-7 Defeat of No. 15 Delaware
10-12-19 - https://elonphoenix.com/

ELON, N.C. – Elon University football scored 35 second-half points on the way to a convincing 42-7 CAA Football victory Saturday afternoon, Oct. 12, against No. 15 Delaware at Rhodes Stadium.

"This was a great team win," said Elon head coach Tony Trisciani. "In the locker room before the game, we talked about having to put everything together today, and I feel like we did – offensively, defensively, special teams, we won the game in all three phases. We're really proud of our guys how everybody bounced back, and we're real proud of our guys for this win."

THE RUNDOWN
Leading 7-0 at halftime, Elon punted on its first possession of the second half before scoring on each of its last five possessions of the afternoon. Pinning Delaware (3-3, 1-1 CAA) deep on its 10 after opening the half with the ball, the Phoenix defense pushed UD backwards and forced a punt that set Elon up at the Delaware 49. After a jet sweep to Kortez Weeks that went for two yards, De'Sean McNair picked up a blind-side blitz and Davis Cheek connected with Matt Foster from 47 yards out to go up two scores.

The long ball opened the gates for the Elon offense with the Phoenix going on to add 28 more points in the game's final 18:42. Bryson Daughtry scored his second collegiate touchdown with a three-yard sweep to the left pylon and Greg Liggs, Jr. picked off Pat Kehoe two plays later and returned it 42 yards for Elon's second pick-six in as many seasons. Elon continued to put Delaware away in the fourth quarter with McNair finding the end zone twice to cap the 42-7 victory.

Elon also made multiple max-effort plays on defense to keep the Blue Hens off the scoreboard in both halves. In the first half nearing halftime, Kehoe connected on a 33-yard pass to Thyrick Pitts with Liggs stopping the gain at the two-yard line. After the Elon defense held UD out of the end zone on the ensuing rush, the Phoenix forced a takeaway with Zack Monson falling on a fumble at the two to give Elon the ball with 1:15 to go before the break to keep the game 7-0. In the final two minutes with a 35-point lead, Cole Coleman kept Delaware off the board by poking a fumble free on the one-yard line to stop a 31-yard touchdown pass. The effort kept Delaware from adding to its total with the ball going out the back of the end zone for a touchback. Elon then took over and ran out the clock with Mark McGuire making his collegiate debut in the final 99 seconds.

STATISTICS
Passing
Elon: Davis Cheek – 22/25, 259 yards, 1 touchdown
Delaware: Pat Kehoe – 14/24, 175 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Rushing
Elon: Jaylan Thomas – 7 carries, 55 yards
Delaware: Will Knight – 11 carries, 69 yards

Receiving
Elon: Bryson Daughtry – 6 receptions, 93 yards
Delaware: Thyrick Pitts – 4 receptions, 69 yards

Defense
Elon: Cole Coleman – 16 tackles, 12 solo, 1 forced fumble
Delaware: Kedrick Whitehead – 7 tackles, 3 solo

NOTES
-Elon's 42 points match the most in a CAA Football game to date for the Phoenix. It ties the 42 Elon put up in its road win at Richmond last month.
-In beating Delaware, Elon has now defeated every CAA Football team in the league. Delaware was the only remaining program Elon had not defeated in three attempts.
-Davis Cheek's 22-for-25 day marked his best performance to date under center, completing 88 percent of his passes for 259 yards to mark the most passing yards Cheek has thrown for this season. He completed a perfect 13-of-13 in the second half after going 9-for-12 in the opening frame. 
-Elon's pocket protection did not allow a sack on the afternoon and only allowed one tackle for loss all day.
-De'Sean McNair now has four two-touchdown games in his career with two of those outings coming in 2019. The other this season came in the opener at No. 19 North Carolina A&T.
-Cole Coleman's 16 tackles are the most in a game thus far for the sophomore. Coleman has now recorded double-digit tackles in two of Elon's last three games, also making 12 stops against No. 2 James Madison. He has 35 tackles over the course of Elon's last three games to lead the team with 57 this season.
-Bryson Daughtry had a career high in both receptions and receiving yards, catching six balls for a team-best 93 yards.
-Matt Foster's 47-yard touchdown marks a career-long for the tight end. He caught 69 yards on the day with the 47-yard touchdown falling one short of his previous career high for total receiving yards.
-Joey Baughman scored the only touchown of the first half with an 11-yard rush. It marks the first touchdown of his career.

UP NEXT
Elon will have its first of two open dates on the schedule next weekend before going on the road to close the month of October with a visit to Rhode Island on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m. Elon will then return home for two in a row to host William & Mary and Maine on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9, respectively, at Rhodes Stadium.
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No. 15 Blue Hens suffer 42-7 shocker at CAA foe Elon
Oct 12th, 2019 · by Delaware State News · Delaware State News

ELON, N.C. — After an open date last week, the Delaware football team thought maybe it was recharged and ready to go.
It wasn’t.

In an effort that may have been just as surprising as their narrow loss to Pitt two weeks ago was, the No. 15 Blue Hens got steamrolled by Elon, 42-7, in a Colonial Athletic Association football game on Saturday afternoon.

The Phoenix (2-2 CAA, 3-4 overall) ran off 28 unanswered points to begin the second half before posting the program’s first win over Delaware (1-1 CAA, 3-3 overall) in four all-time tries.

Blue Hens coach Danny Rocco didn’t mince his words after the game.

“I was very disappointed, I mean pretty embarrassed basically, how it all played out,” he said. “We’ve been down this year several times and came out of the locker room and performed in the second half.
Blue Hens QB Nolan Henderson runs the ball as Elon’s McAllister Ingram (18) waits for him. McAllister was ejected for helmet-to-helmet contact on the first-quarter play while Henderson suffered a concussion and did not return.

“We just didn’t have it in us today. I don’t really know exactly why but defensively we couldn’t get stops. … Offensively, we had a drive or two late but never really gave ourselves a chance.”

Adding injury to insult was the fact that Delaware lost starting quarterback Nolan Henderson to an illegal hit late in the first quarter.

The Smyrna High grad was sliding down after a short run when he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Elon defensive back McAllister Ingram. Henderson’s helmet flew off and he also hit his unprotected head on the ground.

Ingram was ejected and Henderson did not return to the game.

Former starting QB Pat Kehoe took over but with only limited success. The senior completed 14-of-24 passes for 175 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Late in the first half, the Hens drove 36 yards to the Phoenix two. But Kehoe fumbled there as Elon went into halftime still leading 7-0.

Then, after the Phoenix opened up a 21-0 third-quarter lead, Kehoe threw an interception that was returned 42 yards for a touchdown that broke the game open.
Delaware linebacker Sal Mauro brings down an Elon ball carrier in Saturday’s game.

“I think we felt Pat was ready and Pat was able to step in there and perform,” said Rocco. “As the game unfolded, he certainly did some good things.

“Without a doubt, Nolan is a different kind of quarterback for us. We did have quite a few things in the game that were very much suited to his skillset. But that’s not really why the game went the way it did.”

It was 35-0 before Kehoe threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bryce DeMaille with just 8:54 remaining.

Of Delaware’s 319 total yards, 158 came on its last two possessions of the contest. Elon finished with 435 yards.

The Hens didn’t help themselves, as they finished with seven penalties for 53 yards. They had been averaging just 2.6 penalties, the best in FCS.
Senior QB Pat Kehoe played the final three quarters after Nolan Henderson was injured.

“We did a lot of things that were very uncharacteristic of who we’ve been to this point,” said Rocco. “In this moment I can’t offer the ‘why’ as to why or how that happens.”

Delaware returns home to host New Hampshire next Saturday afternoon. With tougher opponents waiting ahead, this was a perplexing way for the Hens to start their stretch of seven straight conference games.

“We’re going to take a big step back and kind of reassess where we’re at,” said Rocco. “We certainly are going to have to do a better job in the second half of the season. I can only be hopeful that we’ll come back fighting and hungry and ready to go back to work.

“This is one Saturday afternoon. We didn’t play well but really nothing went our way. Those errors sand miscues kind of mounted on us. It’s very hard to dig yourself out of a hole when you’re down four scores. That was our fate out here today.”

Extra points

Will Knight (Smyrna) finished with a team-high 69 yards on 11 carries. … Starting running back DaJoun Lee, who returned from injury, had 29 yards on seven carries. … Khory Spruill had 19 yards on four carries in his first actin of the season while Andre Robinson didn’t play. … Thyrick Pitts had fou catches for 69 yards. … DeMaille added 69 yards on just two receptions. He looked like he was going to score his second TD late in the game but the referees ruled that he fumbled just before he crossed the goal line. … Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown) and Noah Plack each had seven tackles.
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Gannon Headed Into National QB Hall of Fame
10/1/2019 - bluehens.com

PHOENIX, Ariz. – One of the greatest to ever put on the Delaware uniform had another honor added to his already loaded trophy case this past week.

Blue Hen great and longtime NFL standout Rich Gannon was announced as part of the 2019 class for the National Quarterback Hall of Fame in Phoenix, Arizona. He will be honored at the 2019 NQBC Awards Dinner and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on January 17, 2020. 

Gannon played 17 years in the NFL including six seasons with the Oakland Raiders beginning in 1999. He excelled in Oakland and was selected to the Pro Bowl following his first year as a Raider. Gannon would make four straight Pro Bowl appearances, which included two consecutive Pro Bowl MVP honors in 2001 and 2002 – a feat that no other NFL player has ever achieved.

In 2000, 2001, and 2002, Gannon was named National Quarterback of the Year by the National Quarterback Club, and AFC Player of the Year by the NFL. 

In 2002, Gannon was named NFL MVP throwing for 4,689 yards and 26 touchdowns and recording a career-high 97.2 passer rating, which helped the Raiders advance to Super Bowel XXXVII. He led the league in 2002 with 418 completions on 618 attempts and 26 TDs.

Rich Gannon grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended St. Joseph's Preparatory School where he would earn three varsity letters each in football and All-City honors. He would also earn multiple varsity letters in crew and basketball.

Gannon was a three-year starter at the University of Delaware. As a sophomore, Coach Tubby Raymond plugged Gannon into the famed Winged-T offense with a play book based entirely on Gannon's mobility. Rich Gannon made the offense explosive during his first year as a quarterback winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division I-AA Rookie of the Year award. Gannon set 21 school records, logging 7,432 of total offense, including 5,927 passing yards with 462 completions on 845 attempts.

His career included stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs before joining the Raiders. He retired in 2005 after his seventeen years in the NFL yielded 28,743 yards passing and 180 TDs.

Upon his retirement, Gannon joined CBS Sports as an NFL game analyst in 2005. 
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Nickles Takes Home CAA Defensive Player of the Week Honors

9/30/2019 bluehens.com

RICHMOND, Va. – Playing in the city known for hard-nosed football and the 'Steel Curtain' defense, sophomore Drew Nickles of the University of Delaware did his best to embody the city he was playing in this past Saturday.

Nickles put together his best collegiate performance as the Blue Hens nearly took down ACC foe Pitt in a tough 17-14 loss in front of over 40,000 at Heinz Field. 

The Upper Black Eddy, Pa. native finished with a career-high 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for Delaware. 

"Drew's done a good job for us and is one of those guys that continues to get better every week. He's a critical part to us playing in that middle of the defense and I thought had one of his better performances this past week at Pitt. We're excited to watch him improve as the year goes on," head coach Danny Rocco said. 

On just the second play of the third quarter, Nickles made a tackle and on the way down stripped the ball from the Pitt player to set the Blue Hens up with prime field position. Delaware would score just three minutes later to take a 14-10 lead, a lead that would hold up until 10 minutes left in the contest. 

"I'm proud of the way we fought as a team and we can definitely take some positives from the game. Obviously, it's no fun losing, no matter who you're playing, but I thought we took some steps and did some good things that we'll look to take into the bye week and build upon as we enter conference play," Nickles said. 

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QB Nick Patti, Pitt hobbles to victory against Delaware

Jerry DiPaola | Saturday, September 28 2019
https://triblive.com/

Pat Narduzzi growled the words like a parent whose kids just let him down.

“Critical errors all over the place, 13 penalties, ridiculous,” Pitt’s coach said.

“I don’t think we came out with the emotion. We came out flat.

“Blame me for that because we have to come out revved up and ready to go every week.”

Does this sound like the rant of a winning coach? No, but that’s how Narduzzi left Heinz Field on Saturday, desperately and thankfully clutching a 17-14 victory against Delaware, an FCS team that needed three overtimes to beat Rhode Island.

Speaking of needs, Pitt needed a 100-yard drive (thanks to one of those penalties) to erase a fourth-quarter deficit and improve to 3-2 in front of an announced crowd of 44,141.

Narduzzi lamented the hard fact many college coaches face:

“Sometimes, it’s hard to get them going,” he said. “The emotion we had or didn’t have and the penalties drive me nuts.”

But the other reality is Pitt had just enough to win on a day when it almost didn’t have enough players.

“We got a character football team that found a way to win,” he said. “Some teams will find a way to lose.”

Pitt was hit hard by injuries last week, the most significant of which was quarterback Kenny Pickett, who fell on his shoulder against Central Florida and barely practiced this week. He was one of 10 regulars who were unavailable Saturday, including top running backs A.J. Davis and Vincent Davis, cornerback Jason Pinnock, linebacker Chase Pine, safety Jazzee Stocker and four others who didn’t play last week.

In stepped redshirt freshman Nick Patti, who threw a touchdown pass last week in relief of the injured Pickett. This time, he was steering the ship for four quarters.

Patti completed 23 of 37 passes with touchdowns to running back V’Lique Carter (30 yards) and wide receiver Taysir Mack (12). He also threw Pitt’s first interception since the opener.

What he did best, though, was take the ball at Pitt’s 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter, staring at a 14-10 deficit, and lean on a running game that suddenly found its feet. Todd Sibley came off the bench to rush for 106 yards and become the first Pitt running back to reach the century mark this season.

Shrugging off a 10-yard holding penalty by guard Bryce Hargrove, Patti led the winning drive. On third-and-17, he threw a 48-yard jump ball that Mack wrestled from cornerback Riah Burton at the Delaware 15-yard line. Then, he hit Mack with a pinpoint pass, leading him into an open area of the end zone for the decisive score.

That gave Pitt its winning margin with 10 minutes, 33 seconds to play. The defense, which recorded six sacks for the third time this season and only allowed touchdown drives of 21 and 41 yards, did the rest.

There was hope Pickett could play — Narduzzi didn’t make up his mind until 45 minutes before kickoff — but Patti said he prepared all week like he would start.

“I don’t think Kenny was 100 percent,” Narduzzi said. “I did warn our kids earlier in the week. I don’t care who goes. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a letdown.

“Maybe there was a letdown. Maybe everybody thought Kenny was going to play. It comes down to health. I don’t want to put anybody in harm’s way. He goes out there and tweaks it, we’ll all be kicking ourselves in the tail. I thought we could go out there with Nick Patti and win the football game. We, obviously, did. Not in a pretty manner, but we got the ‘W.’ ”

Patti wasn’t sacked, a first for a Pitt starting quarterback this season, and limited his mistakes to a couple of bad throws and an interception that set up a Delaware touchdown.

“We don’t really get in that panic mode,” he said. “We have some veteran guys, and we know how to win.”

But Patti, 19, said he didn’t panic, even when Delaware was ahead in the fourth quarter.

“Just (having) composure and confidence in yourself,” he said, explaining the root of his demeanor. “Staying consistent throughout the game was a challenge, but I tried to get better as the game went on and learn things as the game went on.”

Pitt’s hope is the use of replacement players will prepare the team for the upcoming seven-game ACC stretch that will define the season.

“I was glad Nick was able to get out there and make some plays,” Narduzzi said. “It’s going to make us that much stronger as the season goes on.”
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Hens put scare into Pitt, fall 17-14: Panthers rally to avoid upset by UD
Sep 28th, 2019 · by Delaware State News · Delaware State News

PITTSBURGH — For three quarters, Delaware was living the dream.

Against a major-college Pitt program it got crushed by five years ago, the Blue Hens were up by four going into the fourth quarter.

But the Panthers woke up just in the nick of time, putting together a winning drive early in the fourth quarter to hold off Delaware, 17-14, before a Heinz Field crowd of 44,141 on Saturday afternoon.

The 20th-ranked FCS Hens (3-2), who were thumped by P{tt (3-2) by a 62-0 margin in 2014, never really had a chance to retake the lead after the Panthers got a 12-yard touchdown pass with only 10:33 remaining.

Delaware netted just two yards on its final two drives and punted on its final five possessions.

Overall, Pitt out-gained the Hens, 443 yards to 170, in total yards.

“I thought we went toe to toe,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco. “That was the thing that I wanted our team to be able to do. We really talked about how it comes down to one-on-one matchups — their ability to go toe to toe with the man across from them. I thought a lot of our guys did that at a high level.”
Junior receiver Gene Coleman finished with five catches for 61 yards and a TD for the Hens.

Two big turnovers helped give Delaware a shot at the huge upset.

With the Hens trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Tim Poindexter intercepted a pass at the Pitt 41. Six plays later, quarterback Nolan Henderson fired a quick seven-yard touchdown pass to receiver Gene Coleman.

Coleman (5 catches-61 yards)spun to the outside and made a nice fingertip catch on the play that tied the game at 7-7 with 6:28 left in the first half.

While the Panthers were able to answer with a short field goal that gave them a 10-7 advantage at halftime, the Hens’ defense came up with another big turnover to start the third quarter.

This time, linebacker Drew Nickles stripped a Pitt receiver for a fumble recovery at the Panthers’ 21.

Five plays later, Henderson sprinted out to his right and fired a low five-yard scoring pass to receiver Jourdan Townsend. The true freshman came back to make a diving catch for the TD that put the Hens ahead, 14-10, with 12:53 left in the third quarter.

In his second career start, Henderson completed 14-of-31 passes for 127 yards with the two TDs and no interceptions. But the Smyrna High grad was also under constant pressure and was sacked six times.

Pitt’s ability to control the line of scrimmage limited Delaware to just 43 rushing yards.

The Hens’ longest second-half drive came late in the third quarter when they marched 56 yards on 10 plays to the Pitt 39. But the drive stalled there and Delaware was forced to punt.

Outside of that drive and the short touchdown march, Delaware netted negative-six yards on its other four second-half possessions.
UD quarterback Nolan Henderson (14) talks with receiver Jourdan Townsend after the two hooked up on a five-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

“Offensively, we had our moments,” said Rocco. “We certainly made some plays in the game. We won some matchups both in the passing game and in the run game. But, all-in-all, their defense was a little much for us.

“I think, as the game wore on, we were playing with bad field position and it was just less and less likely that we were going to get something going there.”

But there was still the matter of the Panthers scoring enough points to pull out the win. Pitt had trouble sustaining drives behind backup quarterback Nick Patti (23-of-37, 271 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), who made his first start.

However, on a third-and-17 at its own 37 in the fourth quarter, Patti found receiver Taysir Mack on a 48-yard bomb. Three plays later, Patti fired a 12-yard scoring strike to Mack on a crossing pattern to give the Panthers the lead for good.

Mack had a pair of catches over 40 yards to finish with 124 yards on five receptions.

Once the Panthers took the lead, there wasn’t much the Hens could do to take it back.

Delaware looked like it would have one last chance with Pitt punting with 1:30 remaining. But the Hens went for the block, were called for roughing the punter and the Panthers ran out the clock.

Getting a block was really Delaware’s only realistic chance at scoring, If not the Hens would have had the ball at their own two with 1:18 on the clock.

“The odds of us going 98 (yards) was pretty slim with that defense out there,” said Rocco.
Delaware coach Danny Rocco makes a point to player Tim Poindexter during Saturday’s game at Heinz Field.

The good news for Delaware is that it has an open date next weekend. But the Hens would also like to carry some momentum from Saturday’s effort into the CAA portion of its schedule, which continues on Oct. 12 at Elon.

“We’ve got to really move this thing forward,” said Rocco. “We’ve got to be excited for the second half of our season.

“We came up here to win so we came up short. We did not accomplish our goal. But I am very proud of our team and our coaches. We’ve got some tough kids. We’ve got some kids that want to fight, kids that have the will to win.

“Today we played a team that was pretty darn good,” he added. “Most likely they’d beat us more times than not. The rest of our schedule, we don’t have a team like Pitt. Hopefully that can lead us forward to playing a higher level of ball when we get back in the CAA.”

Extra points

Safety Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown) posted 13 tackles with Nickles adding 12 for Delaware. … Will Knight had a team-high 40 yards on nine carries with two catches for 11 yards. … Pitt is now 17-1 all-time vs. FCS opponents. … Blue Hens’ kicker Jake Roth missed a 36-yard field goal in the first half, making him only 4-of-9 for the season.

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Pitt Survives Scare against Delaware
9/28/2019 https://pittsburghpanthers.com/

PITTSBURGH (AP) Backup quarterback Nick Patti capped a fourth-quarter drive with a touchdown pass to help Pitt survive a scare from Delaware, 17-14, on Saturday.

Patti, who started in place of Kenny Pickett, directed an eight-play, 90-yard drive, finding Taysir Mack in the end zone from 12 yards out. The long drive put the Panthers (3-2) in the lead for good after an unexpectedly close battle with the Blue Hens.

A pair of short fields after Pitt turnovers led to touchdowns for Delaware. After a Patti interception in the second quarter, Nolan Harrison passed 7 yards to Gene Coleman II to tie the game.

When Maurice Ffrench fumbled in the third quarter to give Delaware (3-2) another short field, Henderson hit Jourdan Townsend with a 5-yard score to give the Blue Hens a four-point lead.

That's when Pitt responded with the long drive from Patti, who finished 23 of 37 for 271 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while making his first career start. He relied heavily on Mack, who had five catches for 124 yards.

In addition to Pickett, Pitt played without top running backs A.J. Davis and Vincent Davis.

Todd Sibley Jr. saw his most extensive action at running back, with 22 carries for 106 yards for his first career 100-yard rushing performance.

THE TAKEAWAY
Delaware: The Blue Hens had one shot against a Power Five team on their 2019 schedule, and they made an impact by taking Pitt to the wire. The question will be whether they can translate that showing at the FCS level where Delaware plays in a Colonial Athletic Conference that features six ranked teams, including the Blue Hens.

Pitt: Despite the win, the slog over the Blue Hens sapped any momentum the Panthers may have had coming off an upset over then-No. 15 UCF a week ago. The absence of Pickett is concerning for the Panthers' offense. He entered the week fifth in the FBS in completions per game.

UP NEXT
Delaware: Continues a two-game road swing by visiting Elon.

Pitt: Returns to ACC play with a trip to 3-1 Duke next Saturday.
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Coach Pat Narduzzi Press Conference: Pitt vs. Delaware Preview
9/23/2019 https://pittsburghpanthers.com/

COACH NARDUZZI: Obviously it was a nice weekend that we were able to close a chapter out last night with our football team. It was a nice win for our kids, our coaches. A much needed one when really nobody else in the country was giving us a shot to win that football game. That's the sweetest thing about it.

I've said this every week and I continue to see an improvement from week one to two, two to three, and three to four, and I still think -- that's why we coach, that there's still room for improvement. I don't think you're seeing a finished product yet. And I think that's a good thing.

I think our schedule's been pretty firm as we've gone. And we need to keep our foot on the gas pedal this week because I think it's awful important with who we've got coming in here.

Again, stuff that we need to clean up that really bothers me. I think I talked about some of the positives that we did the other day. I think I did. I don't really remember, but we've got to work on ball security again this week. Ball security can get you beat really quick. Our two missed field goals that we cannot have.

I'm going to go on record saying we probably won't miss another field goal the rest of the year. Probably won't miss another field goal the rest of the year. We'll get that fixed. And the punt return for a touchdown -- and I talked last week with our kids about complacency. I sat right in here talking to them about, you know, punt team, you were really good.

I mean, Kirk has been as good, I guess in that two-weeks-ago game, as good as I've seen a punter punt here at Pitt. And I talked to him about complacency. You did it one week; can you do it again?

We go out, he was pretty good then it just takes one 58-yard punt with a 3.3 hang time to give that guy a chance to return it. And we've got a young gunner that comes down, doesn't turn it back in, we've got plenty of guys -- but again it's that complacency. You fix one thing one week and the next week it's bad again.

A week ago against Penn State, Rangers, our punt team, was bad. This week it's good. We make a play. It's like one week you fix one thing, the next week you gotta fix it. So we've got to be consistent in what we do in all three phases of the game.

Delaware, you know, coming in this week, again, great football team. Historic football team. They've got those wing helmets that are so historic. And coached by Danny Rocco.

History with Delaware for me goes way, way back to the old Yankee Conference. I've coached against them. I've played in games against them, three of them.

I was a little ball boy against these guys back in 1979. Jerry, I think you were 22 years old in '79. But I was a ball boy for them. (In) 1979, the only team we lost to at Youngstown State when my dad was head coach was Delaware.

I tell our kids all the time these games have got to be personal. It's personal for me. I'll never forget 1979. Never forget getting beat in Austintown Fitch Stadium or getting beat in the national championship game down in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Youngstown expected to win the championship. We didn't get it done because of Delaware.

And that was Tubby Raymond back in the day and Scott Brunner, the quarterback. If I was this big I could see the field and the locker room after the game. It's personal. So they've got a great football team.

Danny Rocco, again, Pittsburgh native. So they'll come back. I think they probably have 20 guys on their team from Pittsburgh probably. I know there's seven on the offensive side of the ball, I believe in two-deep. Bill Cubit, their assistant head coach, who you can tell has a lot to do with their offense as far as what they're doing.

Ambrose is obviously the offensive coordinator. But they do it as a team. And there's some similarities. The last time I played Cubit was I think 2013 when I was at Michigan State and he was at Illinois, played out at Illinois.

I see some of the same characteristics of what they do. So I think I'm familiar with it. I think Coach Bates is familiar with it. And those are good things. And then Chris Cosh who has been in the coaching profession for a long time is their defensive coordinator. He's coached everywhere.

They've got a very, very good coaching staff. They've got really good players and they will come in here ready to go and it's my job to get our guys to come back after a big win and get another one.

Q. You won on a pretty gutsy play call Saturday on fourth down. Is there any concession in the week leading up to it, following the Penn State game, that maybe between you and Coach Whipple about you want to be more aggressive in game situations later?
COACH NARDUZZI: Not really. Not really. We're always aggressive. It's like it doesn't matter. We'll be aggressive this week against Delaware. It doesn't matter. Like we always go in and have a Thursday checklist of is it conservative -- it's weird, again, it's typed up in our winner's manual-- game plan, conservative, gamble.

I always laugh and we always have weather; is weather going to be an issue? And it's always gamble. Every week I laugh, I say why do we have this conservative thing? Just throw it out; why do we even look at it? I don't think I'll ever be conservative. You'll make the best decisions for your football team.

I think, again, going back to that Penn State game, the fourth-and-one that we're afraid what defensive they're going to be in. That's a gamble especially where you are on that field.

If we don't get that one you guys are screaming and they score a touchdown on a drive, it's like you just lost the game. But we're gambling all the time. Every play is a gamble.

When you say that play is like a critical, they're all critical. If we watch tape together you'd see that I grabbed him in the huddle and said, 'Guys, we're going to go for it and you're going to make it and we've got to execute.' Comes down to execution.

But if one guy doesn't do his job, it becomes an ugly play. Becomes a gamble. The gamble is only if you don't execute. So the play was the play. It had a nice name. The whole deal. But just wait for the right time to call it against the right defense. Coach Whipple did a heck of a job. Hat goes off to him. He made the call, I listen to him and say I like it.

Q. What do you think is the issue with Alex Kessman and field goal kicking this season?
COACH NARDUZZI: I'm not going to get into -- what is he?

Q. He's three of eight.
COACH NARDUZZI: On field goals? I didn't even know that. I just take one game at a time. I know he's 0-for-2 on Saturday.

We won't get into specifics but my guess is it will get turned around. Maybe I should have done something earlier. Again I don't like mess to with kickers. I've talked to two kickers on game day, once at Clemson and once Saturday. You can probably add them up. I stay away from those guys. Only when they need it.

And so I don't know -- I shouldn't say I don't know what it is. I know what it is. I won't discuss it. But I think it will get fixed.

Q. What did you say to him after the second miss? Because you --
COACH NARDUZZI: I said, 'If you do that again I'm going to kill you.' (Smiles) No, you can ask Kess. I said to him, I said, 'Listen, don't worry about it; let it go. You're going to kick the game winner.' And I think he did. That's all I said to him.

Q. Without getting into specifics, a lot of guys went down on Saturday. What's the overall health of your team?
COACH NARDUZZI: I think we're pretty good. I think we're pretty good right now. We may not have one guy, I don't know, we may have them all. But, again, banged up but nothing bad, which is a good thing. So I feel good right now.

Q. More specifically on that final drive you were without Pinnock and Mathis at corner?
COACH NARDUZZI: Which is a good thing, isn't it? I mentioned we had 27 players, I believe, play on defense the other day. And you're playing a pretty darned good football team, as we all know. And the most impressive thing: we played guys, they stepped up, made plays.

Therran Coleman, my hat goes off to that guy. And Marquis Williams, they're waiting, begging, whining, complaining -- which they should; when do I get my chance? But you look at those three corners -- Pinnock, Mathis and Dane Jackson -- put this really good guy -- I mean you kind of sometimes have to wait your turn, but you had your turn, and you went in there -- Marquis made a nice play on a bubble, quick now and chopped the guy down.

They came in and did some stuff that you go, 'Okay, good, we can trust you.' And sometimes you don't know. It's hard to trust someone until you give them a chance to go. And that's the hardest thing as coaches. You want to play your best players to win football games. So that was a good thing those guys came in there. Now, makes us even that much stronger.

Q. Do you expect Mathis and Pinnock to play on Saturday?
COACH NARDUZZI: Yes.

Q. Seems like in all of football, there are more injuries--
COACH NARDUZZI: Why do you keep talking about injuries? (Smiles) One question, two, three, and you know I'm not talking about it, but you know I'll get after you. Okay, what have you got?

Q. Seems like in all levels of football there's a lot of injuries. Is the game changing now? Are players too big, too fast?
COACH NARDUZZI: Too big, too fast, too soft, I don't know what it is. It's not like it was in the old days. I don't know what it is. I think sometimes it's overuse. When I say overuse it's the constant, when you're in third grade, you're playing five sports.

I don't know what it is. But everybody's got him in a camp here, he's going there. These moms are driving them all over the place. You hear about it. But I think there's a long-lasting effect on these kids. So who knows what it is.

I'm not a trainer. I'm not a doctor, but I think a lot of times it's doing too much for so many years, eventually wears you out. Seven-on-sevens now compared to what they were 20 years ago, a lot more.

Q. You were down two defensive linemen. It was a hot day. They ran it 34 times, averaged two and a half yards per run. What does that say about your defensive front and how they elevated their play after their injuries?
COACH NARDUZZI: Still wished we had Keyshon Camp and Rashad Weaver, I keep saying that. I look at it all the time, man, what if we had those two guys? Because they're difference-makers.

But Coach Bates and Charlie Partridge together have done a great job with the D-line. And again credit goes to those guys. It goes to our football players that are continuing learning. If you walk by the D-line room over there they're always in there watching tape trying to figure out what that team's doing and how can I get better.

We type notes in after practice on the computer. Kids are sitting at home watching on their iPads, just like you guys have your computers open and their watching it and seeing the critique. Then they're coming in the next day watching it with the coach again and getting the same critique or more.

It's called develop your players, your young players, and that's what we have to do. And we're stuck in a jam there. The scary part was that was a scary part; your D-line is down. Also your DBs are beat up. We're putting new guys in here, and we're playing a team that's snapping the ball in eight seconds. You're like, 'Oh, boy.' You look upstairs and say a prayer.

Q. Did you play 27 players on defense four years ago?
COACH NARDUZZI: That's a long time ago.

Q. Three years ago?
COACH NARDUZZI: I don't remember. I can't even remember last year if we played 27. I don't know how many players we played against them last year. I just know there were some guys in there. Add in (Camp) and Weaver into that and you've got more.

We played 20 -- I want to say 25 on offense, 37 on special teams, if my numbers are correct.

Q. How comfortable were you with, I think Patti had to play a little bit? How do you think he did?
COACH NARDUZZI: Obviously he played really well. He made some plays. He got out of trouble, made some plays with his feet. But it's one of those guys. Again, I talked about Therran and Marquis, the same thing with Nick Patti on the other side of the ball. I'm fired up that he got to go in. And we had our plan of him going in and having a series already going into that game.

So we wanted -- when he did go in it wasn't because -- I think the first time he went in, Kenny was still in with him, if you guys recall. But we had a little couple things that we wanted to do with them, and we'll continue to maybe expand that package every week about what we can do with him because he can run. And he's tough. And again he can throw the ball as well.

He's got -- again he was our scout team quarterback a year ago so I know what he's got. He's got his tail beat in and he keeps coming back for more, so I know who he is. Didn't surprise me, but you know what, on game day when the lights are on it's a big-time game, you never know what's going to happen.

He showed us what he's going to do when he gets in there. Gives Coach Whipple, the offensive staff and myself more confidence if he has to go in there that we're good.

Q. How familiar are with you Andre Robinson, the Delaware running back and a former Penn State guy who had offers from Pitt and Michigan State?
COACH NARDUZZI: I don't know where I was. I don't remember the name. I've watched No. 10 run around. He's a big physical back. He's a good football player, and someone that we've got to have our eyes on. But they've got a few of them back there.

The other guys to mention, No. 33 here, DeJoun Lee and Will Knight, two other guys that are really good backs. One is a transfer from Old Dominion as well. So they've got guys on scholarship too. They're a good football team. They're well-coached and they're tough.

Q. Twyman is currently fourth in the country in sacks. What can you say about his continued growth?
COACH NARDUZZI: He just keeps getting better. I've talked about it every week. I don't care about the sacks or what he did four games ago or two games -- he got zero sacks this week.

So nobody cares what we did last week or what we did the week before. Everybody cares about what we're going to do this Saturday at 12:30. And I want to see him get another sack.

We'll look at all those stats. I have no clue where he was. Thanks for telling me; I don't care. But I mean it doesn't matter. Where is he going to be at the end of the year? If he's No. 1 or 4 that's good. If he drops because he's -- I hope he doesn't know that. That's why I hate these phones. These phones right here, I'm going to try to maybe tell our team -- I'm going to maybe see if I can buy them all flip phones. They can't look at anything, just flip phone. They can call mom, call your girlfriend. But you can't go on the Internet, can't go on Twitter. It's a good thing.

Q. Another stat you might care about. You're second in the nation in passing attempts, 180.
COACH NARDUZZI: We're second in the nation in pass attempts? No wonder we're not running the ball very good. You don't run it, you can't get yards.

Q. Is that a stat you like or do you prefer less?
COACH NARDUZZI: I don't care about stats. I care about Ws -- Ws, wins and losses. That's how you're graded. You're not graded about how you do it, how many times you blitz, how many times you play base, how many times you play quarters, how many times you play two. Doesn't matter. It matters how many times you win. We try to win. Doesn't matter what we have to do to win.

Q. Are you surprised that you've thrown it that much this year?
COACH NARDUZZI: Two games you're behind and you're trying to catch up. Really three games in the fourth quarter you're behind. How you -- I don't remember if we were behind or not, but you look at three games we've been behind. And we were ahead last weekend, and then the fourth quarter we find ourselves having to play catch up. We talked about the opener where you're down and you're throwing it 19 times in the fourth quarter.

So that doesn't surprise me any. And we like to throw the ball, too. And Kenny throws it pretty good and the receivers are catching it pretty good right now. So you do what you do to get first downs.

And, again, we're throwing the ball and still winning the time of possession the last two weeks, and that's important. Time to possession is key. If you're moving the sticks down the field that's good. I'd still like to score more.

Q. Making a game personal, as a coach, do you do this every game? I'm curious if there's a connection to it, you almost have to --
COACH NARDUZZI: I've got a little kid connection. So it's personal for me. Maybe not personal for him, but each one of us in some way has to find out what gets you going and who are you playing for. And to me it has to be personal. Someone's coming in here next Saturday and wants to hit you in the mouth. It becomes personal real quick.

If it's not personal going in, it's going to be personal after the first play. And to me you've got to have that mindset going in that it's personal. And to me there's always an extra flavor every week to a game. And this is a big game.

Q. With Tipton out, Dontavius is listed first at wideout, backed up by Shocky and then Jared Wayne. What has Jared shown you to earn a spot --
COACH NARDUZZI: To not earn a spot?

Q. To earn a spot as a top backup.
COACH NARDUZZI: Jared, we talked about him back in camp, out on the patio back there. He's done a great job. Wish we would have got him in more maybe Saturday. So Jared and Shocky both are doing a nice job. So it's kind of in those big games getting them in there and you're trying to win the game. It's no different.

I don't want to take Pinnock out of the game. I don't want to take Mathis out of the game. I want to keep all those guys in there. It's just little by little, we kind of give them a little bit. And Dontavius every week keeps making a play. And you just kind of let him go. And those guys will get more reps as we continue. We're going to need them to.

Q. Erick Hallett, he's listed as a safety, but I think he was running nickel for you guys too?
COACH NARDUZZI: Erick Hallett can play corner and safety. He's kind of a both. He's a great football player. Really excited about him. This week he started in our nickel package on third down when we were able to get in a true nickel package.

We wanted to do that so we could keep Pinnock out there to start with. We know Erick Hallett's a great player. Didn't want to have a, 'Okay, Pinnock needs to go to corner, we need to put a new star in there.' We didn't want to get into that with the tempo and have confusion. That was kind of narrowing it down.

I would say this week J.P. would probably be back at the star just because they tempo. They're a no-huddle team, but they kind of go a little slower than what we saw this past weekend.

So we'll kind of get back to what we do, I think. But Erick Hallett is a good football player. He played really well in the game. He can play corner. He can play star. He can play safety. We move him around. You could say he might be the third or fourth corner if we could afford to put him in there.

We thought it was really important to have him in the safety position last week and play. We wanted to give Damarri -- Damarri's going to need a blow. And we want our best cover we could on the number two receiver, and that's why we had him in there. We were able to press our slot receiver a little bit as far as the game plan goes -- with our field safety.

Q. On the punt block, was there something you saw, or did Aaron Mathews just go out and make a play?
COACH NARDUZZI: Aaron made a play. But there was something we saw. We thought we could get after it. But we do every week. I laugh at Andre Powell, who does a great job on special teams. 'I think we can really get them this week.' 'Hey, last week you said we could get them and you didn't get a block.'

You'd like to have one every week, but every week we think we're going to get one. And every week we're going to have a block and a return in of some sort that we try to go after them. But he did a great job making a play and then Wendell, scoop and score. And Aaron Mathews came back and got a nice block to get him in the end zone too.

Q. Did your offensive line make strides?
COACH NARDUZZI: I think they did. I think we had three winning performances on the offensive line, three out of four. I think our inside guys are really good. I'd like to see our tackles be a little bit better. But winning performance. We won.

So the O-line played well. And I think every week we'll get a little bit better at that position as well.

Q. Were you scared at all when Aaron Mathews went airborne?
COACH NARDUZZI: Scared? No. He's good. What I get scared about is guys after that thinking let me go jump too, because as a defensive guy you jump, I'm going to get you. And you saw the helicopter last week, you can't do that all the time. So you do it but don't do it all the time.

Q. Maurice looked like he was ready to do it.
COACH NARDUZZI: He wanted to because they see it and go, 'Oh, that was good.' And everybody goes 'whoo.' Then they want to get an 'ooh,' and sometimes an 'ooh' is like 'ah.' And that's not so good.
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Panthers Cap Nonconference Slate by Hosting Delaware
9/23/2019 https://pittsburghpanthers.com/

PITT (2-2, 0-1 ACC) vs. DELAWARE (3-1, 1-0 CAA)
September 28, 2019 • 12:30 p.m., ET
Heinz Field (68,400/Natural Grass) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
RSN (AT&T SportsNet) • Pitt Panthers Radio Network

Game Storylines
• Pitt plays its final non-conference game of the season when it hosts Delaware. Following their encounter with the Blue Hens, the Panthers will close the regular season with seven consecutive ACC contests.

• Both teams are coming off thrilling one-point victories. The Panthers knocked off No. 15 UCF, 35-34, halting the Knights' 27-game non-bowl winning streak. Delaware rallied from a 14-point deficit to edge Penn, 28-27.

• Delaware is one of the most accomplished programs on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. The Blue Hens have been to the NCAA playoffs 21 times in their history, and have won six national championships.

• Pitt and Delaware have met just one prior time: a 62-0 season-opening win by the Panthers in 2014. James Conner rushed for 153 yards and four TDs in that victory at Heinz Field.

• The Panthers have played 17 prior games against FCS opponents and are 16-1 in those contests. This will be the sixth consecutive season that Pitt has played an FCS team dating back to 2014.

• Pitt boasts one of the country's most productive pass catching tandems in senior Maurice Ffrench (fourth nationally with 7.8 receptions per game) and junior Taysir Mack (15th with 6.8).

• Junior quarterback Kenny Pickett has an active streak of 139 passing attempts without an interception (second longest in FBS). Pickett's 1,102 total passing yards rank 16th nationally.

• Pitt has displayed a potent pass rush, collecting 18 sacks through four games. The Panthers rank fourth nationally with an average of 4.5 sacks per game. Sophomore defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman ranks fourth with 1.38 sacks per contest (5.5 total).

Series in Brief
Series Began: 2014
Series Overall: Pitt leads 1-0
At Pittsburgh: Pitt leads 1-0
At Delaware: DNA
Last Meeting: Aug. 30, 2014 (Pitt 62, Delaware 0)
Current Series Streak: Pitt has won 1 (2014)
Longest Pitt Series Win Streak: 1 game (2014)
Longest UD Series Win Streak: DNA
Largest Pitt Victory Margin: 62 points (62-0, 2014)
Largest UD Victory Margin: DNA

Broadcast Information
Television • RSN (AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh)
Tom Werme (play-by-play), James Bates (analyst), Lyndsay Rowley (reporter)

Pitt Radio • 93.7 The Fan & Pitt Panthers Radio Network
Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Pat Bostick (analyst), Larry Richert (reporter)

SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Sirius Channel 99, XM Channel 194, Internet Channel 956

WPTS Radio (Pitt Student Station) • 92.1 FM

Online Audio
937thefan.radio.com
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Knowing the Grind: Blue Hens Pull Through In Penn Win
9/21/2019 10:29:00 PM By Andy Lohman (@Loh_rider)

A college football season is a grind. It's next to impossible to be at 100% for every day of a 12-game schedule. Head coach Danny Rocco noted in the postgame press conference that the triple overtime win at Rhode Island and the battle with No. 1 North Dakota State took a physical and emotional toll on the his No. 20 Delaware team.

So while the Blue Hens' 28-27 win over Penn Saturday afternoon may not have been the most complete game, the fact that Delaware came back from a two-touchdown second-half deficit to move to 3-1 on the season is something to be celebrated.

"There's a lot of things to go back and dissect and look at. Yet, the big news is that we won," Rocco said. "The big news is another game where we were trailing significantly, down two scores, we were able to come back and find a way to win. That's a real statement about the character of your kids and your program and the commitment level of your student-athletes."

After the Quakers took at 21-7 lead after the first drive of the third quarter, the Delaware offense kicked into its most efficient gear of the afternoon, scoring touchdowns on three of its next four drives.

It started with a Nolan Henderson scramble on 2nd and long with a lunge for the first down marker. A Penn personal foul tacked on to the end of the play moved Delaware deep into Quakers territory, where redshirt senior running back Andre Robinson broke free for a 25-yard gain to get Delaware into the red zone. Henderson found junior wide receiver Gene Coleman II's back shoulder in the corner of the end zone to cut the lead to 21-14.

On the next drive, it was sophomore tight end Bryce De Maille with his team-leading third touchdown of the season, burning the Penn defense on a 17-yard wheel route score to tie the game. Redshirt freshman running back Will Knight had broken several tackles earlier in the drive on a 23-yard rush to get in scoring range.

The Blue Hens went ahead for good in the fourth quarter when Knight punched it in from six yards out, his first rushing touchdown in a Delaware uniform. The score was set up by a 45-yard catch by redshirt sophomore Thyrick Pitts the previous play, where he dragged a Penn defender for several yards before eventually being taken down.

The game looked in jeopardy late in the fourth quarter when Penn returned a punt for a touchdown, but the Quakers failed to complete a pass on what would have been the go-ahead two-point conversion. Robinson gained a crucial first down on the final drive of the game that allowed the Blue Hens to run out the clock and seal the win.

Stray Observations

The defense was at its best in the third and fourth quarters. After it scored to start the third quarter, Penn failed to score on any offensive possession, punting three times and turning the ball over on downs once. The fourth-down stop came at the start of the fourth quarter when senior defensive end Brandan Hall stuffed Isaiah Malcome on third down, and sophomore linebacker Drew Nickles stuffed Karekin Brooks on fourth.
As the offense was struggling in the first half, the defense also came up with two huge turnovers to halt Penn drives. Late in the first quarter, redshirt junior Sal Mauro batted a pass at the line of scrimmage that fell into the hands of Nickles. Later as the Quakers were driving in the second quarter, redshirt freshman safety Noah Plack delivered a punishing hit on Ryan Cragun, popping the ball loose. Redshirt freshman linebacker Anthony Toro jumped on the fumble to swing momentum back to the Hens.
Toro had his most productive game in a Delaware uniform to date, finishing with the fumble recovery and five tackles.
Pitts is developing into a solid deep threat for the Blue Hens. The receiver from Manassas, Va., finished with five catches for 128 yards (25.6 yds/catch), including two for over 40-yard gains.
The offense started the game hot, marching down the field for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. Robinson had a 29-yard burst on a screen pass aided by a Mario Farinella downfield block to enter Penn territory. The next play, Pitts ran a great route to get separation and catch his second touchdown of the year.
Although the Blue Hens didn't record a sack, they applied significant pressure on Penn quarterback Nick Robinson in the second half, forcing him into several errant throws and limiting the Quakers' production.
For just the second time in the past 13 games, the Blue Hens didn't have a single turnover all afternoon. Henderson, in particularly, tossed for three TDs with no interceptions in his first collegiate start. 
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PENN Football Falls Just Short At #20 Delaware, 28-27
September 21, 2019
NEWARK, Del. – So close.

The University of Pennsylvania football team went toe-to-toe with No. 20 Delaware, coming up one point short in a 28-27 loss to the Blue Hens that served notice to Ivy League football fans.

The Quakers (0-1) outgained the Blue Hens (3-1), 462-360, and were especially dominant on the ground where the Red and Blue amassed 269 yards to Delaware's 100.

If there was any questions about the mindset and attitude of the Quakers this season, they were answered when Isaiah Malcome took a Delaware punt 69 yards to the house for a touchdown to bring the Quakers within one with 2:24 to play. The offense went on the field, looking for the 2-point conversion and the lead. Nick Robinson's pass was just short to Karekin Brooks and the Blue Hens gained the one first down needed after a failed onside kick attempt by Penn and held on.

The Malcome punt return sparked a Penn team which had seen a 21-7 lead turn into a 28-21 deficit with 7:36 remaining in the game. A pair of Nolan Henderson third-quarter touchdown passes had tied the game, 21-21, and a Will Knight six-yard touchdown run had given Delaware its first lead since a 7-0 advantage just 2:29 into the game.

After Delaware touchdown, Penn had an apparent 3rd-and-9 conversion called back for an illegal shift, and the Quakers eventually punted to the Delaware 19. Adan Conyer eventually would haul down Henderson for a 12 yard loss and force the Blue Hens to punt.

Malcome would take that punt at his own 31, shake by the first man and then blow through the remainder of the defense for Penn's first punt return for a touchdown since 2010 to setup the deciding two-point play.

In his first start since 2017, Robinson was 18-for-27 for 193 yards and three touchdowns. His three touchdown passes helped the Quakers turn a 7-0 deficit into a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter.

Karekin Brooks ran 28 times for 158 yards, averaging 5.6 yard a rush. In addition to his 69-yard punt, Malcome ran nine times for 73 yards and caught one pass – a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Ryan Cragun made quite the impression in his first varsity game as the sophomore caught eight passes for 145 yards. Senior Kolton Huber caught three passes – two of them for touchdowns.

Defensively, Mohammed Diakite was busy in the secondary with 11 tackles. David Ryslik had seven tackles and a sack, while Adam Conyer had six tackles and a sack for a loss of 12 yards.

How It Happened
The Blue Hens looked like a team with three games under their belts in 2019, marching 70 yards in 2:29 to take a 7-0 lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Nolan Henderson to Thyrick Pitts.

Delaware marched again inside Penn territory on its second drive, but the Quakers held and the Blue hens attempted a 38-yard field goal which sailed wide ride.

With momentum, the Quakers took advantage and marched 78 yards on 11 plays for their first touchdown of 2019. Nick Robinson threw for 50 yards on the drive, including a 4-yard pass to Kolton Huber to get Penn on the board.

Penn looked to add points on its next drive, but a Robinson pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and returned to the Delaware 27. The defense picked up the offense, though, with a big hit from Jason McCleod, Jr, on first down followed by a similar stick from Jake Heimlicher on third down to force a Delaware punt.

On their next drive, the Quakers cashed in for a 14-7 lead. Isaiah Malcome was the story of the drive with a 46-yard run to open it and a 1-yard reception to end it. All total, the Quakers covered 66 yards on seven plays in 2:51 for the lead.

The Red and Blue again held on defense and forced a punt, but a second turnover ended the Penn drive. Cragun caught a pass over the middle for what would have been a first down, but Noah Plack got his helmet on the ball and knocked it loose with 0:56 left in the half. For the second time, though, Penn's defense answered and forced a Delaware punt. Malcome bobbled the punt, but was interfered with and the Quakers took the ball and a 14-7 lead into halftime.

The Quakers marched down the field to open the second half, with Robinson throwing a second touchdown pass to Huber – this one a 12-yarder on 4th-and-1 to give Penn a 21-7 lead.

Delaware would answer with two consecutive scores to tie the game with 3:10 left in the third quarter. Each score was a pass from Henderson, with a 17-yarder to Bryce De Maille bringing the score level, 21-21.

The Red and Blue were stopped on 4th-and-2 from the Delaware 43 early in the fourth quarter, Brooks coming up just short. Again, Penn's defense stood tall and forced a Delaware field goal, and again Roth missed – this time a 44-yarder that sailed wide right with 11:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Delaware regained the ball as Penn's ensuing drive stalled quickly, and a 45-yard Henderson pass to Pitts quickly had the Blue Hens on the doorstep. One play later, Knight scampered in from six yards out to give Delaware the lead, 28-21.

Two Karekin Brooks rushes for 31 yards to open Penn's next drive had the Quakers quickly into Delaware territory, but the penalty on third down forced a Penn punt and set the stage for the defensive stand which led to Malcome's return score.

Notes To Know

Karekin Brooks now has run for 2,002 yards over his Penn career – making him just the 11th Quaker all time to reach the 2,000-yard mark.
The Quakers last two losses have come to ranked teams following a loss at No. 9 Princeton to close 2018 and the loss at No. 20 Delaware today.
Isaiah Malcome's 69-yard punt return touchdown was the first by a Penn player since Bradford Blackmon ran one back 53 yards at Yale in 2010.
Robinson's 12-yard touchdown pass to Kolton Huber on 4th-and-1 was Penn's first 4th down conversion since the 2017 season. The Quakers were 0-for-7 on fourth downs last year.
Robinson's three touchdowns match his total from all of last season and tied his career high for a game. His 18 completions are a new career high in a game.
Malcome set career highs in rushes (9), rushing yards (73), longest rush (46) and punt return yards (69). His touchdowns were the first of his career.
Kolton Huber's two receiving touchdowns match his career total entering the game.
Karekin Brooks ran for 158 yards, his first 100-yard game since going for 191 at Sacred Heart last season. In his three most recent games, Brooks had rushed for 108 yards total.
The Quakers hit the road for Week Two, visiting Lafayette on September 28 at 3:30 p.m.
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Henderson-Hens rally past Penn
Sep 21st, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

Smyrna High grad Nolan Henderson threw three TD passes in his first start. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

NEWARK — Delaware had worked really hard to overcome a 14-point deficit against Penn on Saturday afternoon.

And then the Blue Hens almost threw it all away in one careless moment.

The Quakers’ Isaiah Malcome broke off a 69-yard punt return that put Penn in position to tie the score with just 2:24 left.

But Penn coach Ray Priore decided to go for a two-point conversion and the victory, the pass fell incomplete and No. 20 Delaware was able to escape with a 28-27 win over the Quakers on a hot Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.

“I said on the radio (post-game show), ‘Get used to it, because we’re going to have a few more games like this,’” said Blue Hen coach Danny Rocco. “I’m just hopeful that we can find a way to finish and win those games.”

The dramatic finish overshadowed a big performance from sophomore quarterback Nolan Henderson in his first collegiate start. The Smyrna High grad completed 20-of-29 passes for 260 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Fittingly then, it was Henderson’s old friend and former Smyrna teammate, Will Knight, who put the Hens (3-1) ahead for good on a six-yard touchdown run with 7:36 remaining.

Ultimately, however, it was Jake Roth’s PAT kick — which put Delaware up 28-21 — that provided the winning point.

As expected, Henderson’s elusiveness in the pocket ended up being important, even though he was sacked three times.

“This guy’s going to be a great player — I’m not saying he isn’t one right now,” Rocco said about Henderson. “To be the starting quarterback, in your first start, and get a dramatic fourth-quarter win, it’s a big deal. And that’s something we need to celebrate.”

“I think his biggest asset was his ability to keep the play alive,” said Priore. “He was very, very quick in the pocket.”
Will Knight (25), a Smyrna High grad, is congratulated after his six-yard TD run with 7:36 left put the Hens to stay.

“It was definitely special,” said Henderson. “It’s definitely a blessing to be able to start for a program like this. But I really just tried to treat it like another game.

“I’ve been out there before. The only difference is I’m coming out for the first play.”

It looked like it might be a much more comfortable win for Delaware when Henderson and the Hens started the game with a quick five-play, 72-yard scoring drive. Henderson completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive including a 29-yarder to receiver Thyrick Pitts for the touchdown.

Pitts also had a big day, finishing with five receptions for 128 yards.

But the Quakers (0-1), who were playing their season opener, took over after that. Penn built a 14-7 halftime advantage.

It might have been worse than that, too, except for an interception by linebacker Drew Nickles and a fumble recovery by linebacker Anthony Toro.

But in a game where Penn out-gained Delaware, 462-360 in total yards, the Quakers didn’t go away in the second half. An eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter put the Hens in a 21-7 hole.

Finally, though, Delaware woke up.

The Hens scored the game’s next three TDs. Henderson found Gene Coleman for an 11-yard TD pass and then tight end Bryce DeMaille for a 17-yarder that knotted the score at 21-21 with 3:10 left in the third quarter.

Finally, Knight (7 carries-46 yards) swept in for his six-yard TD run that capped off a five-play, 65-yard march and gave Delaware its 28-21 with 7:36 left in the game.
Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell Delaware tight end Bryce DeMaille is congratulated after his 17-yard touchdown catch tied the game at 21-21 with 3:10 left in the third quarter.

On each team’s next four drives after Penn took its 21-7 lead, the Hens out-gained the Quakers, 239 yards to 76. The only thing that almost kept Delaware from winning was Malcome’s 69-yard punt return and the ensuing two-point attempt.

On the two-point conversion try, Penn quarterback Nick Robinson (18-of-27 for 193 yards, three TDs) had some time to look for a receiver. But his low throw to a receiver just inside the end zone hit the turf.

The Quakers tried an onsides kick but it went out of bounds. A strong run by Andre Robinson (12 carries-61 yards) gave Delaware a first down before it ran out the clock.

Safety Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown), who had a career-high 14 tackles, said the Hens just tried to play good defense on the climactic two-point conversion attempt.

“At the time, you’ve just got to keep your composure,” said Whitehead. “Even if they do score, we know our offense has the capability of driving the field. Of course, we’re going to do our jobs. But we knew, at the end of the day, we had the weapons even if it didn’t go our way.

“That was exciting,” he admitted about seeing the pass fall incomplete.

After a four-overtime win over Rhode Island followed by last week’s loss to No. 1 North Dakota State, Rocco had the feeling the Hens might be a little worn down on Saturday. He tried to do some things to compensate, like substituting players frequently.

In the end, Delaware had just enough to get past Penn.

“It’s been a tough stretch,” said Rocco. “It would have been very unlikely that we would have been at our best today.

“I called upon other people to step up today. We purposely substituted a lot more today. Some how, some way, in that formula, there was just enough to be there and secure the victory at the end. I was proud of the way we competed.”

Extra points

Henderson did gain 33 yards on 13 carries, including 16 on one run. But he netted minus-two yards, in part because he was sacked three times. … Henderson’s 260 passing yards were the most for a Delaware QB in his first start since Trent Hurley in 2012. It was more than Matt Nagy, Joe Flacco and Pat Devlin had in their debuts. … The Hens was called for only one penalty, their lowest total since they also had only one against Wake Forest in 2016. … Besides his interception, Nickles was also in on a fourth-down stop with 14 minutes remaining. … Penn converted 7-of-8 third-down opportunities in the first half but was only 2-for-7 in the second. … Delaware played again without injured starters DaJoun Lee (running back) and Johnny Buchanan (linebacker). … The Hens, who were facing Penn for the first time since 1983, are now even at 3-3 in the all-time series. … Delaware goes to Pittsburgh next Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. contest.
=================================================
No. 1 N.D. State dominates Blue Hens 47-22; Smyrna products Henderson, Knight shine for UD
Sep 14th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

NEWARK — Unlike last year, Delaware made a couple good plays early against North Dakota State.

But, just like last year, any good plays the Blue Hens made were way too few and far between to matter against the mighty Bison.

Looking like the No. 1-ranked FCS team it is, North Dakota State shook off an early two-point deficit to steamroll No. 22 Delaware, 47-22, in its first visit to Delaware Stadium before a crowd of 14,489 on Saturday afternoon.

For local fans, though, there was also a feeling of deja vu when the Hens’ pair of former Smyrna High stars — quarterback Nolan Henderson and running back Will Knight — saw considerable second-half playing time.

Knight ran for a career-high 115 yards on just eight carries while Henderson completed 9-of-12 passes for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While it was clearly too little, too late, the Smyrna duo also clearly gave Delaware’s offense some life after falling behind 27-5 at halftime.

The bottom line, though, is that seven-time FCS champion NDSU (3-0) is really, really good and the Hens (2-1) have plenty of work to do. The Bison out-gained Delaware 490 yards to 261 and held a 26-14 edge in first downs.

“I have said for quite some time, that is the model,” Delaware coach Danny Rocco said about NDSU. “That is the program that want to emulate. I’m really impressed with what I saw out there today.

“Having said that, I was very disappointed in our performance today. … We put our defense out there an awful lot in the first half — we kind of hung them out there to dry. The offense really had nothing to speak of in the first half.”

The Hens actually led the Bison (3-0) for the first time when, after stopping NDSU on a three-and-out on its opening possession, they blocked the punt. The ball went out of the end zone for a safety less than two minutes into the contest.

The Bison, however, intercepted QB Pat Kehoe at the Delaware 35 on the ensuing possession and were quickly in business.

Four plays later, NDSU scored on a one-yard run and the Bison had the lead for good.

When Ben Ellefson pulled in a five-yard scoring pass from QB Trey Lance (18-for-23, 195 yards, 3 TDs) with 30 seconds left before halftime, the Bison’s lead had swelled to 27-5.

At times NDSU manhandled Delaware’s lines, out-gaining the Hens, 268-29 in total yards in the first half. Under pressure most of the time, Kehoe completed only 2-of-8 passes for 11 yards in the first two quarters.
Smyrna product Will Knight rushed for 115 yards against North Dakota State. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Delaware’s longest offensive plays in the opening half were a pair of 10-yard runs by Knight and Henderson.

While there was never any doubt that the Bison would win — especially after they scored on the opening possession of the second half to stretch their lead to 33-5 — Knight and Henderson at least made things interesting.

In the fourth quarter, Henderson found Gene Coleman on a seven-yard scoring pass. It was the first offensive TD Delaware scored in its two games against NDSU.

Later, he scrambled away from pressure and found receiver Chichi Amachi, who made a diving catch for a 44-yard scoring pass.

“With their defense, you can’t really get to your last read,” said Henderson. “It’s one, two and then you’ve kind of got to get out and try to make something happen. They’re just a great team. They’re good for a reason.”

Henderson also gained 38 yards on eight carries, although he did lose 20 for a net total of 18. Along with his rushing yards, Knight added 46 yards on three receptions.

Rocco likes what he’s seen from Knight, the Old Dominion transfer, who caught the winning touchdown pass in the Hens’ triple-overtime win at Rhode Island last week.

“He’s elusive and fast,” said Rocco. “He’s got that suddenness to go up inside the tackles and get into those creases — and then come out of the creases with speed. The really good ones can do that.”

“We have a lot to learn,” said Knight. “We came out slow and we need to do better at that, honestly. They’re a good football team — we can’t make mistakes like we did.”

Henderson was actually sacked more times (four) than Kehoe (three) but Rocco thought the sophomore’s mobility was needed against the Bison pass rush.

“Nolan gives us a different dynamic,” said Rocco. “He can throw the extraordinarily well but he does have the ability to extend some plays. It takes a little stress off your offensive line, they don’t have to be perfect there in the pocket. Nolan can make some plays with arm and obviously he can make some plays with his arm.

“That gave us a spark, no doubt — that and Will coming in there and running the ball.”

The obvious question was whether Rocco was considering changing his starting QB gong forward.

“It’s unlikely that I’ll make that decision right here in this moment,” he said in his post-game press conference.

Extra points

The Hens played without starting running back DaJoun Lee and linebacker Johnny Buchanan, who were both sidelined with knee injuries. … Defensive tackle Dominic Covatto left the game. Rather than injury, though, Rocco thought it was because of an illness he had during the week. … Defensive backs Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown) and Noah Plack had 10 tackles apiece. … Freshman Jourdan Townsend had a 59-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. … Delaware is at home again next Saturday to play a 1 p.m. game against Pennsylvania.
======================================================
North Dakota State Shuts Down Delaware Early in 47-22 Road Win

9/14/2019 - https://gobison.com/

NEWARK, Del. - Top-ranked North Dakota State held 18th-ranked Delaware to less than 100 yards of total offense through the first three quarters and cruised to a 47-22 victory Saturday, Sept. 14, before a crowd of 14,489 at Delaware Stadium.

NDSU freshman Kobe Johnson rushed for 101 yards on 11 carries, freshman Trey Lance was 18 of 23 passing for 195 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore Phoenix Sproles had three receptions for 72 yards as 10 different Bison players caught passes.

North Dakota State put up 490 yards of total offense and had a 340-92 advantage through three quarters.

NDSU's defense got pressure early and often. Eight Bison players combined for seven sacks and four of those came before halftime. Safety Michael Tutsie had a team-high 10 tackles and made his third interception in two games for the Bison.

Delaware didn't convert a third down until the fourth quarter when the Blue Hens finally put together scoring drives of 91 yards and 80 yards. Will Knight rushed for 115 yards on eight carries for Delaware while quarterbacks Pat Kehoe and Nolan Henderson went a combined 11 of 21 passing for 136 yards.

The win was North Dakota State's 24th straight dating back to 2017, the third-most consecutive wins in FCS history.

North Dakota State returns home to host UC Davis at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. The Aggies were 1-1 heading into Saturday night's game vs. Lehigh.

===================================================
Knight’s TD catch lifts Hens to wild 3-overtime 44-36 win over URI
Sep 7th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · Delaware State News

KINGSTON, R.I. — Will Knight probably won’t forget his first Delaware touchdown any time soon.

The former Smyrna High star running back scored the winning TD on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Pat Kehoe as the Blue Hens found a way to get past Rhode Island, 44-36, in three overtimes in an epic CAA football battle on Saturday night.

After Knight’s TD, the game was decided with the Rams facing a fourth-and-goal from the Delaware two.
Delaware cornerback Justis Henley celebrates after his game-ending interception. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell
Will Knight


With URI QB Vito Priore under pressure, cornerback Justis Henley stepped in front of a pass in the end zone for a victory-sealing interception.

A moment later, Delaware’s players were happily streaming onto the new artificial turf at Meade Stadium in celebration.

“The overtime was just crazy,” said UD coach Danny Rocco. “That’s the way those things are. We made one more play. I guess we’ve got one takeaway on the season and it assured a victory there in overtime.”


“It was an incredible game,” said Henley, who also had nine tackles and two pass breakups. “An incredible feeling and one of the best nights I’ve ever had playing football.

“This is why we play the game. This is what you fight for every day – nights like tonight.”


In a contest in which the No. 22 Hens (2-0 overall) trailed 13-0 at halftime, the game was tied 22-22 after regulation.

Both squads scored touchdowns on each of their first two OT possessions.

With Delaware getting the ball first in the third overtime, Kehoe found Knight, who came out of the backfield and beat a URI defender down the sidelines to pull in the go-ahead touchown. Kehoe then hit Owen Tyler on the required two-point conversion try.

On its ensuing possession, URI (0-2) had a first down on the 10 after a pass interference penalty. The Rams eventually reached the two where the Hens came up with the deciding stop.

Kehoe bounced back from a tough first half in which he threw three interceptions. The senior ended up 26-for-38 for 282 yards with five TD passes — and no more interceptions. He also caught a two-point conversion and threw for another.

Sophomore tight end Bryce DeMaille added five catches for 61 yards and a pair of touchdowns while senior running back Andre Robinson picked up a career-high 111 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

“We got off to a terrible start offensively,” said Rocco. “Our defense was extraordinarily resilient there in that first half and in the third quarter. They kind of kept us in the game. That thing could have gotten out of control.

“At halftime, I was very poised and very confident that we were going to win the game. I don’t know why I felt that confident about it but I knew we’d play better there in the second half — and sure enough we did.

“Pat got in rhythm a little bit. Nolan made some big plays with his legs getting some first downs. Andre Robinson ran the ball really, really hard there in that second half.”

Another Smyrna grad, quarterback Nolan Henderson, made a couple big third-down running plays, finishing with 16 yards on four carries.
Trailing 19-14, Delaware drove for what looked like might be the winning touchdown in the closing minutes of regulation. Kehoe rolled out and hit sprawling fullback Tyler for a one-yard scoring pass.

The Hens used a trick play for what turned out to be a crucial two-point conversion. Using the ‘Philly Special’ play that the Eagles made famous, receiver Thyrick Pitts took a handoff on a double reverse and threw to a wide-open Kehoe to give Delaware a 22-19 lead with only 1:22 remaining in regulation.

But that was enough time for the Rams to complete a long pass play that set up a tying 43-yard field goal by C.J. Carrick with just :19 seconds left.

After trailing 13-0 following a lackluster first half, Delaware stormed back to grab a 14-13 lead on a pair of Kehoe scoring passes. The longest of those TD tosses was a 66-yarder to receiver Chi Chi Amachie, who was all alone behind the URI defense.

Amachi had 72 yards on three receptions with Pitts adding 66 yards on four receptions.

For the Hens, the dramatic comeback win avenged a tough 21-19 loss to URI in Newark a year ago. On Saturday, the Rams were playing their first night home game in over 30 years and debuting their newly-renovated stadium.

Delaware doesn’t play another CAA game until October. The Hens host No. 1 North Dakota State next Saturday at 1 p.m.

The victory was the 700th in Delaware history, making the Hens the seventh FCS program to reach that plateau. Delaware’s proud tradition is something that means a lot to Rocco.

“I talk so much about legacy,” he said. “I talk so much about understanding and appreciating our role in that and this moment in time. It’s such a privilege to represent the University of Delaware and all those other coaches and players and teams that have come before us.

“For team 128 to go out there and start the way we’ve started, and get our 700th career win, puts us in pretty rare company. I’m really proud of that, I’m proud of our kids tonight.”

=================================================
Rams Fall in 3OT Heartbreaker to No. 21 Delaware, 44-36
Sep 07, 2019  https://www.gorhody.com/

How It Happened
Playing under lights for the first time since the 1972 season opener, Rhode Island dropped a heartbreaker in triple-overtime, falling to No. 21 44-36 Saturday night.

On fourth-and-goal from the Delaware 3-yard line, Justis Henley picked off a pass in the end zone to end the thriller. The Blue Hens had taken the lead in the third overtime when Pat Kehoe hit Will Knight for a 1-yard touchdown.

Earlier in overtime, Rhody (0-2, 0-1 CAA) had taken a 36-29 lead following a 25-yard touchdown pass from Vito Priore to Ahmere Dorsey. The Rams appeared to be one play from clinching the victory when Brandon Ginnetti sacked Kehoe for a 7-yard loss on third-and-11 on Delaware's ensuing possession.

However, a pass interference call negated the play. Given a third-and-1, Delaware (2-0, 1-0 CAA) picked up the first down on an 8-yard run by Andre Robinson. On first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, three runs by Robinson made it fourth-and-goal at the 6-yard line. Kehoe was able to find Bryce De Maille in the end zone to help Delaware tie the game and force the third and deciding overtime period.

Inside the Box Score

A crowd of 8,511 people attended the game, one of the largest crowds in Meade Stadium history. The largest was 13,052 on Homecoming against Boston University in 1984.
Senior wide receiver Aaron Parker set career highs with 12 receptions and 227 receiving yards. It was the most catches by a Ram in one game since Cy Butler has 15 against Massachusetts on Oct. 1, 1994.
It was the ninth time in program history a player had 200 receiving yards in one game, and the first time since Shawn Leonard went for 275 against New Hampshire in 2009.
Senior wide receiver Ahmere Dorsey had a huge game as well, scoring two touchdowns and accounting for 199 all-purpose yards. He had career highs with six catches for 99 yards - including a 25-yard touchdown reception. He also rushed for an 11-yard touchdown and had 66 kick return yards and 23 punt return yards.
Junior wide receiver Isaiah Coulter caught five passes for 77 yards.
Redshirt junior Vito Priore threw for a career-high 430 yards on 30-of-48 passing, including three touchdowns.
It was the eighth-highest single-game passing mark in program history, and just the 12th time a URI player has topped 400 passing yards. The last was Chris Paul-Etienne with 424 against New Hampshire in 2009.
Senior linebacker Branyan Javier-Castillo had 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one interception.
Senior defensive tackle Brandon Ginnetti had six tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack. He had a second sack that was negated by a penalty.
Redshirt senior safety Momodou Mbye had 10 tackles and one interception. It was his second interception of the season, and the sixth of his career.
Senior cornerback Malik Wilder had the third Rhode Island interception, his first as a Ram.
Senior cornerback Rashod Dickerson had six tackles, including one for a loss. He also broke up a pass.
Senior safety Brian Campbell and redshirt sophomore linebacker Jake Fire each had nine tackles. Redshirt senior defensive end Tez Wilson and redshirt junior defensive end Andre Bibeault added seven stops each.
Junior kicker C.J. Carrick was 3-of-4 on field goals, including a career-long 44-yard make with 19 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Senior wide receiver Ahmere Dorsey served as the game captain for Rhode Island.
Redshirt junior Andre Bibeault was the anchor bearer.

What's Next
Rhode Island will head into the bye week. The Rams are off until Saturday, Sept. 21 when they travel to New Hampshire for a 6 p.m. kickoff.
===================================================
Rams Host No. 21 Delaware in CAA Opener Saturday Night
Sep 05, 2019 https://www.gorhody.com/

THE BASICS
Delaware (1-0) at Rhode Island (0-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 7, 7:00 p.m. EST
Live Stats | Audio | Video | Game Notes 

RHODE ISLAND VS. DELAWARE - SERIES NOTES

Saturday will be the 33rd meeting between Rhode Island and Delaware, with the Blue Hens holding a 22-10 lead in the series.
Rhode Island has won each of the last two meetings, including a 21-19 victory in the season opener for both teams last season.
Rhode Island is 6-8 at home against Delaware.
Delaware comes into the game ranked No. 21 in both the STATS FCS and AFCA Coaches Top 25 polls. 
The Blue Hens were ranked No. 15 in the country last season when Rhode Island defeated the Blue Hens. It was Rhody's first win over a ranked opponent since 2011. 
Delaware redshirt senior center Mario Farinella and senior punter Nick Pritchard both were named to the CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team. 

RAMS, BLUE HENS TO STREAM ON FLOFOOTBALL.COM

Saturday's game will stream on FloFootball.com as part of CAA Football's partnership with FloSports.com.
Stone Freeman will be on the call for the game.

FIRST NIGHT GAME IN MORE THAN 40 YEARS AT MEADE STADIUM

When the team's kickoff, it will be the first night game played in Kingston in 47 years.
The 1972 season opener was played under the lights as the Rams defeated Hampton, 27-0.
Rhode Island's Meade Stadium underwent a facelift during the offseason, as synthetic turf and stadium lighting were installed as part of a $4.1 million project.
Saturday is the first of two night games scheduled at home this season. The Rams also will host Stony Brook under the new lights on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The $4.1 million project was made possible through a pair of $1 million donations from University alumni. James Clappin '80 and a second, anonymous donor each made generous $1 million gifts, and the University will contribute $1.1 million through an auxiliary fund. The remainder of the money is being raised through other means. 
The synthetic turf provides a resilient surface, allowing for back-to-back events as well as use during or immediately after inclement weather. It will equip the facility to handle the demands of varsity, club, and intramural teams.

PARKER EXPLODES IN SEASON OPENER

Senior Aaron Parker was the most productive wide receiver in CAA Football in the first week of the season, catching nine passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
The receptions and receiving yardage were both league highs for the week.
It marked the 10th time in his career that Parker has topped 100 receiving yards in a game.
Parker is now fourth in URI history with 22 touchdown catches. He has passed Shawn Leonard, who had 21 from 2006-09.
Parker also moved into fifth all-time with 2,363 receiving yards, passing both Leonard (2,353 from 2006-09) and Cy Butler (2,348 from 1993-96) Saturday.
With 51 more receiving yards, Parker can move into the top three in receiving yards in program history. Next on the list are Darren Rizzi (2,426 from 1989-92) and Bobby Apgar (2,431 from 1993-95).
Parker is second among all active FCS-level players with his 2,363 receiving yards. Only Sam Houston State's Nathan Stewart (3,786) has more. 

PARKER SIX AWAY FROM EXCLUSIVE CLUB

Senior Aaron Parker has 144 catches, which ranks eighth in program history.
With six more receptions, he would become the sixth player in Rhode Island history to reach 150 with the Rams.
The others with 150 in their careers were Brian Forster (284 from 1983-85, 87); Brandon Johnson-Farrell (198 from 2008-12); Cy Butler (189 from 1993-96); Dameon Reilly (165 from 1983-85) and Darren Rizzi (160 from 1989-92).
Ahead of Parker on URI's all-time receptions list are Bobby Apgar (145 from 1993-95) and Tony DiMaggio (149 from 1982-85). 

COULTER ALSO FINDS THE END ZONE

Junior wide receiver Isaiah Coutler also had a touchdown catch last week at Ohio.
It was the fifth career touchdown grab for Coulter. 
It also was the fifth time that Coulter and Aaron Parker have caught a touchdown pass in the same game.
Coulter and Parker are cousins who both came to Rhode Island from Gwynn Park High School in Maryland.
Despite coming from the same high school program, Parker and Coulter had never been teammates before playing together at URI.
With 869 career receiving yards, Coulter needs just 131 more to reach 1,000. 
===========================================================
Hens to play Navy again in 2022

Sep 5th, 2019 · by Andy Walter Delaware State News

NEWARK – Delaware has played its share of memorable football games against Navy over the years.

UD announced on Thursday that it’s going to revive its rivalry with the FBS Division I Midshipmen.

The Blue Hens will face Navy in 2022, marking the first time the two programs have played since 2013.

“It’s important for us to give our student-athletes the opportunity 
to compete against quality opponents and that’s exactly what this game 
signifies,” Delaware coach Danny Rocco said in a press release. “In 
addition, any time you play against a service academy institution it 
adds a little bit extra because of the dedication and sacrifice that 
those institutions represent.

“We know that there’s a lot of history in this series and we hope our fans are just as excited as we are.”

The two programs have met 17 times, with the last meeting coming in 
2013. Navy holds the overall series advantage 10-7 with 14 of those 
games coming in Annapolis, Md.

The Hens are regularly scheduling FBS schools now, with upcoming 
games slated against N.C. State (2020), Rutgers (2021), Navy (2022) 
and Penn State (2023 and ’27).
===========================================================
Hens crush Hornets 31-13: QB Kehoe stars as UD now 9-0 vs. instate rival
Aug 29th, 2019 · by Andy Walter · DELAWARE STATE NEWS

NEWARK — It took nine games, but Delaware State finally did something it had never done against Delaware in football before.

The Hornets held a lead over the Blue Hens.

Unfortunately for DelState, that only seemed to get Delaware’s attention.

The 22nd-ranked Hens answered with 28 straight points after falling behind in the second quarter to eventually post a 31-13 victory over DelState before a Delaware Stadium crowd of 15,894 in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night.

The win gave Delaware a 9-0 all-time record in the matchup of the state’s only two FCS Division I football programs.

Senior quarterback Pat Kehoe completed 18-of-28 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns while also running 21 yards for a score.

Sophomore receiver Thyrick Pitts added six catches for 81 yards and a TD to earn the Nate Beasley Award as the game’s MVP.

“We just knew that we had to get it going,” said Kehoe. “We were executing but we weren’t finishing drives. We knew once we were able to break through and get in the end zone, we could take off from there.”
Delaware’s Drew Nickles tackles DSU’s Bryant Dallas in the first quarter.

With the two teams playing for the first time since 2017, the Hornets took a 6-3 advantage when Fidel Romo-Martinez booted a 30-yard field goal with 7:41 left in the second quarter.

But Delaware responded with a five-play, 64-yard scoring drive to take the lead right back. Kehoe faked a handoff on a sweep and ran 21 yards untouched for a touchdown that put the Hens up 10-6.

Then, after a 47-yard punt return by true freshman Jourdan Townsend set up Delaware at the DSU 33, the Hens found the end zone again. This time Kehoe used a play fake on a third-and-short and found senior fullback Owen Tyler for a 24-yard scoring pass.

It was only the second TD of Tyler’s career.
The Hens’ Pat Kehoe runs a QB keeper for a touchdown.

While the Hens’ missed the PAT, they still owned a 16-6 halftime lead.

“It was huge,” Kehoe said about scoring a pair of TDs before halftime. “You kind of feel the momentum shift, which was big for us, taking it into halftime and then coming back out and trying to play a better second half.”

Delaware kept adding to its lead in the second half. Jake Roth’s second field goal was followed by a 14-yard touchdown catch by Pitts.

Pitts made a nice play on the throw by Kehoe, wrestling the ball away from a DSU defender for the TD that pushed Delaware’s advantage to 25-6 going into the fourth quarter.

Former Smyrna High standout Nolan Henderson, the Hens’ No. 2 quarterback, got a chance to play for the entire fourth quarter. He lined up with his former Smyrna teammate, running back Will Knight, who was making his UD debut after transferring from Old Dominion.

Knight put up his first highlight-reel play as a Blue Hen, breaking off a 61-yard run late in the game. He finished with a team-high 68 yards on four carries.

UD reserve defensive back Brian Dennis scored his first career TD in the fourth quarter when he blocked a DelState punt and returned it 15 yards into the end zone. The special-teams TD stretched the Hens’ lead to 31-6.
The Blue Hens’ Chichi Amachi catches a pass as DSU’s D’Andre Blue-Eli defends in the first quarter.

Delaware finished with an advantage of 383-344 in total yards.

DSU’s Tylik Bethea threw his first career touchdown pass, a 10-yard strike to fellow freshman Bizzett Woodley with 3:20 left, ending a seven-quarter Hornet touchdown drought against the Hens.

When the two teams meet again, next season, the situation will be a little different. Next year they’re slated to play in the final game of the regular season.

“We’ll see them again next year in the last game of the season,” said DelState coach Rod Milstead. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Tonight, they were the better team again. I’ll tip my hat to coach (Danny) Rocco, he had his guys well-prepared.

“We need to put four good quarters of football together. Until we do that, things won’t be in our favor.”

Extra points

Townsend’s long punt return helped make up for a fumbled punt on his first collegiate return. … Henderson completed all four of his pass attempts for 17 yards while running five times for 20 yards. … Roth had an up-and-down game in his first contest as the Hens’ full-time place kicker. The senior made a pair of field goals but missed another one as well as missing one PAT and having two blocked.. … Delaware next opens its Colonial Athletic Association schedule on Sept. 7 with a 7 p.m. game at Rhode Island.
=========================================================
Column: New Faces Shine In Season-Opening Win
8/30/2019 Andy Lohman bluehens.com

Delaware football knew that it had a lot of production to replace in the receiving corps for 2019. Vinny Papale, Charles Scarff and Joe Walker (who each had over 30 catches in 2018) all graduated, with the latter two fighting for NFL roster spots as the No. 22 Blue Hens opened the season by hosting Delaware State in front of 15,894 fans in the renovated Delaware Stadium.

Their replacements, tight end Bryce De Maille and receivers Thyrick Pitts and Chichi Amachi, had a combined for seven catches and 67 yards entering 2019. By the time the final whistle blew Thursday night, the three had 12 catches, 153 yards and a touchdown between them, guiding Delaware to a 31-13 victory.

The emergence of the fresh faces started almost immediately. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Pat Kehoe hit De Maille for seven yards on a play-action look. The very next play he found the tight end from Frederick, Md., for 11 yards and a first down.

Head coach Danny Rocco is extremely high on his young tight end, and the potential he has for the Blue Hens offense.

"He's really good," Rocco said. "He's a special kind of dual threat, big-bodied athlete. He can block, he can run a possession route, and he can get in behind people to catch the football. He's a weapon."

While De Maille had the opening lines, it was Pitts who took the lead offensively. The receiver from Manassas, Va., caught a key 17-yard crossing route on third down to keep the chains moving on a drive that ended in a 38-yard Jake Roth field goal.

Pitts really came into his own in the second half. Midway through the third quarter, he got wide open along the Delaware sideline for a 22-yard gain. After an 11-yard catch to get Delaware into Hornet territory, Pitts came down with an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone over a Delaware State defender for his first career touchdown, a score that gave the Blue Hens a 25-6 lead and sealed the win.

"I just looked at Pat and he gave me that look," Pitts said. "[He] threw it up and I made a play. It was awesome, great feeling."

Amachi's last catch before Thursday night was during his freshman year during 2016. But during the first quarter, he made a 16-yard catch in double coverage that converted a crucial third down on a Delaware scoring drive. Later on the same drive, his head fake left a Delaware State defensive back on his behind as Amachi caught a ball in the end zone before the play was called back for a penalty. The Philadelphia native later converted a clever 12-yard catch on the first Delaware drive of the second half that also set up a score.

"A lot of guys had their first career starts. A lot of guys really had their first legitimate taste of Division I college football. And a lot of those guys played really well today," Rocco said.

"I think you see the guys who stepped up tonight were behind older guys last year, but we knew they were plenty capable of playing, even last year," Kehoe said. "They got their shot tonight and they stepped up and performed well."

Stray Observations

The Blue Hens defensive line had an outstanding evening. Any progress Delaware State made on offense was on the edges, because Delaware had the interior shut down. The Hornets averaged just 3 yards per rush. Cam Kitchen finished with four tackles, including one for loss, while Frank Burton III and Sal Mauro each made big stuff plays. "A big key was just for us to get off the ball and cause havoc," Kitchen said.
Sophomore cornerback Justis Henley has been thrown into a starting role, and was matched up with the Hornets' top targets all night. Against the talented Kwannah Kollie, Henley had two big pass breakups in the first quarter that kept the Hornets out of field goal range.
Pat Kehoe showed off his wheels on Thursday night. The Blue Hens took their first lead of the evening in the second quarter when Kehoe waltzed 21 yards untouched after a perfectly executed read option. He later scrambled for 11 yards on third down to help set up the Pitts touchdown catch.

The Blue Hens were laying the boom Thursday night. Redshirt freshman Matt Palmer delivered a big hit on a kickoff return that stuck the Hornets at their own 14-yard line. Later, safety Noah Plack blew up a Delaware State running back on a handoff.
A lot of young players got valuable touches in the fourth quarter, highlighted by Delaware natives Nolan Henderson and Will Knight. Knight showed off his jets with a 61-yard run late in the game.

Players Mentioned

#13 Vinny Papale
WR
6' 1"
205 lbs
Senior

#85 Charles Scarff
TE
6' 6"
270 lbs
Redshirt Senior

#3 Joe Walker
WR
6' 3"
205 lbs
Redshirt Senior

#2 Chichi Amachi
WR
6' 1"
190 lbs
Redshirt Junior

#95 Frank Burton III
DT
6' 2"
265 lbs
Redshirt Junior

#81 Bryce De Maille
TE
6' 3"
235 lbs
Sophomore

#37 Brian Dennis
DB
5' 9"
185 lbs
Redshirt Senior

#14 Nolan Henderson
QB
6' 1"
185 lbs
Redshirt Sophomore

#21 Justis Henley
DB
5' 11"
175 lbs
Sophomore

#12 Pat Kehoe
QB
6' 4"
235 lbs
Redshirt Senior

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