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Game Times Announced For 2022 CAA Football Schedule
CAASPORTS.COM
Rob Washburn - 5/11/2022 
RICHMOND, Va. (May 11, 2022) - CAA Football has announced game times for all of the conference matchups on the 2022 schedule, as well as the home non-conference contests.

The conference slate includes four home games and four road contests for each team as they face eight of the other 12 CAA Football members. Conference action kicks off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 1 with league newcomer Monmouth visiting New Hampshire and Stony Brook hosting Rhode Island. Hampton makes its CAA Football debut on Saturday, September 24 with a trip to Delaware at 6 p.m. There is at least one conference matchup during all 12 weeks of the regular season.

The non-conference schedule features 12 games against FBS opponents. Half of those games are against teams from Power 5 leagues, including three against ACC squads and two versus Big 12 squads. CAA Football teams have 17 victories over FBS foes since 2009, including two last season. CAA Football has been dominant against non-conference FCS competition, posting a 22-7 record (.759) during the 2021 campaign.

At least one CAA Football team has reached the semifinals of the FCS playoffs for nine consecutive seasons and the conference has had a team make the FCS championship game 11 times since 2003.

Times for the remaining non-conference road games will be announced by each individual institution as they are determined.

Thursday, September 1
*Monmouth at New Hampshire – 7 p.m.
*Rhode Island at Stony Brook – 7 p.m.

Friday, September 2
Lehigh at Villanova – 6 p.m.
William & Mary at Charlotte - TBA

Saturday, September 3
Howard at Hampton – 6 p.m.
UAlbany at Baylor - TBA
Delaware at Navy - TBA
Elon at Vanderbilt - TBA
Maine at New Mexico - TBA
Richmond at Virginia - TBA
Towson at Bucknell - TBA

Saturday, September 10
*New Hampshire at UAlbany – 7 p.m.
Colgate at Maine – 1 p.m.
Fordham at Monmouth – 1 p.m.
St. Francis (Pa.) at Richmond – 5:30 p.m.
Delaware State at Delaware – 6 p.m.
Campbell at William & Mary – 6 p.m.
Tuskegee at Hampton – 6 p.m.
Morgan State at Towson – 6 p.m.
Elon at Wofford - TBA
Rhode Island at Bryant - TBA
Villanova at LIU - TBA

Saturday, September 17
*Delaware at Rhode Island – 1 p.m.
Georgetown at Monmouth – 1 p.m.
UAlbany at Fordham - 1 p.m.
William & Mary at Lafayette – 3:30 p.m.
Gardner-Webb at Elon – 6 p.m.
North Carolina Central at New Hampshire – 6 p.m.
Hampton at Norfolk State - TBA
Maine at Boston College - TBA
Richmond at Lehigh - TBA
Stony Brook at UMass - TBA
Towson at West Virginia - TBA
Villanova at Army - TBA

Saturday, September 24
*Stony Brook at Richmond – 2 p.m.
*Monmouth at Villanova – 3:30 p.m.
*Elon at William & Mary – 3:30 p.m.
*New Hampshire at Towson – 4 p.m.
*Hampton at Delaware – 6 p.m.
Central Connecticut St. at UAlbany – 3:30 p.m.
Rhode Island at Pittsburgh - TBA

Saturday, October 1
*Villanova at Maine – 1 p.m.
*Richmond at Elon – 2 p.m.
*Towson at Delaware – 3 p.m.
*William & Mary at Stony Brook – 3:30 p.m.
Brown at Rhode Island – 6 p.m.
Monmouth at Lehigh - TBA
New Hampshire at Western Michigan – TBA

Saturday, October 8
*UAlbany at Monmouth – 1 p.m.
*Towson at Elon – 2 p.m.
*Maine at Hampton – 2 p.m.
*Stony Brook at New Hampshire – 3:30 p.m.
*Delaware at William & Mary – 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 15
*Elon at Rhode Island – 1 p.m.
*Monmouth at Maine – 1 p.m.
*Villanova at Richmond – 3:30 p.m.
*Hampton at UAlbany – 3:30 p.m.
New Hampshire at Dartmouth - TBA
Stony Brook at Fordham - TBA

Saturday, October 22
*Rhode Island at Monmouth – 1 p.m.
*Elon at New Hampshire – 1 p.m.
*Richmond at Hampton – 2 p.m.
*Maine at Stony Brook – 3:30 p.m.
*UAlbany at Villanova – 3:30 p.m.
*William & Mary at Towson – 4 p.m.
Morgan State at Delaware – 3 p.m.

Saturday, October 29
*Stony Brook at UAlbany – 1 p.m.
*Hampton at Villanova – 1 p.m.
*Richmond at Maine – 1 p.m.
*Towson at Monmouth – 1 p.m.
*Rhode Island at William & Mary – 1 p.m.
*Delaware at Elon – 2 p.m.

Saturday, November 5
*Monmouth at Delaware – 1 p.m.
*William & Mary at Hampton – 1 p.m.
*Maine at Rhode Island – 1 p.m.
*UAlbany at Elon – 2 p.m.
*Villanova at Towson – 2 p.m.
*New Hampshire at Richmond – 3:30 p.m.
Morgan State at Stony Brook – 1 p.m.

Saturday, November 12
*Maine at UAlbany – 12 p.m.
*Richmond at Delaware – 1 p.m.
*Elon at Hampton – 1 p.m.
*Rhode Island at New Hampshire – 1 p.m.
*Towson at Stony Brook – 1 p.m.
*Villanova at William & Mary – 1 p.m.

Saturday, November 19
*New Hampshire at Maine – 12 p.m.
*Stony Brook at Monmouth – 12 p.m.
*William & Mary at Richmond – 12 p.m.
*UAlbany at Rhode Island – 1 p.m.
*Delaware at Villanova – 1 p.m.
*Hampton at Towson – 1 p.m.

*Denotes CAA Football game

DATES AND TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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Nijuel Hill Becomes Third Blue Hen to Earn Minicamp Invite

5/6/2022 - BLUEHENS.COM

NEWARK, Del. – University of Delaware cornerback Nijuel Hill has earned an invitation to attend rookie minicamp with the Washington Commanders, becoming the third Blue Hen this spring to receive a minicamp invite. Hill will look to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL this weekend as he looks to earn a contract to attend fall training camp.

Hill will be joined at Washington's rookie minicamp by running back Dejoun Lee, who received an invitation earlier this week. Offensive lineman David Kroll also received a pair of minicamp invites and will be participating in camp with the Chicago Bears this weekend and the Indianapolis Colts next weekend.

An All-CAA Second Team selection in 2021, Hill recorded 30 tackles and 2.0 TFL as a fifth-year senior. H was third on the Blue Hens in the fall with eight passes defended, including a key fourth-quarter interception against Albany. Hill received All-CAA First Team honors and a Second Team All-American in the spring.

Hill appeared in 53 career games, playing in each of Delaware's contests over the final three seasons. He finished with 136 total tackles and seven interceptions while defending 31 passes.

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. 

PLAYERS MENTIONED:
#16 Nijuel Hill
DB 5' 10" 185 lbs Redshirt Junior

#72 David Kroll
OL 6' 7" 315 lbs Junior

#33 Dejoun Lee
RB 5' 7" 185 lbs Redshirt Junior

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Defense rules in University of Delaware Blue and White football game
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2022
Delaware State News

Delaware wrapped up its spring practice schedule with the annual Blue & White Spring Football Game Saturday as fans were treated to the first glimpse of Delaware football in the Ryan Carty-era as the squad played approximate 70 plays of live scrimmage.

The team was split into two squads as most players wore either blue jerseys with yellow pants or white jerseys with white pants. Members of Delaware’s offensive line and the special teams members wore UD’s all-black uniforms as they were suiting up for both sides.

Neither side could manage to put any points on the board until Ryan O’Connor led the White squad on a march down the field. He completed a big pass down the middle to tight end Luke Frederick before Marcus Yarns caught a ball in the flat, stiff-armed a defender and brought the ball inside the 10-yard line. O’Connor crossed the goal line on consecutive quarterback runs to put White in the lead.

The Blue squad had one last chance to even the score, but the defense forced turnover as Nic Ware recovered a fumble to close things out.

The defense dominated much of the afternoon as the Blue Hens forced four turnovers on the afternoon, including a red zone interception by Mateo Vandamia while Joe Zubillaga added a pick as well.

Returning starting quarterback Nolan Henderson played for the Blue team quickly got things going on the first drive of the day as he completed his first two attempts to Brett Buckman before the defensive struggle took over.

On White’s first drive, Zach Gwynn completed a long pass to Eddie Scannapieco down the left sideline, but a sack by Jack Dinicola and a Ty Davis interception gave possession back to Blue. Gwynn would bounce back to complete a long 40-yard pass to Makhi Jackson

Delaware featured a balance offense as the running game made several key contributions. Joseph Bruno had several big runs including a 13-yard run where he blew past multiple defenders. Christopher Pierce also showcased his strength as he bulldozed his way for a first-down conversion on a fourth down play near midfield.

“I’d say that over the course of 14 practices [this spring], I think both sides improved for sure,” Carty said. “But there is a long way to go in all phases. We all know that. The kids know that and the coaches know that and there is not a soul in here that is not going to work tirelessly and with extreme effort and intensity to get as good as we can be as a unit.”

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Nagy and Adams Join Delaware Hall of Fame in Spring Induction Ceremony

4/15/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – There was a special kind of atmosphere in the air on Friday night as a pair of Blue Hens finally received their due as University of Delaware alums Mike “Pops” Adams and Matt Nagy were inducted into the Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame in a special Spring Induction Ceremony at the Whitney Athletic Center. The two football greats join six other UD alums who were honored in a ceremony during the fall.

It was a light and joyous mood throughout the evening as Adams and Nagy were recognized in front of a crowd of nearly 200 people that consisted of family, friends and teammates, many of whom were not afraid to heckle the two inductees. 

After a fun cocktail hour, where plenty of stories and laughs were shared, Scott Klatzkin got the ceremony started as he welcomed in the crowd and introduced Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak. She addressed the crowd, mostly comprised of alumni who were inside the Whitney Athletic Center for the first time, and ensured them that construction of the facility and the amenities that it provided was only made possible because of the foundation that they set during their time in Newark.

Adams and Nagy then took part in a panel, led by Klatzkin where they reminisced about their time at Delaware, thinking back on fond memories such as Adams’ 97-yard touchdown return against West Chester in 2000, or Nagy’s record-setting 556 passing yards against UConn. The two inductees, who were teammates for a couple of seasons, joked with each other about who would get the better of who when they opposed each other during practices. Their teammates in the crowd were not shy about making sure they were correct in their memories. 

Throughout the 30-minute program Adams and Nagy not only recollected fond memories on the field but also the relationships that they forged while in Newark, as well as those that helped them get to the University of Delaware and the coaches and other individuals who helped them thrive in the Blue & Gold and pursue their careers in professional football. 

The evening concluded when Rawak presented both inductees with their official Hall of Fame plaques that will go on permanent display in the Athletics Hall of Fame in the Bob Carpenter Center.

MATTHEW "MATT" NAGY
Football (1997-2000)
One of the all-time great quarterbacks in Delaware history, Matt was a record-setting signal caller in 1997-2000 who moved on to an outstanding professional playing career and has followed with a distinguished coaching career in the NFL. The Manheim, Pa. native led UD to a four-year mark of 38-12 under Hall of Fame coach Tubby Raymond and made two NCAA playoff appearances, including a berth in the national semifinals in 2000. The strong-armed Nagy, a 2001 UD graduate, earned third team All-American honors as a senior in 2000 when he passed for a school-record 3,436 yards and 29 touchdowns while setting school standards for career completions (502), passing yards (8,214), and touchdowns (58). His 556 yards passing vs. Connecticut in 1998 remains a UD record. He enjoyed a stellar six-year playing career in the Arena Football League in 2002-08. After his playing days, he joined the NFL coaching 

MICHAEL C. "MIKE" "POPS" ADAMS
Football (1999-2003)
The heart and soul of Delaware's 2003 national championship football team, Pops enjoyed a standout career as a defensive back for the Blue Hens and went on to a 16-year Pro Bowl career in the NFL. The Paterson, N.J. native and 2004 Delaware graduate played parts of five seasons at UD, served as captain of the 15-1 national title team, and earned All-Atlantic 10 honors as a senior when he recorded 70 tackles and four interceptions as the leader of one of the nation's stingiest defenses. For his UD career, Mike played in 48 games and recorded 213 tackles, the eighth-highest total ever for a Blue Hen defensive back. He also intercepted 11 passes for his career, ranking 11th all-time at UD. He also returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown vs. West Chester in 2000, the fourth-longest return in school history. He signed a free agent NFL contract with San Francisco in 2004 and went on to a stellar pro career that saw him play in 228 regular season games (the most ever by a UD player in the NFL), record 935 tackles, 30 interceptions, and 13 forced fumbles. He played in the 2014 Super Bowl with Denver and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2014 and 2015 while playing for the Indianapolis Colts.


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Delaware Announces Football Home Game Times

4/14/2022 - BLUEHENS.COM

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware athletic department has announced the start times for Blue Hen football home games this fall. Fans will have six opportunities to see the Blue Hens play at Delaware Stadium, including four matchups against CAA opponents.

Head Coach Ryan Carty (https://bluehens.com/staff.aspx?staff=1589) will coach his first game inside Delaware Stadium on September 10 against Delaware State. Kickoff for the home opener is set for 6 p.m. as the Blue Hens and Hornets will renew the Route 1 Rivalry.

Two weeks later, UD will again play under the lights when it hosts Hampton, which is entering its inaugural season in the CAA, on September 24. It will be the first-ever matchup between the two programs.

The Blue Hens will welcome Towson for the first time since 2018 when the Tigers visit Newark for a 3 p.m. kickoff on October 1. The game will be part of Delaware's Parents & Family Weekend as, in addition to the football game, there will be a variety of campus festivities for UD students and their families.

Delaware will celebrate Homecoming on October 22 when the Blue Hens step out of CAA play to host Morgan State in a 3 p.m. matchup. It will be the fourth time in school history, and the first time since 1984, that the two programs have met as UD is 3-0-1 against the Bears.

The Blue & Gold will open up a two-game homestand on November 5 when it welcomes another new conference member in Monmouth to Delaware Stadium. Kickoff against the Hawks is scheduled for 1 p.m. The only previous matchup between the two programs came in 2007, a 42-7 UD victory.

The Blue Hens will recognize its senior class on November 12 when it hosts Richmond for a 1 p.m. CAA contest to close out the home slate.

Single-game tickets for all six of Delaware's home games, as well as partial plans and individual game parking, will go on sale online beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 15. A full list of game themes and promotions will be announced at a later date.

Partial Plan Details: Partial plans offer flexibility and savings over individual game pricing. As an added bonus, partial plan holders have access to purchase tickets to the season opener at Navy. To take advantage of the Partial Plan, choose any three games and purchase tickets to all three at once. The October 1 contest versus Towson can be included in your partial plan, however tickets to that game will not be discounted.

2022 Home Schedule
Sep. 10 Delaware State - 6 p.m.
Sep. 24 Hampton * - 6 p.m.
Oct. 1 Towson * - 3 p.m.
Oct. 22 Morgan State - 3 p.m.
Nov. 5 Monmouth * - 1 p.m.
Nov. 12 Richmond * - 1 p.m.
* CAA contest

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2022 Football Schedule Announced

3/22/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware and Colonial Athletic Association have announced the football schedule for the upcoming 2022 season. Fans will have six opportunities to see the Blue Hens play at Delaware Stadium, including four matchups against CAA opponents.

Ryan Carty will make his head coaching debut when the Blue Hens open the 2022 campaign with a short trip down the road to Annapolis for a matchup against FBS opponent Navy on September 3. It will be the 18th all-time meeting between the Blue Hens and Midshipmen, and the first since 2013. Delaware's last win against an FBS opponent came in 2007 when UD defeated Navy 59-52 behind Joe Flacco's four touchdown passes and four rushing scores by Omar Cuff.

The first opportunity for Blue Hen fans to pile into Delaware Stadium will be on September 10. Delaware will renew the Route 1 Rivalry with Delaware State and host the Hornets in the home opener. The two programs have met 10 times since 2007, with the Blue Hens owning a 10-0 record against the Hornets.

CAA play opens when UD travels to Rhode Island (Sept. 17) before returning home for conference matchups against Hampton (Sept. 24) and Towson (Oct. 1). It will be the first all-time meeting between the Blue Hens and Pirates, who are entering their first season in the CAA. The matchup against the Tigers will be the first time the two programs have met since 2019.

A trip to William & Mary (Oct. 8) will lead the Blue Hens into their bye week before hosting Morgan State (Oct. 22) to close out non-conference play.

The final stretch of CAA games begins with a road date at Elon on October 29. It will be just the fifth all-time meeting between the Blue Hens and Phoenix, and the first since 2019. The Blue & Gold will welcome new CAA member Monmouth to Newark on November 5 for just the second meeting ever. The only previous matchup between the two programs came in 2007, a 42-7 UD victory.

The Blue Hens will play their final home game of the regular season when they host Richmond on November 12 before hitting the road to close the season at Villanova on November 19 in the annual Battle of the Blue.

Game times and promotions for the 2022 season will be announced at a later date.

Season Ticket Membership Renewal I New Season Ticket Membership I Football Ticket Information

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10.

Full 2022 Schedule
Sept. 3 at Navy
Sept. 10 Delaware State
Sept. 17 at Rhode Island *
Sept. 24 Hampton *
Oct. 1 Towson *
Oct. 8 at William & Mary *
Oct. 15 BYE
Oct. 22 Morgan State
Oct. 29 at Elon *
Nov. 5 Monmouth *
Nov. 12 Richmond *
Nov. 19 at Villanova *

* CAA contest

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CAA Football has announced its schedule for the 2022 season, which features all 13 teams playing 11 games over a 12-week period.

March 22, 2022 - CAAsports.com

The conference slate includes four home games and four road contests for each team as they face eight of the other 12 CAA Football members. Conference action kicks off on Thursday, September 1 with league newcomer Monmouth visiting New Hampshire and Stony Brook entertaining Rhode Island. Hampton makes its CAA Football debut on Saturday, September 24 with a trip to Delaware. There is at least one conference matchup during all 12 weeks of the regular season.The non-conference schedule features 12 games against FBS opponents. Half of those games are against teams from Power 5 leagues, including three against ACC squads and two versus Big 12 squads. CAA Football teams have 17 victories over FBS foes since 2009, including two last season. 

CAA Football has been dominant against non-conference FCS competition, posting a 22-7 record (.759) during the 2021 campaign.At least one CAA Football team has reached the semifinals of the FCS playoffs for nine consecutive seasons and the conference has had a team make the FCS championship game 11 times since 2003. 

Thursday, September 1*Monmouth at New Hampshire*Rhode Island at Stony BrookWilliam & Mary at Charlotte

Friday, September 2Lehigh at Villanova Saturday, September 3UAlbany at BaylorDelaware at NavyElon at VanderbiltHoward at HamptonMaine at New MexicoRichmond at VirginiaTowson at Bucknell 

Saturday, September 10*New Hampshire at UAlbanyDelaware State at DelawareElon at WoffordTuskegee at HamptonColgate at MaineFordham at MonmouthRhode Island at BryantSt. Francis (Pa.) at RichmondMorgan State at TowsonVillanova at LIUCampbell at William & Mary 

Saturday, September 17*Delaware at Rhode IslandUAlbany at FordhamGardner-Webb at ElonHampton at Norfolk StateMaine at Boston CollegeGeorgetown at MonmouthNorth Carolina Central at New HampshireRichmond at LehighStony Brook at UMassTowson at West VirginiaVillanova at ArmyWilliam & Mary at Lafayette 

Saturday, September 24*Hampton at Delaware*Elon at William & Mary*Monmouth at Villanova*New Hampshire at Towson*Stony Brook at RichmondCentral Connecticut St. at UAlbanyRhode Island at Pittsburgh 

Saturday, October 1*Towson at Delaware*Richmond at Elon*Villanova at Maine*William & Mary at Stony BrookMonmouth at LehighNew Hampshire at Western MichiganBrown at Rhode Island 

Saturday, October 8*UAlbany at Monmouth*Delaware at William & Mary*Towson at Elon*Maine at Hampton*Stony Brook at New Hampshire 

Saturday, October 15*Hampton at UAlbany*Elon at Rhode Island*Monmouth at Maine*Villanova at RichmondNew Hampshire at DartmouthStony Brook at Fordham 

Saturday, October 22*UAlbany at Villanova*Elon at New Hampshire*Richmond at Hampton*Maine at Stony Brook*Rhode Island at Monmouth*William & Mary at TowsonMorgan State at Delaware 

Saturday, October 29*Stony Brook at UAlbany*Delaware at Elon*Hampton at Villanova*Richmond at Maine*Towson at Monmouth*Rhode Island at William & Mary 

Saturday, November 5*UAlbany at Elon*Monmouth at Delaware*William & Mary at Hampton*Maine at Rhode Island*New Hampshire at Richmond*Villanova at TowsonMorgan State at Stony Brook 

Saturday, November 12*Maine at UAlbany*Richmond at Delaware*Elon at Hampton*Rhode Island at New Hampshire*Towson at Stony Brook*Villanova at William & Mary 

Saturday, November 19*UAlbany at Rhode Island*Delaware at Villanova*Hampton at Towson*New Hampshire at Maine*Stony Brook at Monmouth*William & Mary at Richmond 

*Denotes CAA Football game DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE – Times will be announced at a later date

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Sam Daniels Joins Delaware Coaching Staff

3/21/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – University of Delaware Head Football Coach Ryan Carty has announced the addition of Sam Daniels to the Blue & Gold coaching staff. Daniels, who brings plenty of CAA experience, will coach the team's defensive line.

"Sam is a great coach who will bring energy and intensity to our defensive line room," said Carty. "As an All-American and captain at James Madison, he proved to have the tools to play the position in this conference at a high level. As the D-Line coach at Richmond, he's proven to be able to instill those traits to young men in the CAA. We couldn't be more excited about this addition to our family."

Daniels spent the past two seasons at the University of Richmond, coaching the defensive tackles. In his two years with the Spiders, the defense ranked among the top 25 nationally both seasons in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense. Daniels coached Kobie Turner to two All-America selections and Turner was named the CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the shortened spring season in 2021, the first interior defensive lineman in the CAA to earn the award since 2011.

Prior to Richmond, Daniels spent time at both Howard University and Bridgewater College, as well as three seasons at Shepherd University in West Virginia (2016-18) coaching the defensive line. He mentored Myles Humphrey to All-America honors in 2017 and 2018 as the school's all-time sack leader earned PSAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades in 2017.

Daniels came to Shepherd after two seasons as the defensive line coach at Frostburg State University (2014-15) and two years at the Apprentice School. He was the defensive coordinator, defensive line and recruiting coordinator at the Apprentice School in 2013 while serving as the defensive line and recruiting coordinator in 2012.

No stranger to the CAA, Daniels was a two-time All-American and four-year member of the James Madison University football team. In his final two years, Daniels was a two-time team captain, a two-time All-CAA selection and a two-time All-American. Over his final two seasons, he finished with 108 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss with 10.5 sacks on the defensive line. As a senior, he was the Dukes' Defensive MVP and Lineman of the Year.

Daniels graduated from James Madison in 2010 with a bachelor of science in kinesiology. He earned his master's degree in education from Frostburg State in 2016.

"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to join Coach Carty and the rest of the Delaware football staff," said Daniels. "There is a great foundation that is already built at UD and I'm looking forward to being able to continue that tradition."

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10.

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Blue Hens Use Game-Like Scenarios to Test Progression

3/19/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – Under near-perfect conditions and in front of a large Junior Day crowd, the University of Delaware football team had another productive practice across all three phases, spending some time on individual position work while also mixing in a fair amount of live scrimmage.

With temperatures reaching the mid-70s, the Blue Hens spent the entire two-hour practice outdoors. Things got started with a bang as the team broke stretch and went right into an 11-on-11 red zone drill, challenging both sides of the ball right out of the gate.

After each position spent time working on techniques and fundamentals, the majority of practice was spent mixing in live scrimmage periods of 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 situations, as well as special teams work on punt and kickoff coverage.

What They're Saying

"It was great to get out and scrimmage a bit today. We got a chance to see how our guys performed in a more game-like scenario. Some plays were made on both sides of the ball. The energy was fantastic. Our leaders have been tremendous at bringing the juice each day. We need that to continue throughout spring." – Head Coach Ryan Carty

"Practice today had a great combination of competition and execution. Two aspects that we have been focusing on a lot so far this spring. As an offense, we practiced with a fast tempo and got the job done. We are lucky to have a great defense to go against every day that challenges us and makes us better. The nice weather made for a fun environment out there and kept our energy where it needed to be." – Fifth-year wide receiver Eddie Scannapieco

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10.

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Adams, Nagy Inducted Into Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame

3/7/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware Athletics Department announced today that two former football standouts have been inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.

Michael C. "Mike" "Pops" Adams (1999-2003) and Matt Nagy (1997-2000) will be inducted in an invitation-only ceremony will take place on Friday, April 15 at the Whitney Athletic Center.

Adams and Nagy join Jack Turner (football/baseball), Kathy Tucci (softball/field hockey), Jordan Hall (men's lacrosse), Megan Dellegrotti (women's basketball), Bob Shillinglaw (men's lacrosse), Lenny Williams (football), who were honored in a ceremony during the fall.

The Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame, which originated in 1997, was established to salute outstanding student-athletes, coaches, and administrators who have contributed to UD's athletic tradition of excellence. Nearly 200 former Blue Hens have been inducted into the hall of fame.

For more information on the Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame click here.

MICHAEL C. "MIKE" "POPS" ADAMS
Football (1999-2003)
Inducted in Spring, 2022

The heart and soul of Delaware's 2003 national championship football team, Pops enjoyed a standout career as a defensive back for the Blue Hens and went on to a 16-year Pro Bowl career in the NFL. The Paterson, N.J. native and 2004 Delaware graduate played parts of five seasons at UD, served as captain of the 15-1 national title team, and earned All-Atlantic 10 honors as a senior when he recorded 70 tackles and four interceptions as the leader of one of the nation's stingiest defenses. For his UD career, Mike played in 48 games and recorded 213 tackles, the eighth-highest total ever for a Blue Hen defensive back. He also intercepted 11 passes for his career, ranking 11th all-time at UD. He also returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown vs. West Chester in 2000, the fourth-longest return in school history. He signed a free agent NFL contract with San Francisco in 2004 and went on to a stellar pro career that saw him play in 228 regular season games (the most ever by a UD player in the NFL), record 935 tackles, 30 interceptions, and 13 forced fumbles. He played in the 2014 Super Bowl with Denver and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2014 and 2015 while playing for the Indianapolis Colts.

MATTHEW "MATT" NAGY
Football (1997-2000)
Inducted in Spring, 2022

One of the all-time great quarterbacks in Delaware history, Matt was a record-setting signal caller in 1997-2000 who moved on to an outstanding professional playing career and has followed with a distinguished coaching career in the NFL. The Manheim, Pa. native led UD to a four-year mark of 38-12 under Hall of Fame coach Tubby Raymond and made two NCAA playoff appearances, including a berth in the national semifinals in 2000. The strong-armed Nagy, a 2001 UD graduate, earned third team All-American honors as a senior in 2000 when he passed for a school-record 3,436 yards and 29 touchdowns while setting school standards for career completions (502), passing yards (8,214), and touchdowns (58). His 556 yards passing vs. Connecticut in 1998 remains a UD record. He enjoyed a stellar six-year playing career in the Arena Football League in 2002-08. After his playing days, he joined the NFL coaching ranks and has enjoyed outstanding success, including serving as head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2018-21 and earning Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year honors in 2018.

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Blue Hens Open Spring Practice

3/5/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – The Ryan Carty era has officially begun as the University of Delaware football team opened Spring Practice on Saturday morning with a two-hour session on the UD Practice Fields. With temperatures in the 40s, the Blue Hens put together a spirited first practice with lots of energy among both the coaches and players. The team ran through individual position drills with a primary focus on perfecting techniques.

There were a lot of new faces on the field as 11 coaches took part in their first Delaware practice. Carty has brought an entirely new staff on the offensive side of the ball, while the defense has four newcomers. Defensive coordinator Manny Rojas returns for his third season with the Blue & Gold, while Holman Copeland and Rich Yahner will continue to work with the cornerbacks and linebackers, respectively.

The Blue Hens return many key players from a year ago, including the defense's top four tacklers in Johnny Buchanan (81 tackles), Kedrick Whitehead (76), Liam Trainer (61) and Noah Plack (57). On offense, UD is led by the return of quarterbacks Nolan Henderson and Zach Gwynn while All-CAA Second Team selection Thyrick Pitts returns to lead the wide receiver corps.

What They're Saying

"It felt great to be able to watch our guys compete and run around in an actual football setting. The energy was what we wanted, the tempo was solid, and the competitive juice was flowing. I'm sure we made our mistakes, but we made them full speed. We'll look at the tape and evaluate the assignment, but for a first day, I'm extremely pleased." – Head Coach Ryan Carty

"The first day was jam-packed with energy and excitement on both sides of the ball. Coach Carty and the new staff are out there competing just as hard as us guys on the field. I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of the Spring." – Fifth-year safety Kedrick Whitehead

"It was great to get back out there today. You could feel a lot of excitement and anticipation from the guys to finally get out on the field and play football after all the film study and workouts. It was also our first opportunity to practice with the new staff and I felt like there was a certain energy on the field today. We only get so many of these in the spring so it's important we come out with a purpose every day and get better." – Fifth-year quarterback Nolan Henderson

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10.

PLAYERS MENTIONED:
#33 Johnny Buchanan
LB 6' 0" 230 lbs Sophomore
#14 Nolan Henderson
QB 6' 1" 185 lbs Redshirt Sophomore
#1 Thyrick Pitts
WR 6' 3" 200 lbs Redshirt Sophomore
#29 Noah Plack
DB 6' 2" 215 lbs Redshirt Freshman
#11 Liam Trainer
LB 6' 2" 235 lbs Redshirt Freshman
#1 Kedrick Whitehead
DB 5' 11" 195 lbs Sophomore
#12 Zach Gwynn
QB 6' 2" 200 lbs Redshirt Senior
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Three Join Football Support Staff

2/14/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – Delaware Football Head Coach Ryan Carty has announced the addition of three new members of the program's support staff. Jerry Oravitz will transition into a senior administrative role while JT Tober has been promoted to Director of Football Video. Additionally, Brett Arnold makes his return to Newark as the General Manager of the football program.

Jerry Oravitz, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Football
Oravitz has been a member of Delaware Athletics for 25 years and will be transitioning over to a newly created role of Senior Associate AD for Football. He previously spent 20 years in various roles within the football administration, including handling operations for the 2003 DI-AA National Championship as well as the 2007 and 2010 FCS National Finalist teams. In May 2017, Oravitz was promoted by current AD Chrissi Rawak to the role of Associate Director of Athletics for Major Gifts. He has worked closely with the football programs serving as a liaison with alums, while soliciting major gifts for the department. Oravitz was instrumental in the fundraising efforts which resulted in the renovation of Delaware Stadium and the new Whitney Athletic Center which opened in January 2021. He began his career at Delaware as a graduate intern in 1997 and was quickly named Athletics Operations Associate where he served UD's then-23 programs and head coaches.

"I'm not sure that one can think of UD Football over the last couple of decades without acknowledging the impact that Jerry O has had. I couldn't imagine taking on this role without Jerry being there to help me along the way. His ability to improvise and adapt, his aptitude for seeing around corners, and his deep roots in UD Football and the community are second to none. But most importantly, he's an intensely great person. I'm so excited that he's back in the fold." - Ryan Carty, Delaware Football Head Coach

Brett Arnold, Associate Athletic Director, General Manager for Football
Arnold joins the Blue Hens after spending the past two seasons at Rutgers as the Director of Football Administration in what was his second stint with the Scarlet Knights. He had previously served on the staff from 2012-16 as the Director of Internal Football Operations. Arnold spent the 2017-19 seasons as the Director of Football Operations at Sam Houston where he worked alongside Carty. Arnold got his career in college athletics started at Delaware as a Football Operations Assistant in 2009 and also worked in the Temple athletic department (2011-12) and with the Philadelphia Eagles (2010-11). A Massachusetts Amherst alum, Arnold was a standout punter, leading the FCS in punting and earning All-America First Team honors.

"Our staff's addition of Brett Arnold is extremely exciting. Working alongside Jerry Oravitz, Brett's professional experience will give our football operations department a leg up on the competition. His ability to see problems before they arise and react in creative and innovative ways aligns with the goals and values of our football program. I can't wait to get to work (again) with Brett." - Ryan Carty, Delaware Football Head Coach

Follow Brett Arnold on Twitter: @UDFootball_BA

JT Tober, Director of Football Video
Tober has been promoted to Director of Football Video for the Blue Hens. He spent the 2021 season on the Delaware staff as an assistant with video and operations. A Delaware alum, Tober worked in the UD equipment room before joining the Blue Hens' coaching staff. He also worked in the equipment departments for the University of Miami and the Buffalo Bills.

"In the short time I've had to get acquainted with JT, I've known him to be a tireless worker, a smart and detailed soldier, and someone who loves his job at UD. Our video department is in great hands." - Ryan Carty, Delaware Football Head Coach

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Blue Hen Alums Kerr and Reeder Set to Meet in Super Bowl LVI

2/8/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – When fans tune into the biggest football game of the year on Sunday night, they will see two of the best to ever put on a Delaware uniform playing on the NFL's biggest stage. UD alums Zack Kerr and Troy Reeder will be suiting up against each other in Super Bowl LVI as Kerr will be playing nose tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and Reeder will slot in at middle linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams.

Super Bowl LVI is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Reeder and the Rams reached the Super Bowl by defeating the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in the NFC Championship Game, coming back from a 17-7 fourth-quarter deficit. The NFC West champions were the No. 3 seed, defeating the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card Round and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round. Kerr and the Bengals earned the AFC North crown and the No. 4 seed before defeating the Las Vegas Raiders (26-19), Tennessee Titans (19-16) and Kansas City Chiefs (27-24 OT). The latter two victories were on the road and were won on walk-off field goals.

Kerr and Reeder are two of just five players from both rosters to come from FCS programs, and Delaware is the only FCS school with two alums to be playing in this year's Super Bowl. The two Blue Hens become the 10th and 11th players in program history to play in the big game, and each will look to become the third to lift the Lombard trophy.

Kerr is in his eighth NFL season and playing for his sixth team. This year alone, he has played for three teams as he started the season with the San Francisco 49ers and also spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, his second stint with the organization. After the first round of the playoffs, the Bengals signed Kerr off of Arizona's practice squad and he has played in both the divisional round and AFC Championship Game. In his eight seasons, Kerr has appeared in 95 regular-season games and accumulated 173 tackles, 15 TFL and 9.5 sacks. This season marks his first appearance in the NFL playoffs and he has registered one tackle in his two games with the Bengals.

The Gaithersburg, Maryland native has played two seasons for the Blue & Gold after transferring from Maryland. He started every game during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, totaling 84 tackles including 43 solo takedowns. He had 10 TFL and 4.5 sacks while forcing two fumbles and intercepting one pass. Kerr earned All-CAA honors in both seasons as a Blue Hen, including a first-team selection in 2013 when he finished with 57 tackles, 5.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks. He was named an All-American by five different outlets.

Reeder is in his third NFL season, all coming with the Rams, after signing with Los Angeles as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He has appeared in all 49 games over the three years, making 25 starts at linebacker. He has made 230 total tackles over his short career with 11.0 TFL and 5.0 sacks. Reeder has enjoyed a breakout season in 2021, making 10 starts at middle linebacker and ranks third on the Rams with 91 tackles while intercepting two passes. In three playoff games, Reeder has been on the field for 91-percent of LA's defensive snaps recording 14 tackles and QB hit against the Arizona Cardinals that led to a pick-six for the Rams.

A local product out of Hockessin, Delaware, Reeder played three seasons in a UD uniform after transferring from Penn State. He played and started in all 34 games, finishing with 283 tackles, 25.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks and four interceptions. A three-time All-CAA selection, Reeder earned first-team honors in both 2017 and 2018. He was a Second Team All-American and a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award in his final season when he led the CAA with 131 total tackles to go along with 13.5 TFL.

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Carty thinks three transfers add talent to Blue Hens' roster
February 2, 2022 - Delaware State News

NEWARK — As a former quarterback, Ryan Carty sounds a little jealous of Jalyn Witcher.

The youngster was part of a Presbyterian College offense that believes in keeping its foot on the gas pedal all the time.

“He played in an offense that, man, they don’t punt,” said Carty, the first-year Delaware football head coach. “He knows how to play in a high-octane, fast-paced offense — which is what we hope to be.”

Carty believes that Witcher is one more player who can help the Blue Hens transition to their new style of offense.

The young wide receiver was one of three transfers that Carty announced on Wednesday as part of Delaware’s 2022 signing class. They join a group of seven high school seniors who signed letters of intent with the Blue Hens in December.

Along with Witcher, Delaware is bringing in a pair of grad students in receiver Michael Jackson, Jr. (VMI) and punter Ben Dinkel (South Dakota State).

As a freshman, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Witcher finished with a school Division I-record 80 catches for 1,120 yards with 12 touchdowns. He had 100 receiving yards in six games, including five straight.

Witcher finished third in FCS in receptions/game (7.3), fourth in yards and sixth in receiving touchdowns. He was also a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in FCS (finishing seventh in voting).

Playing in the Colonial Athletic Association should be a step up for Witcher, who will enroll at UD in time to take part in spring practice. Carty said he thinks the newcomer can line up either on the inside or outside.

“He’s a coach’s son,” said Carty. “He’s grown up in the game. He has really, really good ball skills and then he’s good with it after he catches it.

“Just the amount of catches he had — and it wasn’t always against the best competition in that league — but it is FCS ball. And as a true freshman, he produced. To be sure, he’s a guy who’s going to come in and add some value. We’ll see how much as the year goes on.”

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Jackson saw action in all four of his seasons at VMI. A year ago, he had 51 catches for a team-leading 695 yards with six touchdowns.

Dinkel punted only nine times last fall but averaged 44.6 yards. He punted a total of 86 times in his career over the last three seasons.

With the Jackrabbits, Dinkel punted against Delaware in the 2021 spring NCAA FCS semifinals and then against Sam Houston State — where Carty was an assistant — in the national title game.

The Hens might need a punter after starter Tyler Pastula announced in December that he planned to transfer. Pastula, though, hasn’t announced a new destination and is still on the Hens’ roster.

Asked if Delaware might bring in some more transfers, Carty said he sees recruiting as a year-round job.

“You’ll never hear me say anything other than we are actively trying to add value and talent to this roster at all times,” he said. “We are not going to stop recruiting.”

Carty also said he finds it pretty to recruit players to Delaware considering that he and some of his assistants are former Blue Hen players themselves.

“I think recruiting gets easy when you believe really strongly in your product,” said Carty. “It’s the same thing I learned in marketing and sales classes when I was at the University of Delaware.

“There’s enough guys on the staff that have gone through this process, have come to this university and have felt the kind of things that we’re trying to get these kids to feel. It kind of comes through. We’re all kids that wanted to come here.”

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UD Football Adds Three Transfers on National Signing Day

2/2/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware football team added three transfers on Wednesday’s National Signing Day. The three new additions include two wide receivers and one punter who will all be eligible to wear the Blue & Gold this fall.

The three newest Blue Hens - rising sophomore Jalyn Witcher and graduate students Ben Dinkel and Michael Jackson Jr. – join the seven NLI signees that signed with Delaware in December.

We can’t wait to welcome these three most recent additions to our UD football family. Their skills and character exemplify what we strive to be as Blue Hens. Our team just got better today!
Head Coach Ryan Carty
Meet the New Blue Hens

Ben Dinkel
FULL BIO

Gr. | P | 5-10 | 220
Kearney, Neb. / Kearney (South Dakota State)

2021 (at South Dakota State)
Punted nine times for 401 yards, averaging 44.6 yards per punt. 
Had a season-long punt of 63 yards against Northern Iowa 

2020-21 (at South Dakota State)
Averaged 41.9 yards on 29 punts in nine games
Landed 10 of his punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line and tallied five punts of 50-plus yards
Had two 61-yard punts - in season opener at Northern Iowa and in national semifinals against Delaware
Averaged 44.7 yards on 11 punt attempts in three Football Championship Subdivision playoff games
Punted four times for an average of 45.8 yards in national championship game versus Sam Houston
Selected to Missouri Valley Football Conference Academic Honor Roll

2019 (at South Dakota State)
Punted 48 times for an average of 41.6 yards 
Had 11 punts of at least 50 yards including a season-best 75-yard punt against Southern Utah
Landed at least one punt inside the opponents' 20-yard line in all 13 games
Averaged 55 yards on three punts versus Illinois State, highlighted by 68-yard punt
Pinned Northern Iowa inside its own 20 on all four of his punts in the playoffs 
Recipient of the Jackrabbits' Adam Vinatieri Award as Special Teams Most Valuable Player 
Selected to Missouri Valley Football Conference Academic Honor Roll

2018 (at South Dakota State)
Did not compete during the regular season, but rejoined the team during spring ball

2017 (at South Dakota State)
Redshirted

High School: Attended Kearney High School … Earned all-area and honorable mention Class A all-state honors from both the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald at Kearney High School after averaging 39.9 yards per punt as a senior ... Also recorded 76 tackles as a defensive back ... Was an academic all-conference honoree.

Michael Jackson Jr.

Jalyn Witcher
Our next signee is graduate transfer punter @BenDinkel! Dinkel brings a powerful leg that has averaged more than 42 yards per punt in his career!#BleedBlue302 | #BlueHens | #NSD22 pic.twitter.com/fqogB2NAbS

— Delaware Football (@DelawareFB) February 2, 2022
Our next signee is graduate transfer punter @BenDinkel! Dinkel brings a powerful leg that has averaged more than 42 yards per punt in his career!#BleedBlue302 | #BlueHens | #NSD22 pic.twitter.com/fqogB2NAbS

— Delaware Football (@DelawareFB) February 2, 2022
What a way to start off Signing Day! We are excited to welcome a dynamic wide receiver transfer in @Jalynwitcher03 to the Blue Hen Family! The 2021 Jerry Rice Award finalist will be exciting to watch in the Blue & Gold!#

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Upgrades Outdoor Video Displays with Daktronics Technology

1/27/2022 - bluehens.com

Delaware Stadium and Grant Stadium will welcome fans with nearly 3,000 square feet of digital signage in 2022
NEWARK, Del. - Adding to the Blue Hens fan experience, the University of Delaware has partnered with Daktronics (NASDAQ-DAKT) of Brookings, South Dakota, for the company to design, manufacture and install nearly 3,000 square feet of digital displays at Delaware Stadium and Grant Stadium on campus in Newark. Installation will take place in 2022 and the new displays will be operational for the corresponding sports seasons at both venues.

"We are incredibly excited to install brand new, state-of-the-art videoboards at Delaware Stadium and Grant Stadium this fall," said Chrissi Rawak, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services at the University of Delaware. "We are thrilled to add these digital displays, as we continue to make upgrades across our facilities that will improve the experiences of our fans and other events that take place in these venues."

At Delaware Stadium, the main end zone video display will measure approximately 40 feet high by 60 feet wide and the auxiliary display at the other end of the stadium will measure nearly 11 feet high by 18 feet wide. Both displays will feature 10-millimeter pixel spacing along with industry-leading environmental protection to ensure they operate as expected in the outdoor, Delaware weather.

Similarly, at Grant Stadium a new display at one end of the venue will measure nearly 11 feet high by 24 feet wide and will also feature 10-millimeter pixel spacing. All three of these displays are capable of variable content zoning which allows each to feature one large image or to be divided into multiple zones to show any combination of live video, instant replays, up-to-the-minute data and event relevant information, graphics and animations, and sponsorship messages.

Grant Stadium Videoboard 2022 
"We are very excited to once again partner with the University of Delaware on these two special projects," said Fran Kulas, Daktronics sales representative. "Delaware and Grant Stadiums are great venues for Blue Hen Athletics and other special events, and Daktronics is thrilled to help enhance the live event experience for student-athletes and fans alike."

Daktronics will also be including its powerful Show Control solution with this installation. This industry-leading system provides a combination of display control software, world-class video processing, data integration and playback hardware that forms a user-friendly production solution. For more information on Show Control, visit www.daktronics.com/show.

In addition to the equipment installation, the Blue Hens will also receive a content package that will be produced and delivered by Daktronics Creative Services.

Daktronics has grown with the sports industry from the company's beginnings in 1968. Today, the company has LED video display installations at hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States. For more information on what Daktronics can provide for the collegiate market, visit www.daktronics.com/college.

About UD Athletics
The University of Delaware, located in Newark, Delaware, is home to the Fightin' Blue Hens. Delaware sponsors 21 varsity sports teams that compete at the Division 1 level in the Colonial Athletic Association and the Football Championship Subdivision. The Blue Hens have won 10 national championships, including six in football, and one each in women's lacrosse and field hockey. In the classroom, the athletics department has had 16 consecutive semesters with a 3.000 or higher student-athlete G.P.A.

About Daktronics
Daktronics helps its customers to impact their audiences throughout the world with large-format LED video displays, message displays, scoreboards, digital billboards, audio systems and control systems in sport, business and transportation applications. Founded in 1968 as a USA-based manufacturing company, Daktronics has grown into the world leader in audiovisual systems and implementation with offices around the globe. Discover more at www.daktronics.com.

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Pair of Blue Hens Taking Part in Postseason FCS Senior Events

1/14/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – A pair of graduating University of Delaware student-athletes are taking part in postseason FCS senior events. Offensive lineman David Kroll participated in the 2022 College Gridiron Showcase & Symposium earlier in January, while defensive lineman Frank Burton III will play in the 2022 Dream Bowl X this weekend.

Kroll earned three All-American selections after being named to the Phil Steele FCS All-America Second Team, the HERO Sports 2021 FCS All-America Second Team and the Stats Perform FCS All-America Third Team. The graduate student capped off his Blue Hen career by being named to his second-consecutive All-CAA First Team. He started all 11 games this season at left tackle to anchor Delaware's offensive line. The Blue Hens averaged 119.7 yards per game on the ground, and had an All-CAA selection at running back for the third-straight season. Kroll, who was also a key member of the UD's punt unit, started each of the last 20 games for the Blue Hens and appeared in 53 games overall to tie a program record.

During the 2020-21 campaign, Kroll received First Team All-America selections from Stats Perform, AP and Athlon Sports.

Burton appeared in nine games in 2021, finishing with 21 tackles and 1.0 TFL while recovering one fumble. He tied a career-high with six tackles at Rhode Island while recording a TFL and fumble recovery against Saint Francis (Pa.) A two-time team captain, Burton compiled 80 tackles in his four seasons with the Blue & Gold after transferring from Ball State.

About the College Gridiron Showcase
The 2022 College Gridiron Showcase (CGS) & Symposium was held January 8-12 in Fort Worth, Texas. The first all-star event to implement an OTA format, CGS showcases players through practices and a controlled scrimmage with professional coaches. Players will also perform individual and team drills, participate in 1-on-1 drills, attend meetings and, in many cases, have the opportunity for personal interviews with scouts and executives. In addition to exposure to scouts, CGS provides participants with a strong professional football education component that includes mentoring, life coaching and seminars that will benefit them as they move forward in their professional lives in or outside of football. Seminars related to financial education, the life of a professional athlete, and on- and off-field player expectations are offered. Since the 2015 inaugural event, more than 600 CGS participants have been offered pro opportunities.

About the Dream Bowl
The 2022 Dream Bowl X will take place January 14-17 in Salem, Virginia with kickoff scheduled for Saturday, January 15 at 7 p.m. The Dream Bowl is a College Football All-Star Showcase of the best FCS, D-II and D-III players from across the country. The game and the series of events held over Martin Luther King Weekend are a celebration of the excellence, commitment, and sacrifice made by the players and their families. The Dream Bowl treats seniors to a real bowl game experience, providing first-class accommodations, meals and facilities for the players, along with a full weekend of football and social-related activities for their friends and families, which will create a lifetime of memories for their collegiate send-off game.

Watch the 2022 Dream Bowl X on FloSports.

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10. 

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PLAYERS MENTIONED
#95 Frank Burton III
DT 6' 2" 265 lbs Redshirt Junior
#72 David Kroll
OL 6' 7" 315 lbs Junior
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Worrilow returns to Delaware football team as volunteer coach
January 11, 2022 - Delaware State News

NEWARK — Another familiar name from Delaware football’s past is coming back to Newark.

Paul Worrilow, a standout linebacker for the Blue Hens who went on to play in the NFL, is joining head coach Ryan Carty’s staff as a volunteer assistant.

Carty also announced that he completed his staff with the hiring of Yale assistant Sean Goldrich as Delaware’s quarterbacks coach.

Worrilow was an All-American linebacker at UD and helped the Hens reach the FCS national championship game in 2010. He finished fifth all-time in program history with 377 career tackles.

In the NFL, Worrilow spent four seasons with the Falcons before also having stints with the Lions, Eagles, Ravens and Jets. He compiled 415 total tackles in 79 career games.

“I had the opportunity to coach against Paul and knew him to be a smart, detailed, aggressive and intense player,” said Carty. “Then having the ability to watch him represent the UD program at the NFL level allowed me to see those same qualities from the perspective of a fan. Now, I’m certain he can help us instill those traits in our current young men as part of our staff. His unique perspective as a Blue Hen who’s had the proficiency to do it at the highest level will be an enormous asset to our program.”

Goldrich was the wide receivers and assistant special teams coach at Yale since February of 2020.

Goldrich was a four-year starting quarterback at New Hampshire from 2011-15, where he was coached by Carty and led the Wildcats to the playoffs four times, including two trips to the semifinals. He played professionally in the Indoor Football League in 2017 and 2018.

“Sean is another rising star at the FCS level,” said Carty. “In his short coaching career, he’s made a name for himself as a great teacher, an energetic technician and an elite recruiter. His experience as a championship-level quarterback in my offense will make him uniquely qualified to help mentor the quarterbacks on this roster and evaluate and attract future Hens of the same caliber.”

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Paul Worrilow joins Blue Hen Football Coaching staff

Goldrich, Worrilow Round Out Football Coaching Staff

1/11/2022 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – University of Delaware Football Head Coach Ryan Carty completed his on-field coaching staff on Monday with the announcement of the additions of Sean Goldrich and Paul Worrilow. Goldrich, who played for Carty at the University of New Hampshire, will coach UD's quarterbacks, while Worrilow, an All-American linebacker with the Blue & Gold, will serve as a volunteer assistant.

Sean Goldrich, Quarterbacks Coach
Goldrich arrives at Delaware after working at Yale University as the wide receivers and assistant special teams coach since February of 2020, where he coached a pair of all-conference receivers. Goldrich served in the offensive quality control role for the Bulldogs from February 2019 to February 2020. He also worked at the University of New England from June 2018 to January 2019, coaching the wide receivers and quarterbacks. Goldrich was a four-year starting quarterback at the University of New Hampshire from 2011-15, where he was coached by Carty and led the Wildcats to the playoffs four times, including two trips to the semifinals. He played professionally in the Indoor Football League (IFL) in 2017 and 2018.

"Sean is another rising star at the FCS level. In his short coaching career, he's made a name for himself as a great teacher, an energetic technician and an elite recruiter. His experience as a championship-level quarterback in my offense will make him uniquely qualified to help mentor the quarterbacks on this roster and evaluate and attract future Hens of the same caliber." - Ryan Carty, Delaware Football Head Coach

Follow Sean Goldrich on Twitter: @CoachGoldrich

Paul Worrilow, Volunteer Coach
A 2013 University of Delaware football alum, two-time team captain, and Edgar Johnson Award winner, Worrilow will join the football program as a volunteer coach. The Wilmington, Del. native was an All-American linebacker at UD that helped the Blue Hens advance to the national championship game in 2010. Worrilow finished his decorated career ranked fifth all-time in program history with 377 career tackles. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and appeared in all 16 games in each of his first two seasons. His 142 total tackles in 2014 ranked fifth in the NFL and he was named a team captain in both 2014 and 2015. Worrilow appeared in 59 games over four seasons with the Falcons before playing in 13 games for the Detroit Lions in 2017. He has also been a member of the Philadelphia Eagles (2018), Baltimore Ravens (2019), and New York Jets (2019-20) squads, compiling 415 total tackles in 79 career games.

"I had the opportunity to coach against Paul and knew him to be a smart, detailed, aggressive and intense player. Then having the ability to watch him represent the UD program at the NFL level allowed me to see those same qualities from the perspective of a fan. Now, I'm certain he can help us instill those traits in our current young men as part of our staff. His unique perspective as a Blue Hen who's had the proficiency to do it at the highest level will be an enormous asset to our program." - Ryan Carty, Delaware Football Head Coach

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Kroll, Whitehead Named to Stats Perform FCS All-America Third Team
12/20/2021 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – The University of Delaware football team had a pair of student-athletes named Stats Perform FCS All-Americans, as announced on Monday. Offensive lineman David Kroll and safety Kedrick Whitehead both earned selections to the third team.

Kroll receives his second All-America nod after being named to the HERO Sports 2021 FCS All-American Second Team last week. He capped off his Blue Hen career by starting all 11 games this season at left tackle to anchor Delaware's offensive line. The Blue Hens averaged 119.7 yards per game on the ground, and had an All-CAA selection at running back for the third-straight season. Kroll, who was also a key member of the UD's punt unit, started each of the last 20 games for the Blue Hens and appeared in 53 games overall to tie a program record

The graduate student earned All-CAA First Team honors for the second-straight season. During the 2020-21 campaign, Kroll received First Team All-America selections from Stats Perform, AP and Athlon Sports.

Whitehead ranked second on the defense in 2021 with 76 tackles, earning his second-straight All-CAA First Team selection, and third all-conference honor overall. The two-time All-American was a force in Delaware secondary, breaking up eight passes and creating a turnover at Rhode Island. Whitehead finished with 1.5 TFL and had three games with at least 10 tackles, including a career-high 15 against James Madison.

The senior earns All-America honors for the third-straight season after being named a Stats Perform, Associated Press and Athlon Sports First Team All-American following the spring campaign and a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American in 2019.

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10. 

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Two more players, Rojas stay with Delaware Blue Hens
December 16, 2021
By Andy Walter - Delaware State News
NEWARK — There’s been some big changes around the Delaware football program this week.

But apparently some big things are also going to stay the same for the Blue Hens.

Two of Delaware’s top returning seniors, receiver Thyrick Pitts and linebacker Johnny Buchanan, both announced on Thursday that they’re withdrawing from the NCAA Transfer Portal and will finish their careers with the Hens.

New head coach Ryan Carty also said that defensive coordinator Manny Rojas is one of three assistant coaches from Danny Rocco’s staff who will also remain at UD.

Of the handful of top players who put their names in the portal when Rocco was fired, only kicker Ryan Coe (Cincinnati) and linebacker Colby Reeder (Iowa State) have left so far.

Quarterback Nolan Henderson took his name out of the portal on Monday.

Pitts had offers from Hawaii, South Florida and James Madison among others.

“After a lot of thought and prayer, I have decided to take my name out of the transfer portal,” Pitts wrote on social media. “Thank you to all of the coaches who have reached out to me throughout this process and welcomed me into their programs. With that being said, Delaware is and will always be my home.”

“After meeting Coach Carty and finding out that Coach Rojas will remain at UD,” Buchanan wrote. “I can’t see myself playing college ball anywhere else. We have UNFINISHED BUSINESS.”

Along with Rojas, cornerbacks coach Holman Copeland and linebackers coach Rich Yahner will remain on Carty’s staff.

Rojas returned to Delaware as defensive coordinator last spring. The Hens finished third in the FCS in scoring defense and fourth in total defense while carrying a plus-11 turnover margin that included 11 interceptions.

Turnovers played a key role in Delaware’s CAA title run and FCS Semifinal appearance as the Blue Hens had at least one takeaway in all but one game and multiple turnovers forced in five of seven.

Rojas also coached at UD from 2017-18 as the linebackers coach.

Defensive quality control assistant Jalen Kindle, a former UD player, will also stay on staff.

“I’m excited to keep some familiar faces on staff in Manny, Holman, Rich and Jalen,” said Carty. “Manny is an experienced coach and great coordinator. He has been able to create a defensive scheme that attacks and applies pressure to opposing offenses which matches our style of play.”

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Carty feels right at home as Delaware's new football coach
Hens hope new coach's energy will turn program around

By Andy Walter - 12/14/21 - Delaware State News
NEWARK — Ryan Carty never got to be the starting quarterback at Delaware.

He ended up as the backup to three Division I transfers during his career in the mid-2000s.

So, sure, there were a couple times when Carty considered transferring and maybe finding a Division II program where he’d have a better chance to play.

But he always decided to stay with the Blue Hens.

“I didn’t want to leave Delaware,” Carty said. “I loved my time here ... and my buddies and being around the guys. It (transferring) wasn’t worth it for me.”

On Monday, Carty officially returned to the Delaware football program as its new head coach — a job a lot fewer men have held than starting QB for the Hens.

The 38-year-old former Sam Houston State offensive coordinator is just the seventh full-time head football coach at UD since 1940. He’s also the youngest Delaware head coach since 31-year-old Dave Nelson was hired in 1951.

At a gathering of media, season-ticket holders and university staff in the Whitney Athletic Center on Monday morning, Carty said he wasn’t sure if he’d ever become a head coach at the college level. But, if he did, Delaware was the place he wanted to be.

“No, I didn’t think this would happen,” said Carty. “Not that I didn’t want it to happen. (But) there’s 128 FCS jobs in the country to be a head coach and I’m one of them. So the odds weren’t in my favor.

“But I certainly desired to do something like this. This place is so special to me that the minute there was an opportunity to do it, I attacked it. I knew how much it meant to me — and how much it meant to the people I played with and the people that have played before me — to be able to get a Blue Hen back and try to go win some championships.”

With the NCAA’s early fall signing day coming up on Wednesday, Carty may have already landed his biggest recruit.

Quarterback Nolan Henderson, who had several offers after entering the NCAA Transfer Portal, said Monday that he’ll be staying with the Hens.

Carty was actually the first college coach to offer Henderson a college scholarship, when he was only a sophomore at Smyrna High. At the time, Carty was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire.

“Looking back, I guess I’ve known him the longest out of any college coach,” said Henderson, who attended Monday’s announcement. “So it’s neat to kind of come full circle.

“I’m excited. I think his energy, his vision for the program, just his mentality all together — attacking, being aggressive — especially where I come from, my view of football matches his. You have to attack. You can’t wait to take a punch, you’ve got to throw the first punch.

“I’m happy,” said Henderson. “You hear the rumors of who the candidates are. I was rooting for him. We had a great meeting.”

There was a lot of talk on Monday about getting the Hens back to a more aggressive, creative style of football. That’s especially true on offense, where Carty has coached for his entire career.

While he hasn’t hired any of his staff yet, Carty said he would be calling plays for Delaware. Of course, more offense might also put more fans in the stands — something that’s been a growing problem for Delaware lately.

“We need to make sure the fans are there for the players and the players are playing hard for the fans,” said Carty, who was a member of the Hens’ 2003 national championship team. “A lot of it is about product, right? We’re going to have kids that play their butts off and we’re going to go get some wins.”

UD athletic director Chrissi Rawak said she talked to 10 candidates and actually interviewed four for the position. She said she flew about 5,000 miles in her search.

Rawak said Carty’s aggressive approach to football was definitely a plus for him.

“It was clear based on my own observations and in talking to a lot of other people, that was an important component to this hire,” she said. “It’s one of many. But there was no question that having somebody that was going to provide that energy and excitement. ... it was even feedback I got from the players.

“They were really looking for somebody that was going to come in and create a different kind of energy that allowed them to attack and play aggressive and smart.”

Delaware president Dennis Assanis said he told Carty there were three things he wanted to see from the Hens with him as coach.

Assanis said he wanted to “create an exhilarating experience” at Delaware Stadium for both the fans and players.

“We want to see everybody come back to the stadium,” he said.

Assanis said he also wanted to see “long seasons with double-digit wins.” He also said that “every year, I pledge that we want to win a very important game. And that’s Villanova.”

Finally, Assanis concluded, “we want to return the University of Delaware’s football program to its rightful place.

“Back to greatness,” he concluded. “We do want to earn a trip to the championship game within four years or less, Ryan.

“Those are the three simple things I asked for,” Assanis said as the crowd broke into laughter. “I’m not demanding. We believe that Ryan is going to be great coach.”

While Carty never got the chance to play much as a Blue Hen player, he did accomplish at least one pretty notable thing. Despite not being a starter, he was voted a team captain as a senior in 2006.

Delaware hopes that kind of leadership will get the program back on track.

“As sincerely as I can say it, I am so excited, humbled, thankful to be blessed with an opportunity to come back home,” said Carty. “This Blue Hen family matters to me.”

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A History: What's ailing UD? Hens hopes football investments, Carty hiring make winning a habit again
Kevin Tresolini
Delaware News Journal - 12/14/21

Chrissi Rawak arrived as University of Delaware athletic director in May of 2016 and admired those familiar-looking football helmets and quickly learned of the Blue Hens’ historic success.

They’d won six national championships at their level and been an NCAA Tournament regular, but were in the midst of their longest postseason drought.

Delaware couldn’t even contend for a Colonial Athletic Association title when Rawak arrived from Michigan.

“That was one of the things that was clear to me on my first visit that I wondered,” Rawak said recently. “Why are we not winning?

“And then when you look under the hood of the Cadillac, you’re like ‘OK, now I understand.’ The investment that we really needed to have in order to compete …

It wasn’t there, Rawak realized.

Delaware had been relying on its winning tradition, large fan base and football notoriety.

It had not, she felt, provided the infrastructure that, in the 21st century, was necessary to be among the elite in the NCAA’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Expectations of coaches, players, fans and media were as grand as ever. Every preseason began with the stated goal of Delaware competing for a national championship.

But the tools needed to actually achieve that were not in place.

“We were not investing at a level and having the resources tied to our program to be able to produce that,” Rawak said. “That was not happening. Facilities, number of coaches, some of the support staff.”

At the same time, on-field performance shows Delaware, which hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since 2010 and has fired three coaches in that span, also didn’t have the players and accompanying direction that success demands. 
Delaware athletic director Chrissi Rawak watches the Rhode Island possession in the first overtime of Delaware's 44-36, three overtime win at Rhode Island's Meade Stadium in 2019.

Recent facility and financial improvements and Friday’s hiring of UD graduate Ryan Carty as coach are the latest attempts to alter that trend. Carty was officially introduced Monday.

“The way that people feel about this program, I can certainly relate,” Carty said, “because I feel the same way.”

Carty, 38, was a backup quarterback at Delaware from 2002 through 2006, serving as a team captain his senior year. He then went into coaching, spending 11 years at CAA rival New Hampshire and the past four at Sam Houston under ex-Delaware coach K.C. Keeler. He has been an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past 10 seasons, regularly employing explosive and cunning systems of attack.

“The people I’ve talked to have absolutely been all in behind Ryan Carty,” said Russ Crook, a member of the Blue Hen Touchdown Club fan group. “He brings a tremendous amount of experience in high-powered offenses from winning programs and he’s gonna bring that back to us.’’

Few can match UD facilities in FCS

From a facility standpoint, the construction of the Whitney Athletic Center on the renovated west side of Delaware Stadium is the most obvious sign of how Delaware football has been upgraded since Rawak’s arrival. Its state-of-the-art weight-training, medical and academic-support facilities benefit all UD athletes, not just football players.
Former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco during a March 2 visit to the Whitney Athletic Center's Joe and Dana Flacco Family Strength and Conditioning Center.

That $60 million transformation, which included $25 million supplied by the university and $35 million in public donations, was a major upgrade.

Other improvements have come in the way of equipment enhancements, support staff and summer access. Delaware’s spending on football went from $6.5 million in 2016 to $7.6 million in 2017, according to the Knight Commission College Athletics Financial Information Database. It has held steady since according to U.S. Department of Athletics Equity in Education data.

The Delaware Field House also provides an indoor practice facility few can match in FCS. Future plans are for that building to be completely renovated and become the UD football hub.

Delaware has typically been among the top spenders in FCS football, though it needed to increase and be more mindful of where those dollars went.

It has not, however, been among the biggest winners for the past dozen years.

“If you really wanna be a legitimate contender for national championships here, which we do, then this is what was necessary,” Rawak said.
Delaware's Frank Burton III can't get through a pair of Villanova linemen as Daniel Smith throws in the second quarter at Delaware Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

Rawak fired Dave Brock as coach midway through the 2016 season – his Delaware teams had gone 19-22 – and after that season hired Danny Rocco, who’d had success at Liberty and CAA rival Richmond. Rocco had a sterling record of success at places with significantly fewer resources than Delaware.

It nearly paid off in the spring of 2021, when football was played at the FCS level after COVID-19 prevented a fall 2020 season.

Delaware went unbeaten during the regular season and reached the semifinals of the FCS playoffs before losing at South Dakota State. The 7-1 finish seemed a sign Delaware had regained the national stature it once enjoyed.

But the Blue Hens couldn’t maintain that momentum in the fall. Undermined by injuries to quarterback Nolan Henderson and other key players, they went 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the CAA.
Delaware head coach Danny Rocco enjoys the final moments of the fourth quarter of The Blue Hens' 24-3 win against William and Mary at Delaware Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.

Rocco, who was CAA spring Coach of the Year and placed third in the national Eddie Robinson Award coach of the year voting, was fired Nov. 29. He’d gone 31-23 overall and 20-16 in CAA games in five seasons as Delaware coach and had also ended Delaware’s agonizing seven-year playoff absence in 2018.

But that wasn’t good enough at Delaware, which hadn’t won more than seven games in a season under Rocco and, Rawak pointed out the day of Rocco’s ouster, had gone 1-7 versus rivals Villanova and James Madison.

Winning has been expected since 1940s

Winning has been the custom and, hence, the expectation since Bill Murray came to Delaware from Duke in 1940 and promptly launched the Blue Hens on a 32-game unbeaten streak that featured the 1946 small colleges national title, determined in a wire-service poll.

Successor Dave Nelson continue that tradition beginning in 1950, introducing the Delaware Wing-T offense to befuddled defenses and dazzled audiences and winning a 1963 national title.
#3 Pat Williams (he scored the winning TD) and his brother Paul Williams lift Tubby Raymond aloft after UD beat Villanova 21-20.

Tubby Raymond’s teams then further etched Delaware into the national football limelight, winning 1971 and ’72 wire-service national titles and the 1979 NCAA Division II version. His teams won at least eight games in 23 of his 36 seasons as coach from 1966-2001, with Raymond’s final victory making him college football’s ninth 300-game winner.

Under his successor, the former UD linebacker Keeler, Delaware surpassed seven wins in its four playoff seasons during his 2002-12 tenure, which featured the 2003 NCAA title and 2007 and 2010 runner-up finishes.

But Delaware has not surpassed seven wins in a season since going 12-3 in 2010. In fact, Delaware’s record since then is a mediocre 64-58 overall and a woeful 40-44 in CAA games.

Some blame Keeler’s January 2013 firing after 7-4 and 5-6 seasons for Delaware’s downfall. There was significant fanfare to see Keeler, Sam Houston’s coach since 2014 and the first coach to win FCS titles at two schools, brought back to Delaware after Rocco’s ouster.

He seemed to fit the bill for what Delaware was seeking. Any interest Delaware decision-makers had in possibly bringing Keeler back, however, was disallowed by school higher-ups who didn’t feel it was appropriate, Delaware Online/The News Journal has learned.

Delaware then hired his top offensive lieutenant in Carty.

“[Patrick] Harker, [Eric] Ziady and Brock are all responsible for setting the program back,” said longtime UD fan Ed Kowalczyk, referring to the president (Harker) and athletic director (Ziady), who fired Keeler and hired Brock.

That theme was echoed by John Cawley, the former Christiana High quarterback who has attended all but seven home games since 1969.

“I think the program has suffered not only from some less than desirable head coaching choices,” he said, “but the alignment with the head coaches to the athletic director to the president and board of trustees, and that’s extremely critical today.”

In hiring Carty, Delaware settled on a young coach with a proven background in offensive football, an area where Delaware has floundered of late, who also has important UD connections.

“This Blue Hen family matters to me,” Carty said.
Delaware football head coach Ryan Carty gives remarks during a press conference to introduced Carty as Delaware football coach Monday.

Delaware was once renowned for its offensive wizardry during its Wing-T days. It also had some prolific years under Keeler with quarterbacks Andy Hall, Joe Flacco and Pat Devlin operating his no-huddle spread attack.

But Delaware has finished in the top five of CAA total offense only once since 2010, and that was in the 2021 spring season. In the recently completed fall season, Delaware was 11th in the CAA averaging 299.8 yards per game.

Longtime UD fan Robert Kunicki cited “the lack of recruiting from FBS teams since Keeler was fired” as the main reason for Delaware’s subsequent downfall.

Each of Keeler’s four playoff teams featured an FBS-transfer at quarterback – Hall (Georgia Tech); Sonny Riccio (Missouri, 2004); Flacco (Pitt); and Pat Devlin (Penn State).

Bowling Green transfer Trent Hurley also had some success as Keeler’s last and Dave Brock’s first quarterback. Delaware had other FBS transfer quarterbacks since, but none were either able to win the starting job or hold it once they did.

“Keeler’s formula was about getting a top-notch quarterback from FBS and the offense fell in line,” Kunicki said.
Only victories will bring back fans

Carty is also well-versed in Blue Hen expectations and the importance of fostering relationships with fans, ex-players and other alumni. Those are bonds that need repair.

The evidence comes from home attendance numbers, which averaged 12,844 in 2021. That was Delaware’s lowest since 1968 (10,810) and nearly 10,000 below the record 22,280 in 2004.

“National championship teams have national championship fans. … That placed used to rock,” Carty said.
The west stands of Delaware Stadium show plenty of available seats in the second quarter of the Blue Hens' 17-10 win against Dixie State at Delaware Stadium Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

He recalled attending his first game at Delaware Stadium in 1999 to see brother Kevin Jr. play quarterback for William & Mary and being amazed at the crowd's role in the Hens' overtime win.

Delaware averaged 20,000-plus as recently as 2009 and 18,000-plus as recently as 2013, which is why Rawak says success on the field is critical in putting fans back in the seats.

“I think it’s winning,” she said. “We’re naïve to think it’s not.”

There are certainly other factors, Rawak added, pointing out that COVID-19 protocols certainly kept some people away this season.

Delaware was among the top nine nationally in I-AA/FCS attendance from 1997 through 2018, including second in 2002, 2005 and 2006. But Delaware ranked 11th nationally in 2019 and 10th in 2021, the last two seasons full capacity was permitted at Delaware Stadium.

“At the end of the day people want to come and watch teams win,” she said.

Certainly, Delaware never recovered from the disastrous levy it placed on most season-ticket purchases beginning in 2011 that Rawak eliminated after the 2016 season, her first at Delaware. The mandatory tack-on fee, which was $50 to $500 per ticket the first year but later reduced, alienated fans, including decades-long season-ticket holders who felt their loyalty was not appreciated.

It was famously derided as an attempt at “extortion” by longtime fan Patsy Keller and “blackmail” by former Blue Hen Touchdown Club president Connie Cecil. Kunicki, who’d begun attending games in 1998, held season tickets from 2004 through 2011. After the seat fees were added, he bought season tickets intermittently or purchased tickets on a per-game basis.

Delaware’s attempt to build a newer, young audience failed to fathom, many felt, that dedicated older followers kept tickets within families, passing them down through the generations, and that’s actually where younger fans were cultivated.

In 2010, the last year before the fee, which went to the UD Athletic Fund, was instituted, Delaware sold 9,700 season tickets. By the time it was eliminated, season ticket sales were roughly 5,500 and have below that since.

With the year 2022 closing in, Blue Hens followers have become nostalgic about winning football games, witnessing them in a full Delaware Stadium and following Delaware in its pursuit for a seventh national title.

Now that Delaware has the proper foundations in terms of finances and facilities, it will hope it also now has the right coach to lead the way.

“Ryan has the UD history that’s needed,” said Kemp Vye, who has attended UD games for 21 seasons. “FCS has changed so much, with the transfers in and out and so many other things to do.’’

Carty said he was to busy with his own football teams to pay close attention to what has been ailing the Blue Hens of late.

But he pledged Monday to put them back on a winning track.

“We’re gonna make a great product,” Carty said. “We’re gonna have kids that play their butts off and we’re gonna go get some wins.’’

Have an idea for a compelling local sports story or is there an issue that needs public scrutiny? Contact Kevin Tresolini at ktresolini@delawareonline.com and follow on Twitter @kevintresolini. Support local journalism by subscribing to delawareonline.com.

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Carty officially announced as Blue Hens' new football coach
December 10, 2021 
By Andy Walter - Delaware State News

NEWARK — The University of Delaware made it official this morning, announcing that Ryan Carty will be its next head football coach.

The former Blue Hen quarterback is still the offensive coordinator at Sam Houston State, which plays in the third round of the NCAA FCS Division I playoffs on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Carty was believed to be athletic director Chrissi Rawak’s choice to replace Danny Rocco since last week. He will be UD's youngest head coach since Dave Nelson, who was 31 when he became the Hens' head coach in 1951.

Tubby Raymond was 40 while K.C. Keeler was 43 when they became Delaware's head coach.

Carty will be just the seventh full-time head football coach the Hens have had since 1940. He won’t be formally introduced in a press conference until Monday at 11 a.m.

Carty will stay on at top-seeded Sam Houston State through the FCS playoffs, where the championship game is scheduled for Jan. 8. He is permitted to talk to Delaware's players and recruits while working on his coaching staff.

“We set out to find the best fit for Delaware football and we found an individual that exemplifies everything this University represents,” Rawak said in a press release. “Ryan is a winner and a champion, plain and simple. He has succeeded at every stop because he does it the right way and is committed to a culture of excellence.”

Former Delaware QB Ryan Carty during his playing days.
Carty's biggest job right away may be recruiting the players still on the Hens' roster.

Several of Delaware's top players, including quarterback Nolan Henderson, receiver Thyrick Pitts, linebackers Colby Reeder and Johnny Buchanan and safety Noah Plack have received numerous offers after putting their names in the NCAA Transfer Portal. Most said that staying at UD would remain an option.

The early NCAA signing date is Dec. 15.

Carty, who was also an assistant at Delaware’s CAA rival, New Hampshire for 11 seasons, helped the Bearkats win the FCS national title last spring under Keeler. He was named the FCS Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com and to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s “Top 40 Coaches Under 40” list.

“I’m so humbled and excited to be involved in ushering in a new phase of one of the elite traditions in all of college football,” said Carty. “I can’t wait to begin our quest towards greatness. My vision for this program is one that will make Newark and the state of Delaware proud of our success in the classroom, our passion in the community, and our relentless pursuit of championships on the football field.

“My own student-athlete experience at the University of Delaware prepared me for this moment.”

With Carty as OC, Sam Houston State has gone 34-10 record since 2018 and a 21-0 mark the past two seasons.

The Bearkats are currently ranked third in the nation in scoring offense (43.0 ppg), fourth in total offense (496.1 ypg), and sixth in rushing offense (241.7 ypg).

During the Bearkats’ undefeated 10-0 spring season, SHSU ranked first nationally in total yards (4,403), first in touchdowns (45), third in first downs (204), seventh in passing yards per attempt (8.6 ypa), eighth in passing yards per completion (14.3 ypc), ninth in scoring offense (38 ppg), 13th in total offense (440 ypg), and 13th in passing offense (282 ypg).

During Carty’s stint at New Hampshire, the Wildcats qualified for the FCS playoffs in each of Carty’s six seasons as offensive coordinator, compiling an 8-6 postseason record and reaching the semifinals in 2013 and 2014. The Wildcats garnered seven or more wins every season Carty was on staff.

As the offensive coordinator, UNH quarterbacks combined for 18,656 yards and 171 TDs in 80 contests with Carty leading the offense.

“I’m thoroughly excited for the University of Delaware to have one of its own coming home,” former UNH coach Sean McDonnell said in a statement. “Ryan is as good as an offensive football coach that I’ve been around in my 40 years. He’s smart, creative, hardworking, and great with the players. He brings an exciting element to the long, storied history of Delaware football.”

Carty comes from a coaching family. His father and two brothers all coached high school football in his home state of New Jersey.

A 2007 Delaware grad, Carty came to Newark after putting up big passing stats at Somerville High. But he ended up being a backup with the Hens, behind a pair of FBS transfers.

He was second string first to All-American Andy Hall on Delaware's 2003 national championship team and then to future NFL QB Joe Flacco.

"I have known Ryan for 20 years and he is a man of integrity and class," Hall said in a UD press release. "Ryan has always been a part of the Blue Hen family and he has proven that he is a true champion. He understands the history, culture, and expectations that come along with being the head coach at Delaware. I sincerely believe he is the coach that will restore the winning tradition and special culture that we have been craving as alum."

“It’s awesome to have someone who has been a part of the Delaware Football family back in position to take the program to the next level," said Flacco. "He knows what Delaware Stadium is like to play in when we are at our best and I can’t wait to see him bring it back."

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Carty Returns to Newark, Named UD Head Football Coach

12/10/2021 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. – Ryan Carty has returned home to Newark. Carty, a Delaware alum and member of the 2003 national championship team, has been named the head football coach announced Friday by Director of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation Services, Chrissi Rawak. Carty has spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Sam Houston.

"I am thrilled to welcome Ryan Carty as the new head coach of our football program", said UD President Dennis Assanis. "Ryan is a proud Blue Hen who is dedicated to the success of student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom, and he will bring exceptional creativity, energy and a championship mindset to our talented team. I know all of us — students, alumni, fans and especially Ryan's former teammates — will be looking forward to next season to cheer him and the Fightin' Blue Hens to victory."

Carty will be formally introduced at a press conference at 11 a.m. on Monday in the Whitney Athletic Center. The event will be streamed live and open to the public. RSVP's for the press conference are required. 

"I could not be more excited and proud to bring Coach Carty and his wife Katie home to the University of Delaware," said Rawak. "We set out to find the best fit for Delaware football and we found an individual that exemplifies everything this University represents. Ryan is a winner and a champion, plain and simple. He has succeeded at every stop because he does it the right way and is committed to a culture of excellence." 

Known for his explosive plays and high-energy offense, Carty was recognized for his offensive success in the spring. Named the FCS Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com and to Dave Campbell's Texas Football's "Top 40 Coaches Under 40" list, Carty played an instrumental part in Sam Houston winning the 2020 FCS National Championship and advancing to the FCS quarterfinals set for this weekend.

"I'm so humbled and excited to be involved in ushering in a new phase of one of the elite traditions in all of college football," said Carty. "I can't wait to begin our quest towards greatness. My vision for this program is one that will make Newark and the state of Delaware proud of our success in the classroom, our passion in the community, and our relentless pursuit of championships on the football field. My own student-athlete experience at the University of Delaware prepared me for this moment. I want to thank John Cochran, President Assanis and his wife Eleni, and Chrissi Rawak for this incredible opportunity. It's amazing to be back home with my Blue Hen family."

Carty's offense helped lead Sam Houston State to a 34-10 record since 2018 and a 21-0 mark the past two seasons.

Sam Houston is currently 11-0 and still competing in the FCS playoffs. The Bearkats are ranked third in the nation in scoring offense (43.0 ppg), fourth in total offense (496.1 ypg), and sixth in rushing offense (241.7 ypg).

During the Bearkats' undefeated 10-0 spring season, SHSU ranked first nationally in total yards (4,403), first in touchdowns (45), third in first downs (204), seventh in passing yards per attempt (8.6 ypa), eighth in passing yards per completion (14.3 ypc), ninth in scoring offense (38 ppg), 13th in total offense (440 ypg), and 13th in passing offense (282 ypg).

With a proven record as one of the top offensive coordinators and quarterbacks coaches in the nation, Carty coached SHSU quarterback and Walter Payton Award finalist Eric Schmid to Southland Conference Player of the Year honors on his way to leading the FCS in total passing yards in the spring.

During his four-year stint with Sam Houston State, the Bearkats have advanced to the playoffs two consecutive years and won two conference titles.

Prior to his stop in Huntsville, Carty was very familiar with the Colonial Athletic Association after an 11-year run on the New Hampshire coaching staff, including six years as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. 

During Carty's stint at New Hampshire, the Wildcats qualified for the FCS playoffs in each of Carty's six seasons as offensive coordinator, compiling an 8-6 postseason record and reaching the semifinals in 2013 and 2014. The Wildcats garnered seven or more wins every season Carty was on staff. As the offensive coordinator, UNH quarterbacks combined for 18,656 yards and 171 TDs in 80 contests with Carty leading the offense.

Carty, a team captain during his 2006 senior campaign, earned his bachelor's degree in management from Delaware in 2007. 

A native of Branchburg, N.J., Carty and his wife, Katie, are happy to join the Blue Hen family.

For the latest on the Delaware football program, follow the Blue Hens on Twitter @DelawareFB and Instagram @DelawareFootball, and like "Delaware Football" on Facebook. Follow Ryan Carty on Twitter @RyanCarty10. 
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What They're Saying…

"I couldn't be more excited for Ryan to be coming back to UD. He was a great teammate and has earned his opportunity to continue the proud tradition of Delaware Football as Head Coach. Ryan is a tireless worker, tremendous teacher, and dedicated student of the game. He's demonstrated unparalleled X's and O's acumen, yet also combines a rare ability to see the big picture without missing a single detail. I can't wait to watch the positive impact he and his staff have on our Delaware student-athletes and the entire campus community. Congrats Coach Carty and Go Hens!" - Joe Bleymaier '05, Wide Receiver Coach for the Kansas City Chiefs

"They say hardwork and perseverance builds great character but one must first make up their mind to do it. Ryan displayed that characteristic on and off the field and passed that through to his teammates. Congratulations on this achievement and all his future achievements as the head coach of our Blue Hens!" - Omar Cuff '08, Delaware Hall of Fame Member and UD all-time leading rusher

"As a Blue Hen, I am very excited to have Ryan Carty as the next head coach at the University of Delaware! I have known Ryan for 20 years and he is a man of integrity and class. Ryan has always been a part of the Blue Hen family and he has proven that he is a true champion! He understands the history, culture, and expectations that come along with being the head coach at Delaware. I sincerely believe he is the coach that will restore the winning tradition and special culture that we have been craving as alumni! Blue Hen nation should be very excited!! Go Hens!" - Andy Hall '04, 2003 National Championship Quarterback

"It's awesome to have someone who has been a part of the Delaware Football family back in position to take the program to the next level. He knows what Delaware Stadium is like to play in when we are at our best and I can't wait to see him bring it back. Go Hens!" - Joe Flacco '08, Delaware Hall of Fame Member, Super Bowl Champion and MVP

"Ryan is one of the top young coaches in the country. I knew him as a smart, tough player, and since then I've been really impressed to watch him as a coach; quickly rising through the ranks at New Hampshire and winning a NCAA Division I FCS national championship as Offensive Coordinator at Sam Houston." - UCLA Head Football Coach, Chip Kelly


"I'm thoroughly excited for the University of Delaware to have one of its own coming home. Ryan is as good as an offensive football coach that I've been around in my 40 years. He's smart, creative, hardworking, and great with the players. He brings an exciting element to the long, storied history of Delaware football."
- Sean McDonnell, Former University of New Hampshire Head Football Coach

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Former Blue Hen QB reportedly set to become Delaware head coach
Zach Barnett - Monday 12/6/21
FootballScoop.com

Ryan Carty is expected to take over his alma mater's program at the conclusion of Sam Houston's playoff run

Carty played for the Blue Hens from 2002-06, serving as co-captain as a senior. He was a redshirt freshman on a Delaware team that clobbered undefeated Colgate to win the 2003 national championship.

He's spent the past four seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on KC Keeler's staff at Sam Houston. Carty helped the Bearkats win their first national championship in the spring and sits three wins away from defending that seven-month-old title. 

Sam Houston hosts No. 7 Montana State in the FCS quarterfinals on Saturday; Carty will presumably join the Blue Hens at the conclusion of Sam Houston's playoff run.

Carty hails from a football family. His father, Kevin, coached Ryan and his two older brothers at Somerville High School in New Jersey. Kevin, Jr., played quarterback at North Carolina and William & Mary and Sean played wide receiver at Rutgers; both coached high school ball in New Jersey.

Prior to Sam Houston, Carty spent 11 seasons on staff at New Hampshire. 

Delaware reached the FCS playoffs 20 times from 1973-2010 but has done so just twice in the last 11 years. Danny Rocco was fired last week after posting a 31-23 record in five seasons, including a 5-6 mark this year.

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Ex-Blue Hens QB expected to be new Delaware coach
Kevin Tresolini
Delaware News Journal - 12/4/21

In what would surely be the culmination of a professional dream, Ryan Carty is expected to be the next University of Delaware football coach.

A backup Blue Hens quarterback from 2002-06 and co-captain as a senior, Carty is in his fourth season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at defending NCAA FCS champ Sam Houston State.

Before that, he served 11 years on the staff of Delaware’s Colonial Athletic Association rival New Hampshire, initially hired by then-Wildcats offensive coordinator Chip Kelly and spending his last six seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. UNH reached the NCAA playoffs every year Carty was there, including 2013 and 2014 semifinal runs.
Ryan Carty

Carty, 38, has frequently overseen prolific and imaginative offensive attacks and would be charged with bringing those same qualities to a Blue Hens program that has frequently lacked firepower in recent years.

Top-seeded Sam Houston State (11-0) won an FCS second-round playoff duel with Incarnate Word 49-42 Saturday. The Bearkats piled up 556 yards, including 346 rushing

Carty would not comment on the situation when contacted Friday. Delaware could announce his hiring Monday.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Hens couldn’t meet UD standard under Rocco

Delaware has also seen a procession of players enter the transfer portal, first linebacker Colby Reeder and since quarterback Nolan Henderson, wide receiver Thyrick Pitts and linebacker Johnny Buchanan. That certainly adds a sense of urgency to Delaware’s desire to have a new coach installed. 
Ryan Carty gets ready to uncork a pass at Delaware Stadium in 2005.

Carty springs from a successful New Jersey family tree of football coaches. Dad Kevin Sr. was a longtime college and high school coach, who was particularly successful guiding his three son’s teams at Somerville High. Older brothers Kevin Jr., who played quarterback at North Carolina and William & Mary, and Sean, a Rutgers wide receiver, have been New Jersey high school coaches, too.

Ryan has plied the family trade in the FCS college ranks and now may take the mantle at one of the nation’s esteemed non-major college programs, where coaches Bill Murray (1940-50), Dave Nelson (1951-65) and Tubby Raymond (1966-2001) are College Football Hall of Famers.

Carty was one of Raymond’s final recruits in early 2002 after he’d thrown for 3,504 yards and a state record 43 touchdowns as a Somerville senior. Raymond retired shortly after.

Carty’s task would be to bring Delaware the sustained national stature it enjoyed under previous coaches.

In the 38 seasons from 1973-2010, Delaware reached the NCAA playoffs 20 times. Delaware has made it just twice since. The Blue Hens have also won six national titles, four through wire-service polls and two in playoffs, including in 2003 when Carty backed up starting quarterback Andy Hall.

The Delaware position has been vacant since Danny Rocco’s dismissal Monday. Rocco was 31-23 overall and 20-16 in CAA games in five seasons as Delaware coach. His 2018 and 2021 (spring) teams reached the NCAA playoffs, with the latter reaching the FCS semifinals in a 7-1 season. But Delaware was 5-6 this fall, its second losing record in three years.
Ex-Delaware quarterback Ryan Carty (left), now New Hampshire's offensive coordinator, shakes hands with Delaware running back Omar Cuff after the Blue Hens' loss at UNH in 2007.

In discussing Rocco’s dismissal, athletic director Chrissi Rawak said she was seeking “someone that really understands the traditions of football [at Delaware] and understands what we have here, the talent we have here and is able to really maximize that talent. Somebody who thrives under very high expectations.”

Those with Delaware ties were therefore natural targets, with former UD quarterback and NFL MVP Rich Gannon’s interest in the position even gauged, though Gannon has not coached.

To the delight of many fans and former players, Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler immediately surfaced as the logical candidate, having guided the Blue Hens to an 86-52 record, the 2003 NCAA title and the 2007 and 2010 NCAA title games as coach from 2002-12. Keeler’s Sam Houston State teams have fared even better since he became Bearkats coach in 2014, going 79-22 entering Saturday’s game.

But any interest Delaware had in pursuing Keeler was vetoed by UD higher-ups, Delaware Online/The News Journal has learned. Keeler was fired by Delaware in January of 2013 and received a lucrative financial payout for the remaining term of his contract. 

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Rocco fired as Delaware football coach

November 29, 2021 By Andy Walter  Delaware State News

NEWARK — Danny Rocco came to Delaware with the expectations that he’d continue the same kind of success he’d had at his last two coaching stops.
But with the Blue Hens still trying to find any consistency after five seasons, UD has decided to find another coach to get its football program turned around.

Delaware announced first in a letter to its season-ticket holders and then in a press release today that Rocco won’t be returning for a sixth season with the Blue Hens.

The former Richmond and Liberty head coach originally signed a five-year contract at the school but was given an extra year after 2020 was heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic.
“Danny Rocco will not be returning as our Head Football Coach next year,” Delaware athletic director Chrissi Rawak wrote in the letter. “We are committed to a championship caliber football program in all areas and producing the results on the field that matches our level of investment. Winning championships year in and year out.

"As we turn the page, I want to thank Coach Rocco for all that he and his staff did during his 5 years in Newark. We are in a better place than when he arrived as he has created a strong team culture and developed great young men. Coach Rocco’s commitment to our student-athletes experience, navigating the team safely through a pandemic and winning a CAA championship are great examples of his efforts and his character. We are grateful for all that he did in his time at Delaware and the foundation he laid for the future. 

"As we move forward, our commitment to winning championships has never been greater. The opportunity to find the right leader for our football team is now. Our search for a new coach begins immediately and I will work relentlessly to move through the process thoughtfully and thoroughly, but also swiftly. Confidentiality throughout this process will be critical to its success. I will involve select Delaware Football alums who will help me find the coach with the experiences, values and characteristics we need to achieve our goals the Delaware Way.
“Delaware is a special place. Being a Blue Hen is a true honor. And we need your support as we move forward to find our next head coach.”

Rawak is slated to hold an online press conference today at 3 p.m.
Rocco went 31-23 with the Hens, including a 20-16 mark in Colonial Athletic Association. But they reached the NCAA FCS Division I playoffs only twice in that span.
Delaware’s most successful campaign under Rocco came last spring when the Hens went 7-1 in a limited schedule and reached the FCS semifinals. Rocco was named the CAA Coach of the Year.
With most of its roster returning in the fall, Delaware was ranked No. 5 in the country in preseason. But the Hens finished only 5-6 when their season ended on Nov. 13.
Delaware went just 2-5 in its last seven games this fall. The Hens also finished only 5-7 in 2019. Those last two fall season were the only two losing campaigns of Rocco’s head coaching career.
In his 16-season career, Rocco’s teams are 121-65.

The Hens did lose some players to injuries this fall, most notably standout quarterback Nolan Henderson. The Smyrna High grad, a first-team All-CAA pick in the spring, missed the final seven games after undergoing abdominal surgery.

When he talked to reporters in a post-season media session on Nov. 15, Rocco said he was optimistic about next season with Henderson’s expected return. He talked about trying to get back to the playoffs in the fall.

“I don’t know, I think these guys are kind of like, ‘Things didn’t work out for us this fall,’” Rocco said at the time. “‘We didn’t play as well as we could have or should have. We had some adversity. We lost some key guys. It is what it is. We want to get back to that moment (in the playoffs).’

“And the best way to get back to that moment is getting back to basics and us focusing on the best version of us that we can be. Because a lot of these guys have that taste in their mouths and we all want to get back to those moments.”
Standout linebacker Colby Reeder, expected to be one of the Hens’ top players next year, has entered the transfer portal for his final season of eligibility.
There was only limited reaction so far from the Hens' current players.
"Simply, Danny Rocco was the man for that locker room," senior receiver Gene Coleman wrote on socal media. "If you weren’t in it, you cannot speak on it."

"I don’t think people understand the cultural turnaround that man started," wrote former player Dominick Covatto. "Forever grateful Coach."
Delaware has put a good deal of money into the football program over the past few years, with upgrades to Delaware Stadium, which included the building of the Whiteney Athletic Center. But the Hens' home attendance has been dwindling, although it was still higher than most FCS programs nationally.

Only 8,391 fans came out for a home game against Dixie State. That was the lowest attendance for a UD home game in the fall since 1967.
For a program that had only three football head coaches between 1940 and 2001, Delaware has gone through a lot of changes in the last decade.Since K.C. Keeler was fired after the 2012 season, the Hens have had three head coaches: Dave Brock (2013-16), Dennis Dottin-Carter (2016, interim) and Rocco (2017-21).
After having just two losisng seasons between 1968-2000, Delaware has gine through eight losing seasons since then.

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Football Leadership Change
11/29/2021 - bluehens.com

NEWARK, Del. - University of Delaware Director of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation Services, Chrissi Rawak, announced today that Head Football Coach Danny Rocco will not return next season. Rocco was 31-23 in his five seasons at Delaware, including winning a CAA championship in the 2020-21 season.

"Coach Rocco has been a great leader of the young men in our football program and created a strong team culture in his time at Delaware. He was committed to our student-athletes holistic experience and developed a solid foundation," said Rawak. 

"The decision to make a coaching change came down to the expectations we have for winning championships year in and year out at Delaware. I believe this is the right time for us to bring in new leadership that will deliver these championship experiences on and off the field." A national search will begin immediately. There will be media availability with Chrissi Rawak .

Dear Blue Hens, 

Danny Rocco will not be returning as our Head Football Coach next year. We are committed to a championship caliber football program in all areas and producing the results on the field that matches our level of investment. Winning championships year in and year out. 

As we turn the page, I want to thank Coach Rocco for all that he and his staff did during his 5 years in Newark. We are in a better place than when he arrived as he has created a strong team culture and developed great young men. Coach Rocco's commitment to our student-athletes experience, navigating the team safely through a pandemic and winning a CAA championship are great examples of his efforts and his character. We are grateful for all that he did in his time at Delaware and the foundation he laid for the future. 

As we move forward, our commitment to winning championships has never been greater. The opportunity to find the right leader for our football team is now. Our search for a new coach begins immediately and I will work relentlessly to move through the process thoughtfully and thoroughly, but also swiftly. Confidentiality throughout this process will be critical to its success. I will involve select Delaware Football alums who will help me find the coach with the experiences, values and characteristics we need to achieve our goals the Delaware Way. 

Delaware is a special place. Being a Blue Hen is a true honor. And we need your support as we move forward to find our next head coach.

Go Hens, 

Chrissi Rawak
Director of Athletics & Recreation

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Delaware has 13 Selected to 2021 CAA Football All-Conference Teams

11/23/2021 - bluehens.com  

NEWARK, DEL. – The University of Delaware football team had 13 student-athletes named to the 2021 CAA Football All-Conference Teams, as announced by the league on Tuesday afternoon. Three Blue Hens earned selections to the All-CAA First Team, while six were placed on the second team and four more received nods to the third team. The postseason teams were selected by votes of the league's 12 head coaches who could not vote for their own players. 

FIRST TEAM

Offensive lineman David Kroll () earned his second-consecutive selection to the first team after another strong season in 2021. The graduate student was a First Team All-American following the spring season and followed that up by starting all 11 games this fall at left tackle and was also a key member of the Blue Hens' punt unit. Sophomore punter Tyler Pastula  put together a stellar campaign in 2021, leading the CAA and ranking 21st in the country with an average of 42.5 yards per punt. He was also atop the conference as he landed 24 punts inside of the opponent's 20-yard line and had 13 kicks travel at least 50 yards. Pastula was named twice named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week after Delaware's victories over Dixie State and William & Mary. Senior safety Kedrick Whitehead () ranked second on the defense with 76 tackles in 2021, earning his second-straight selection to the first team, and third All-CAA honor overall. The two-time All-American was a force in Delaware secondary, breaking up eight passes and creating a turnover at Rhode Island. Whitehead finished with 1.5 TFL and had three games with at least 10 tackles, including a career-high 15 against James Madison. 

SECOND TEAM

Linebacker Johnny Buchanan received his second All-CAA postseason honor after leading the Blue Hens, and ranking 11th in the CAA with 81 tackles. The senior was also third on the team with 5.5 TFL and had three games with at least 10 tackles, all coming against ranked conference opponents including a career-high 13 tackles against James Madison. An All-CAA First Team selection in the spring, Buchanan recorded one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. Cornerback Nijuel Hill () earned his second all-conference nod this fall after recording 30 tackles and 2.0 TFL as a fifth-year senior. An All-CAA First Team selection and Second Team All-American in the spring, Hill was third on the Blue Hens in the fall with eight passes defended, including a key fourth-quarter interception against Albany. Running back Dejoun Lee wrapped up his decorated career with his second All-CAA selection. The graduate student, who was named the 2021 Spring CAA Offensive Player of the Year, led the Blue Hens in rushing with 814 yards on 178 carries. He was fourth in the conference with 4.6 yards per carry and 74.0 yards per game, and had four games with at least 100 rushing yards, including a stretch of three-straight contests. A threat in multiple ways, Lee also ranked sixth in the CAA with 102.1 all-purpose yards per game as he also caught 13 passes for 90 yards and returned 11 kickoffs for 219 yards. Thyrick Pitts () led the Delaware wide receivers for the third-straight year to earn his second all-conference nod. The graduate student finished with team highs of 43 receptions for 669 yards and he ranked fourth in the CAA with seven touchdown receptions. He was fifth in the conference with 66.9 receiving yards per game and had three games against CAA opponents with at least 100 receiving yards, including a career day of 11 catches for 169 yards against Richmond. Safety Noah Plack received his second-straight nod to the All-CAA Second Team after ranking fourth on the team with 57 tackles despite missing the first three games of the season due to injury. The redshirt junior was a dominant force both in the secondary and near the line of scrimmage, finishing with three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and 0.5 TFL. Junior Jourdan Townsend () earned his first career postseason honor as he has turned into one of the most dominant punt returners in the conference. He returned 16 punts on the season, averaging 8.9 yards per return to rank third in the CAA. In Delaware's victory over Albany, Townsend had a season-long return of 38 yards to set up the go-ahead touchdown. 

THIRD TEAM

Junior placekicker Ryan Coe put together a very strong season to earn his second all-conference selection. He connected on 37-of-40 of his total kicks, including going a perfect 23-of-23 on PAT attempts to extend his overall streak to 47-consecutive makes to start his career. Coe finished 14-of-17 on field goals, including making six of his eight tries from beyond 40 yards to tie a UD record and kicked three of the five longest field goals in CAA (53, 51, 48). Artis Hemmingway () earned his first postseason honor after appearing in nine games with eight starts on the defensive line in 2021. The redshirt senior finished with 28 total tackles while ranking third on the team with 2.5 sacks and fifth with 4.5 TFL. He finished with five tackles and a sack against Rhode Island, while also adding five tackles and a TFL against William & Mary. Chase McGowan put together his second-straight All-CAA campaign after receiving second-team honors in the spring. The junior appeared in all 11 games this season, finishing with 20 tackles while leading the Blue Hens with 4.0 sacks and ranking second with 6.0 TFL. He had two sacks against both Stony Brook and Dixie State, while also finishing with a season-high five tackles against the Trailblazers. Despite missing three games due to injury, Colby Reeder put together an all-conference caliber season to earn his first postseason honor since being named the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017. The redshirt senior finished 2021 with 55 tackles to rank fifth on the team and was also second on the UD defense with 3.5 sacks and third with 5.5 TFL. He had a season-high 12 tackles, a sack and 1.5 TFL against Stony Brook.

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Villanova stops Blue Hens short of upset bid 21-13
November 20, 2021
By Andy Walter - DELAWARE STATE NEWS

NEWARK — As the final minutes drained out of its football season, Delaware had one last chance to write a nice ending to an otherwise lackluster campaign.

But, like so many other times this fall, the Blue Hens just couldn’t make it happen.

Eighth-ranked Villanova stopped Delaware a couple feet short of the goal line with 1:06 remaining to preserve its hard-earned 21-13 CAA victory over the rival Hens before a season-ending crowd of 11,437 in Delaware Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Even if it had scored, Delaware (3-5 CAA, 5-6 overall) would have needed to add a two-point conversion just to tie the contest, of course.

The Hens, though, never even got that chance after a pair of Wildcat defenders wrestled fullback Mateo Vandamia to the ground after he pulled in a shovel pass from quarterback Anthony Paoletti. The play started on the two and ended just inside the one.

It was the last gasp of a season in which Delaware began the fall with high hopes following a CAA championship spring campaign. Instead, the Hens could only watch the Wildcats (7-1 CAA, 9-2 overall) celebrate their own league title in the fading sunlight on Saturday evening.

Delaware has now registered five losing seasons just since 2012.

“It’s a disappointing ending to a disappointing season,” said UD coach Danny Rocco. “It’s a game of inches and that’s kind of where this thing ended up today. I feel really badly for our seniors.

“This group has done an awful lot for us and had done an awful lot for our program. To be in this moment right now and feeling the way we feel, I wish we could have come up with a better ending.”

After watching Villanova erase its 10-7 advantage with two quick fourth-quarter touchdowns less than three minutes apart, the Hens seemingly got a miraculous break when the Wildcats fumbled the ball at their own 21 with only 3:08 remaining. Safety Noah Plack finally corralled the rolling football for Delaware.

Four straight running plays got the Hens to the two on third down. After a quarterback sneak by Zach Gwynn went nowhere, Delaware put Paoletti in the contest on fourth down.

Paoletti, who almost always runs when he gets the ball, started around left end but then shoveled the ball back inside to Vandamia. The fullback was hit almost immediately and was left to try to push his way — unsuccessfully — into the end zone.

After Delaware snapped a nine-game losing streak to Villanova in the spring, the Wildcats got the ‘Battle of the Blue’ trophy right back. The rivalry clearly means a great deal to Villanova, which has now won 13 of the last 15 meetings.

“We have a Delaware wall in our locker room that we look at 365 days a year,” said Wildcat linebacker Forrest Rhyne. “And we have a permanent spot for this trophy. This is my fifth year and I have never not seen that trophy. ... We got it back.”

Villanova’s first touchdown was set up by a 64-yard pass from QB Daniel Smith to Jaaron Hayek (5 catches-117 yards), who got open on a deep crossing route. Jalen Jackson’s one-yard scoring run on the next play followed by Cole Bunce’s PAT kick gave the Wildcats a 14-13 lead with 11:43 left.

A three-and-out by the Hens followed by a 41-yard pass play led to Smith’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Hayek with 8:57 remaining.

Of the Wildcats’ 362 total yards, 131 came on just five plays in those two scoring drives.

“They’ve got a really good team,” said Rocco. “I think they have more ways that they could win this game today. They played really good football for about eight minutes and in that eight-minute time span they won the game.

“Other that, defensively, we were pretty much lights out. We categorically gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”

Delaware led 10-7 for much of the afternoon thanks to a 16-yard touchdown run by senior Dejoun Lee with 5:10 left in the second quarter. The Hens only had to drive 42 yards for the TD following one of their defense’s two fourth-down stops.

But Delaware could only add Ryan Coe’s second field goal, a 33-yarder, with 12:19 remaining in the game.

Both teams scored three times in the game. The Hens, however, had a TD and a pair of field goals while Villanova scored three TDs.

Delaware also threw two red-zone interceptions — one by Gwynn and one by Paoletti — early in the game.

“We failed to get the ball in the end zone and we had opportunities,” said Rocco. “Somewhere deep down you had to feel like we were going to have to do that to have enough points to win the game.”

In a program that has made the NCAA FCS playoffs just twice since reaching the national title game in 2010, seeing its season in disappointment at the hands of Villanova is nothing new for Delaware. Senior receiver Gene Coleman said he and his teammates gave it everything they had in their last game.

“There’s problems that we may have as far as executing and figuring out ways to win the game,” he said. “But, sat the end of the day, you’re always going to be proud of how hard this team plays.

“I think that’s probably what I’m most proud of — just playing with guys that I know, when times get tough, they’re going to stick together. That carries on into life. They’re not just going to be there for me on the field, they’re going to be there for me in real life. And I’ll be there for them.”

Extra points

Smith completed 12-for-26 passes for 208 yards with an interception. He also had a 34-yard run. ... Gwynn was 14-of-27 for 143 yards with one interception. ... Lee, who didn’t practice all week because of a leg injury, had a team-high 54 yards on 13 carries in his last game. ... Coleman had four catches for 60 yards in his last game. ... Safety Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown) posted a team-high 12 tackles while linebacker Johnny Buchanan had 11. ... Cornerback Justis Henley had an interception for Delaware. ... QB Nolan Henderson (Smyrna) did not suit up for the game despite some speculation that he might. He missed the final seven games of the season after having hernia surgery. ... Delaware went 12-7 in this calendar year.

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NY Jets' Joe Flacco, not Mike White, to start vs. Dolphins with Zach Wilson not ready
Andy Vasquez
NFL writer - Gannet News - 11/18/21

FLORHAM PARK — The New York Jets' strange quarterback situation took another unexpected turn on Wednesday morning when Joe Flacco was named the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. 

The surprise move comes with rookie No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson still not 100 percent as he recovers from a knee injury.

"I don't know if I'm surprised by anything in this league anymore," Flacco said. "I was just kind of at home, told my wife and that was that."

The expectation was that Mike White, who started the past three games for the injured Wilson, would get a fourth start if Wilson still wasn't ready to return.

Instead, the Jets are going with the veteran Flacco against a blitz-happy Miami defense that held Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens to 10 points last week in an upset win. 

"One of the reasons why we went and got Joe was for the experience part of it," Jets coach Robert Saleh said. "Not only for [his] playing ability and for the [quarterback] room, but for situations just like this. Miami's got a dynamic coverage system as it pertains to defense with zero [cover blitzes] and all the different coverages they run, and Joe's kind of been there, done that and just kind of a steadying experience that we thought would put us in the best position to win. 
Injured Jets quarterback Zach Wilson behind quarterback Joe Flacco on the sidelines in the second half. The Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 45-17 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on November 14, 2021.

"Joe's proven in this league, he's played in the AFC North and he knows exactly what he's looking at. He's trained for this his whole life."

Flacco, 36, is a former Super Bowl MVP in his 14th NFL season. Saleh said the veteran won't have to worry about being pulled quickly in Sunday's game against the Dolphins if he struggles early. 

"No. Philosophically, for me, Joe is playing this game," Saleh said. "The [short] leash thing and all that stuff, that’s not something that he should be looking back. You’re in the game, you’re rolling and it’s your show."

The Jets traded for Flacco, 36, last month, a day after Wilson suffered a right knee PCL sprain. Flacco will be making his first NFL start in 364 days. He started for the Jets in a Nov. 22, 2020, loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. 

"I am super grateful to be in the position that I'm in," Flacco said. "So I have to look at it as using all my past experience. And now to be put in this position after not playing for a bunch of games, you do look at it as, wow, how lucky am I to be in this position? That's the way I'm going to look at it and approach it like: 'Go out there and play, go out there and play ball and just do what you do.'"

Flacco wasn't an option to be on the field for the first two games after Wilson's injury because the Jets played twice in a five-day span and Flacco wasn't yet up to speed on the offense. So White got the nod as the replacement for Wilson with Flacco needing time to learn the offense. And what a ride that was.

White captured the imagination of the fan base by throwing for more than 400 yards in his first career start in a Week 8 upset win over the Bengals. But he fell back to earth hard on Sunday in the loss to the Buffalo Bills, throwing four interceptions.

Throughout White's time in the lineup, Saleh left open the possibility that White could be the long-term starter if he kept playing well — even once Wilson was healthy. And on Monday, he criticized those who wanted to move on from White after one bad start. 

"This market fascinates me in the sense that he was anointed the next coming after one game, and now everyone wants to throw him away," Saleh said. "He deserves better than that. Did he play his best? No. Is he capable of playing better? Absolutely. That defense, give them a lot of credit. They’ve made a lot of people look really bad. ... So, credit to them. But I haven’t lost faith in Mike at all."

Two days later, the Jets replaced White as the starter. But Saleh said Wednesday he wasn't criticizing fans and media for wanting to move White out of the lineup. 

"I want to be very, very clear on this one. My comments on Monday were because people wanted him out of New York," Saleh said. "And what Mike has done in three weeks as a starter has proven to this entire organization, and in my opinion to the entire New York fan base, that he is a capable quarterback who can play in this league and can do a lot of good things. ...

"Now, this particular situation with Miami obviously presents a completely different challenge and this is kind of why we brought in a guy like Joe, for situations just like this and his experience to be able to play systems of Miami's caliber."

Saleh said Wilson continues to make progress in his recovery from his Oct. 24 injury. He was on the practice field early Wednesday afternoon, and Saleh said Wilson will run the scout team in limited practice this week. He would not speculate when asked if Wilson will be ready to return next week when the Jets travel to face the Houston Texans, saying only that Wilson is "day-to-day."

Meanwhile, in the span of 72 hours, White went from having a chance to earn the starting job long-term to losing the chance to start his next game. Saleh said the conversation informing White of the change was not easy.

"Like you'd expect it to be, a lot of disappointment," Saleh said. "But Mike's a competitor and he's a young man who has done a lot of over the last three weeks to prove himself to this entire league in my opinion. His story is not done being written. He has solidified, in my opinion, his stay here as a Jet and we're excited to work with him for as many years as possible."

Flacco started four games for the Jets In 2020 as the backup to Sam Darnold. He completed 55.2 percent of his passes (74-of-134) for 864 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. He went 3-for-3 for 47 yards with a touchdown on Sunday when White was shaken up late in the game. 

Andy Vasquez is the Jets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Jets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.


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Football Game Preview: Villanova
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW?

11/16/2021 - bluehens.com
...............................................................
» Saturday will be the 55th edition of the Battle of the Blue. The Wildcats lead the longtime rivalry with a 31-22-1 record, but the Blue Hens won the most recent matchup in April, a 27-20 victory at Villanova Stadium. The win not only snapped an eight-game winning streak in the series for Villanova, but also clinched the CAA Regular Season Championship for Delaware.

» In last season's victory over the Wildcats, Nolan Henderson had a pair of touchdown passes as he connected with Jourdan Townsend and Bryce De Maille. Khory Spruill also found the end zone on a three-yard run and Ryan Coe kicked a pair of field goals. Thyrick Pitts caught five passes for 104 yards, and Gene Coleman II has seven receptions for 78 yards. Noah Plack led the defense with seven catches, while Niguel Hill had an interception.

» Pitts had a career day in Delaware's game at Richmond last Saturday, hauling in a career-high 11 catches for a personal-best 169 yards. It was his third 100-yard receiving game of the season and the fifth of his career. He caught his team-leading seventh touchdown pass, which ranks third in the CAA. Zach Gwynn finished with career highs of 25 completions for 331 yards and two passing touchdowns. He rushed for two touchdowns, the first two rushing scores of his career. Plack also set a career high, leading the Delaware defense with 14 tackles.

» The kicking game for the Blue Hens has been a strength this year as both punter Tyler Pastula and placekicker Ryan Coe have put together solid seasons. Pastula leads the CAA in punting, averaging 42.7 yards per punt, has 12 kicks of more than 50 yards and has pinned the opponent inside their own 20-yard line 21 times. Coe is 34-of-37 on all kicks and owns three of the five longest field goal makes (53, 51, 48) in the CAA this season. On 44 total kickoffs, he has 30 touchbacks.

» Villanova enters Sunday's game with an 8-2 overall record and a 6-1 mark in the CAA, sitting in a tie with James Madison atop the conference standings. The Wildcats are in the top 10 of both FCS national polls, ranking sixth in the STATS Perform Media Poll and ninth in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

» The Wildcat offense is second in the CAA in both scoring, averaging 32.8 ppg, and total offense, compiling 391.7 ypg. The defense leads the conference by allowing opponents to score just 15.3 ppg, and is second in total defense, giving up just 253 ypg.

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After tough day at Richmond, Delaware defense hopes to return to form vs. Villanova
Kevin Tresolini
Delaware News Journal 11/15/21

What a difference a week can make, as Delaware’s defense learned quite painfully in its football visit to Richmond on Saturday.

The Blue Hens will hope change looms again this week. It will have to for them to have a chance against No. 6 Villanova in Saturday’s season finale.

Delaware had shut down an explosive William & Mary offense Nov. 6, getting nine tackles for lost yardage in a 28-3 win.

UD linebackers Joe Zubillaga, left, and Colby Reeder bring down a University of Richmond ball carrier Saturday.
What followed hardly seemed likely as Delaware lost 51-27 at Richmond, ruining any chance the Hens (5-5 overall, 3-4 Colonial Athletic Association) had for an NCAA postseason invite.

Now here comes Villanova (8-2, 6-1), which can secure the conference’s automatic FCS playoff berth with a win. The Blue Hens will be looking for their first win over Villanova at Delaware Stadium since 2004.

CAA FOOTBALL STANDINGS: Delaware tied for sixth

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at Delaware Stadium, where it’s possible Nolan Henderson could see action at quarterback for Delaware. Henderson has been out since suffering a pelvic/abdominal injury that required surgery Oct. 2 against Albany. He did practice last week but is now coping with the recent death of his mother, Lisa Mullaney.

The 51 points Delaware allowed at Richmond were the most by an FCS opponent since Maine scored 62 on the Hens in a 2013 game in Orono. Delaware allowed 380 yards, not an astronomical number, as field position played a major role in Richmond’s second-half outburst.

But Spiders quarterback Joe Mancuso did pile up 295 yards of total offense. He was 13-for-21 passing for 179 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a season’s-best 116 yards on 14 carries with two scores. Richmond also had zero turnovers in the game.


Delaware coach Danny Rocco said that William & Mary ran offensive schemes for which Delaware had prepared and it paid off.

“We were very calculated in what we thought they were going to do,” he said, “and what they did in that game was very consistent to what we prepared for.”

Richmond, however, did some different things, succeeding with what Rocco termed “unscouted plays.”

SWEET SWITCH: Darien’s move to LB pays off for Blue Hens

“This week, it was kinda the opposite,” Rocco said of some unbalanced formations that included an extra offensive tackle. “ … And then they ran their quarterback a lot. I knew they were going to run Joey but I didn’t know how.”

Richmond’s ability to convert 6 of 12 third downs was also crucial, Rocco added.

Richmond scored on its first four possessions at Robins Stadium, traveling 70, 92 and 60 yards for touchdowns and also getting Jake Larson’s 47-yard field goal.

UD quarterback Anthony Paoletti breaks through the Richmond defense.
Delaware was still within 24-14 at halftime and trimmed that deficit to 24-21 as Zach Gwynn’s 1-yard touchdown keeper closed a 10-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half.

Richmond then outscored Delaware 27-6 the rest of the way, without having to cover much distance.

Mancuso’s 2-yard touchdown run came after Tyler Dressler’s interception and 28-yard return to the UD 7. Less than a minute and a half later, Phillip O’Connor’s sack of Gwynn forced a fumble that Kobie Tuner returned 17 yards for a touchdown.

Richmond then needed to cover only 33 yards after Delaware had to punt from deep in its own territory and Savon Smith returned it 20 yards for the Spiders. For Richmond’s final touchdown, Tristan Wheeler’s interception and 19-yard runback put the Spiders only 21 yards from the end zone.

MONTH OF RECKONING: 3 November games will reveal a lot about Hens

“We were a team all year that had posted really good numbers in the red zone,” Rocco said, “in terms of forcing field goals. And they were 6-for-6 for touchdowns. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me or to us or to any defense I’ve been part of. That’s concerning.”

Running bac Dejoun Lee carries would-be tacklers during the first half of Saturday's RIchmond game
Villanova arrives No. 1 in the CAA in total offense averaging 391.7 yards per game, No. 2 in scoring offense (32.8 points per game) and No. 2 in rushing offense (182.9 yards per game).

The Villanova defense has been equally sinister, allowing a league-low 15.3 points per game and 253 yards per game, second fewest in the CAA.

The Wildcats will be anxious to avenge Delaware’s 27-20 spring win that snapped an 8-game Villanova win streak in the rivalry and reclaim the Battle of the Blue Trophy. Tempers flared at the April game when Delaware players celebrated on the ‘V’ at midfield at Villanova Stadium, which they said was payback for Villanova doing the same on the Blue Hen insignia on Tubby Raymond Field turf.

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Rocco said he brought up the subject at the team’s Sunday night meeting, using a military analogy.

RELUCTANT RINGER: Strothers goes from unwilling football player to natural

“It’s a rivalry game. It’s a big game. It is an exciting moment for all of us and for fans and we recognize the significance of that,” Rocco said. “Categorically though, it’s about your preparation and it’s about the reality that, I think I used the phrase that an American soldier fights because he loves what’s behind him, not because he hates what’s in front of him.

“So to enter a game like this or a rivalry with some kind of ill will or hatred in part is just not the right way to be. It’s contradictory to anything that I would ever think about or believe in. So it’s more about your bond with your teammates and your peers and your brothers.”

With a 5-5 record, the Blue Hens have much to play for beyond bragging rights, especially those playing their last game.

“This is our last week of college football,” fifth-year senior offensive tackle David Kroll said, referring to himself and others completing their eligibility, “and you don’t want to go out on a loss, especially not a loss to Villanova.”

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Walsh chose Delaware Blue Hens despite Villanova family ties
Junior defensive lineman Tommy Walsh grew up as a Villanova fan because his brother played there.
By Andy Walter Delaware State News - 11/15/21

NEWARK — Tommy Walsh grew up going to Delaware-Villanova football games.

Only, as a kid, the Blue Hen defensive lineman was always rooting for the Wildcats.

You can’t blame him, though. His big brother, Fran, played for Villanova.

“It was always something very exciting for me,” said Walsh.

For a while, the Warrington, Pa. native thought he would be a Wildcat, too. In the end, however, Walsh didn’t want to end up playing in his brother’s shadow.

“I’m very close to my brother,” he said. “But I kind of wanted to make my own path and Delaware was the way to do it for me.

“I loved how this was a football school. That’s something that really swayed me. Running out here on Saturdays, it’s like you’re the football team, this is it. This is what happens at Delaware, this is how it is. It’s a lot different than other places.”

On the last football Saturday of the season for Delaware, Walsh is going to try to help the Blue Hens (3-4 CAA, 5-5 overall) restore some of their pride when they host Villanova (6-1 CAA, 8-2 overall) at 1 p.m.

The sixth-ranked Wildcats are headed for the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs. Delaware, after falling to Richmond last week, is not.

But winning a second-straight ‘Battle of the Blue’ rivalry game and finishing with a winning record would go a long way toward giving the Hens a good feeling about the season.

“This is huge,” said Walsh. “Obviously it’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next one. Every year when we go over our goals at the beginning of the year, the first one is get to the post-season. That’s not the case this year.

“But one of the next goals is always win the Battle of the Blue. It’s just so important. And now that we’re not making the playoffs, it makes it that much more important. It’d be great to end the season with a win and go home with a trophy.”

On a defensive line that regularly rotates a large number of players, Walsh has been a steady contributor for the Hens.

Since the spring, he’s been the squad’s leading tackler on the defensive front. This fall he’s got 26 stops, including five for losses.

“He really is the epitome of ‘the same guy every day,’” said coach Danny Rocco. “He loves football. He’s smart. He’s really learned how to master the position and he’s made improvements throughout his career.

“He’s not the biggest guy. So to be able to sit in there, defend the run and knock blockers back, he’s made himself a very good technician. And he’s been very efficient this year in getting up the field and pressuring the quarterback — at a level that he wasn’t doing last year.”

Walsh is versatile enough that he can play in several spots along the line. Lately, he’s been playing nose tackle in passing situations — which isn’t always easy because he’s relatively small at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds.

“You’ve got to be ready to take the hits,” said Walsh. “You’ve just got to come hard every play. It’s all about staying low and hand placement, it’s everything. If they get under me — and they already have 50 pounds on me — it’s not going to be good for me, at all.”

Unfinished business

In April, Delaware snapped a nine-game losing streak in the rivalry with a 27-20 victory at Villanova.

You might remember — and the Wildcats certainly do — that some of the Hens danced on the Villanova logo at the center of the field afterward.

The celebration led to a short standoff between the two teams on the 50 yard line. Delaware’s players insisted that the Wildcats had done something similar to them in the past.

Well, the presumption on both sides is that Villanova’s players plan to be dancing in Delaware Stadium when Saturday’s game is over.

“I think they’re definitely going to come with some fire,” said senior offensive tackle David Kroll. “Obviously that was the first time we beat them in a while. They’re definitely motivated.

“They definitely think they’re better than us right now because they’ve got a better record. They’re definitely not excited that we celebrated on their field last year so they’re going to try to celebrate on our blue hen this year. I just think we have to come prepared and not let that happen.”

“I think both teams are going to be super riled up after the spring game,” said Walsh, “and they’re going to be coming with a vengeance.”

Both Rocco and Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said they’ve talked to their players about staying focused and representing their programs with class.

“I think I used the phrase that an American soldier fights because he loves what’s behind him not because he hates what’s in front of him,” said Rocco. “So to enter a game like this with some kind of ill will or hatred in your heart is just not the right way to be.

“It’s more about your bond with your teammates. I feel that is where your focus should always be. These games should be won and lost on the field, not in social media, or on Twitter or whatever. I’m sure that both teams will certainly offer that respect, play hard and play a clean, fair football game.”

Henderson back?

After missing the past six games following hernia surgery, Rocco said it wasn’t out of the question that quarterback Nolan Henderson could be available to play on Saturday.

But the Smyrna High grad is also dealing with the unexpected death of his mother, Lisa Mulaney, over the weekend.

“There’s a chance,” Rocco said about Henderson playing on Saturday. “I think the chance might have been a little higher last Thursday or Friday than it is maybe in this moment.”

Too confident?

Junior quarterback Zach Gwynn had the most productive day of his career in the 51-27 loss at Richmond at Saturday.

He completed 25-of-45 for 331 yards with two touchdowns. He also scored twice on QB sneaks.

On the other hand, Gwynn also threw two interceptions that set up Spider TDs and had a fumble returned for another touchdown.

Rocco said, to some extent, Gwynn just tried to do too much. He had another pass that was basically a jump ball that receiver James Collins out-dueled some Spider defenders for.

“There is that fine line,” said Rocco. “He trusts his arm talent. ... He’s been able to extend plays, get out of the pocket and make throws. As he’s done that more and more, he’s gaining more confidence in his ability to do that.

“We’re adding a little bit of risk-reward there and he’s got to make better decisions in some of those moments.”

The Hens hadn’t turned the ball over in their previous two games.

Extra points

Safety Kedrick Whitehead was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty against Richmond after throwing the shoe of Spider running back Aaron Dykes following a play. “I saw it on tape and we certainly talked about it yesterday,” said Rocco. ... Richmond QB Joe Mancuso was named the CAA Offensive Player of the week for his performance against Delaware. ... Senior Days have been a little more uncertain this year because of the pandemic but Rocco said he has a pretty firm list of the Hens who will be honored before Saturday’s game. “In my mind there aren’t any surprises,” he said. “You might see it differently when you observe Saturday pre-game.”

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Defensive pressure feeds the offensive beast in Richmond’s highest scoring win this season
By LILY BETTS Richmond Times-Dispatch - 11/13/21

Defense has defined much of Richmond’s recent run of wins — as much was true Saturday, as well, but it also fed a hungry offense that put up its largest scoring output of the season in the Spiders’ final home game against Delaware.

Richmond quarterback Joe Mancuso recorded a season-high 116 rushing yards for two touchdowns, and the Spiders defense held Delaware’s Zach Gwynn to minus-22 yards on the ground in a 51-27 UR victory.

And while Gwynn outpaced Mancuso 331-168 through the air, the Spiders kept finding their way into the end zone or through the uprights. Seven different UR players found their way onto the scoresheet.

“It’s a whole ‘nother level,” Mancuso said. “All three phases played good today. Offense, defense, special teams. We all produced, we all did our job and the score shows what happens when we do that.”

The win brings the Spiders to four consecutive victories and an even record (5-5).

Richmond coach Russ Huesman said his Spiders benefitted from key players like Mancuso returning to field while the team held onto morale through a challenging midseason.

“In the middle of the season, we were pretty banged up,” Huesman said. “You can see how good of a player Joe Mancuso is, and not having him made a difference in how well we could play on offense.”

Huesman said Mancuso wasn’t 100% in his return during the Oct. 23 loss against Stony Brook, and Saturday was “probably the healthiest we’ve been for a long time now.”


Mancuso opened the game for Richmond with a 5-yard rush into the end zone on the first drive. The Spiders widened the gap once more at the end of the quarter with another run from Aaron Dykes.

Meanwhile, the defense capped the Blue Hens (5-5) at 59 offensive yards through the first period, compared to Richmond’s 117.

“The previous games we had, we haven’t really done well in the first half,” Mancuso said. “I think coming out today and putting those two touchdowns up really set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Gwynn’s production picked up speed through the middle two quarters, running for his two touchdowns and connecting with Thyrick Pitts for another score.

But the Spiders defense, led by Tristan Wheeler and Aamir Hall, kept Gwynn and his options under consistent pressure.

“Our defensive staff made the decision early that we were going to blitz them and blitz them just about every time,” Huesman said. “Obviously, it paid off. … We actually played better once we started to really bring a whole lot of pressure.”

Redshirt senior DL Kobie Turner collected his second score off a fumble recovery in just as many games, and Jasiah Williams’ (Thomas Dale) 13-yard reception in the end zone — the final score of the night — capped off a drive initiated by a Wheeler interception.

Richmond travels to Williamsburg to face No. 3 William & Mary for its final game Nov. 20, where the teams will battle it out for the Capital Cup.

“When we lost those couple of games in a row there, we had to reset our goals,” Huesman said. “One of them was that we wanted to win the Capital Cup, and the other was that we wanted to have a winning season. These guys have really hung in there with us, and we’ve reached the point where we can get to six.”

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Spiders finish off Blue Hens
November 13, 2021
By Andy Walter Delaware State News

What a difference a week makes.

For that matter, what a difference several months can make, too.

A week after surrendering just three points in a win over William & Mary, Delaware couldn’t do much to slow down Richmond as the Spiders ran away to a 51-27 CAA football victory over the Blue Hens at Robins Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The lopsided loss finishes off any lingering hope Delaware (3-4 CAA, 5-5 overall) had of sneaking into the NCAA FCS Division I playoffs — after it reached the FCS semifinals in the spring with mostly the same roster.

Considering the Hens host No. 8 Villanova next Saturday in their season finale, Delaware faces an uphill climb just to finish with a winning record.

The 51 points were the most that the Hens have given up against an FCS program since 2007, when they fell to Richmond, 62-56, in overtime — before going to the FCS national championship game.

“We didn’t have good answers today defensively, that’s for darn sure,” UD coach Danny Rocco said on his post-game radio interview. “What was the big difference (from last week)?

“Last week, going into the game, we really thought we knew what they were going to do. We weren’t as sure what they were going to do here this week. And they did some things that were unscouted, and with that they had a lot of success.

“It’s disappointing, it really is,” he added. “We’re 5-5 right now. We’re an average football team and that’s what we are.”

Delaware never led on Saturday after the Spiders (3-4 CAA, 5-5 overall), who won their third game in a row, jumped out to a 14-0 lead. But the Hens were still very much in the game in the third quarter when they trailed only 24-21 and just got the ball back.

That’s where the game came unraveled, however.

A Richmond interception and return to the Delaware seven set up a short TD for the Spiders. Then, on the next series, Blue Hen quarterback Zach Gwynn got crushed on a blindside blitz.

Gwynn lost the ball and Richmond defensive lineman Kobie Turner scooped up the fumble and returned it 17 yards for the Spiders’ second touchdown in a span of just 1:27. The TD stretched Richmond’s advantage to 37-21 and there wasn’t much Delaware could do to get back in the game.

Gwynn had his most productive college game, completing 25-of-45 passes for 331 yards and pair of touchdowns. He also scored twice on one-yard sneaks.

But the junior quarterback also threw two interceptions and lost the fumble, all in the second half. Gwynn hadn’t turned the ball over at all in Delaware’s back-to-back victories before Saturday.

“I think he just forced the ball,” Rocco said about Gwynn’s interceptions. “He’s trying to make a play. He made some throws. ... I think he had a little bit of confidence, a little bit of thought that he was going to be able to get the ball in there. He just should have thrown them away. He had no business trying to make a play there.”

QB Joe Mancuso — who was recruited to Richmond by Rocco and his staff — had another big day against the Hens. The senior completed 13-of-21 passes for 179 yards with three TDs while also running the ball for 116 yards and two more touchdowns on 14 carries.

Both teams put up some impressive offensive stats. The Spiders held a 380-371 edge in total yards while Delaware finished with a 22-19 advantage in first downs.

For Delaware, receiver Thyrick Pitts returned after missing last week’s game with an injury and pulled in 11 passes for 169 yards, both career highs. Gene Coleman (three catches-43 yards) also caught a scoring pass as the Hens equaled their second-highest point total of the season.

Seven different players caught at least two passes for Delaware.

On defense, safety Noah Plack finished with a career-high 14 tackles.

Rocco said it’s just the nature of football that things can change a lot from week to week. He hopes that’s the case again this coming week.

“You take a look at what we did a week ago, against a good team, and then what happened out here today against a team that was highly motivated and played like a good team,” he said. “Next week is a new week.

“We’ve got to be able to regroup and recognize that we can change the narrative as we go into the last week of the season.”

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Richmond Spiders vs Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens Preview, Game Time, Matchup Statistics for November 13.

Nov 8, 2021 - ESPN.com

The Richmond Spiders (4-5, 2-4 CAA) meet a fellow CAA foe when they host the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (5-4, 3-3 CAA) on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at E. Claiborne Robins Stadium.

Game Information
Game Day: Saturday, November 13, 2021

Game Time: 2:00 PM ET

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Stadium: E. Claiborne Robins Stadium

Richmond Stats and Trends
The Spiders have put roughly the same amount of points on the board per game (21.4) as the Fightin' Blue Hens have allowed (20.6).

The Spiders offense has averaged 337.7 yards per game this season, within 5.3 yards of the 332.4 the Fightin' Blue Hens defense has allowed.

The Fightin' Blue Hens have given up 127.9 rushing yards per game. That is 15.9 fewer than the Spiders are gaining per game (143.8).

The Spiders have turned the ball over nine times this season, and the Fightin' Blue Hens have nine takeaways.

Delaware Stats and Trends
The Fightin' Blue Hens' average points scored this season (19.7) and the Spiders' average points allowed (19.6) are within 0.1 points.

The Spiders defense has allowed 330.7 yards per game in 2021, 35.5 yards more than the 295.2 the Fightin' Blue Hens offense has averaged.

The Fightin' Blue Hens have averaged 127.4 yards per game on the ground this year, 16.0 more yards than the Spiders have allowed to opposing rushing attacks (111.4).

The Fightin' Blue Hens have committed one more turnover this season (9) than the Spiders have forced (8).

Richmond Players to Watch
Joe Mancuso has 1,310 passing yards (187.1 ypg) to lead Richmond, completing 59.8% of his passes and tossing 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions this season. He's also helped out on the ground with 236 rushing yards (33.7 ypg) on 43 carries with two rushing touchdowns.

Savon Smith has carried the ball 83 times for a team-high 421 yards (46.8 per game), with three touchdowns this year.

This season Aaron Dykes has rushed for 389 yards (43.2 per game) on 99 carries with four touchdowns, while also catching 20 passes for 221 yards (24.6 per game) and four touchdowns.

Leroy Henley's team-high 374 receiving yards (41.6 yards per game) have come on 31 receptions with two touchdowns.

Jasiah Williams has grabbed 34 passes for 335 yards (47.9 yards per game) this year.

Isaac Brown's 17 catches have netted him 231 yards (33.0 ypg) and two touchdowns.

Delaware Players to Watch
Zach Gwynn has thrown for 854 yards (122.0 ypg) to lead Delaware, completing 56.4% of his passes and tossing six touchdown passes and six interceptions this season.

The team's top rusher, DeJoun Lee, has carried the ball 155 times for 733 yards (81.4 per game), with four touchdowns this year.

This season Anthony Paoletti has rushed for 167 yards (18.6 per game) on 45 carries with three touchdowns.

Thyrick Pitts' team-high 488 receiving yards (61.0 yards per game) have come on 31 receptions with six touchdowns.

Gene Coleman II has hauled in 24 passes for 323 yards (35.9 yards per game) and one touchdown this year.

Brett Buckman's 12 receptions this season have resulted in 163 yards (27.2 ypg).
=====================================================
 
CAA to ban JMU from league championship play if Dukes announce Sun Belt move
Mike Barber Nov 7, 2021 https://richmond.com/

The Colonial Athletic Association will not allow James Madison’s teams to compete for league championships this year if the school accepts an invitation to join another conference.

JMU athletic department officials informed the school’s athletes of the league’s decision on Wednesday night.

The Dukes are expected to formally move to the Sun Belt Conference next year, a move that could be announced as soon as Friday.

Automatic bids would be unavailable for the Dukes, but the decision would not block teams from receiving at-large bids for the NCAA tournament. This does not apply to the CAA-leading football team, which remains eligible for an automatic bid from the conference because of separate bylaws.

“As we head into a potentially monumental week for the future of James Madison University and our intercollegiate athletics program, we were extremely disappointed to be informed by the Colonial Athletic Association that, should the university accept an invitation to another conference, JMU student-athletes would not be allowed to compete for postseason conference team championships and, therefore, for the opportunity to earn NCAA automatic team qualification,” the school said in a joint statement from President Jonathan Alger and athletic director Jeff Bourne. “In an era when the industry of college athletics stresses student-athlete welfare, this decision is completely contrary to those ideals.”

The CAA has a bylaw that allows it to block schools from competing for conference championships if they’ve declared their intention to leave the league. It enforced that bylaw when Old Dominion left for Conference USA in 2013.

“We have great respect for JMU as a conference,” said CAA commissioner Joe D’Antonio. “... I’ll be honest. It’s not my job to determine whether it makes sense or doesn’t make sense. it’s my job to make sure the bylaws are enforced the way they’re written.”

That provided little consolation to JMU’s devastated athletes and coaches, who pointed to the stress and struggles of competing through a pandemic and the supposed focus on student-athlete well-being as circumstances that should have led the CAA to reconsider.

“It is hard being a college student right now, with COVID and isolation and all the challenges they have to endure,” said JMU men’s basketball coach Mark Byington. “For them to bring on more anxiety, more stress, more problems, it just seems tone deaf.”


JMU men’s soccer coach Paul Zazenski said his players were “having a hard time” processing the news. He said it’s hard to reconcile the emphasis on the student-athlete with the CAA decision.

“I don’t think that that was really taken into consideration at all,” said Zazenski, whose team had qualified for the league tournament but now won’t be allowed to compete. “It was about other things. It’s really tough for the student athletes.”

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said JMU women’s lacrosse coach Shelly Klaes-Bawcombe. “We focus on championships. To rip that away, it’s really rough.”

JMU appealed to the presidents of the other conference schools on Monday night, but those presidents voted overwhelmingly to bar the Dukes from postseason play in 2021-22.

“We were thorough and heartfelt in appealing to the league’s council of presidents, but that appeal was denied,” JMU said in its statement. “Eight other Division I conferences have full members that have publicly announced an exit and yet all eight have allowed the student-athletes at those institutions to continue competing for championships. To our knowledge, the CAA is alone in this outdated bylaw. JMU has striven to be a good partner of the CAA and to treat other institutions as they would want to be treated, but that ideal is not being reciprocated. With our sights set on an important next step on Friday, it’s unfortunate that the CAA made this decision right in the middle of the fall championship season.”

The third-ranked Dukes’ football team is 7-1 and leads the CAA at 5-1, just ahead of William & Mary (4-1) and Villanova (4-1). The playoff contender is on track for the automatic bid it’s still eligible for. JMU also will not be permitted to host the four league tournaments it had been scheduled to host this year — men’s soccer, women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse and softball.

Athletes who compete in sports that sponsor individual championships — including swimming and diving and track and field — can still vie for those titles, but JMU’s teams cannot compete for team championships.

JMU, after receiving approval from its Board of Visitors last Friday to continue with plans to jump from the lower FCS level to the FBS level and pursue a Sun Belt invitation, is scheduled to meet with the General Assembly’s Intercollegiate Athletics Review Commission this Friday for the next step of the process.

Through a 2015 bill meant to subdue the costs of student athletic fees, JMU will have to present to the commission a plan showing the financial impact of its conference move and how it will address that impact. In the bill, schools at the FCS level can fund 70% of their athletic budget through student fees. But schools at the Group of Five FBS level where JMU is headed are capped at 55%.

Representatives at the school will meet with the commission at 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning in Richmond. Same-day approval of JMU’s plan could happen, which could allow for the school to formally move forward with joining the Sun Belt on Friday.

“If and when JMU does indicate to the conference that they are withdrawing as a member, then we do have a bylaw that indicates they will not be eligible to compete for conference championships,” said D’Antonio.

JMU will be permitted to compete in the CAA women’s soccer and field hockey tournaments, which are already set to begin this weekend.


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No. 20/23 William & Mary Falls at Delaware, 24-3
11/6/21 - https://tribeathletics.com/

In dominating its previous two opponents, No. 20/23 William & Mary ran the ball virtually at will. Delaware took that away Saturday, and the Tribe had no answer.

That, combined with field position strongly in their favor, led the Blue Hens to a 24-3 win over W&M at Delaware Stadium. The Tribe managed only 105 yards on the ground, 109 below its season average that led the Colonial Athletic Association.

The loss interrupts the William & Mary's momentum after crushing wins over Towson and No. 4 Villanova. The Tribe (6-3, 4-2) remains in the hunt for a playoff spot, but its margin of error became smaller with Saturday's loss.

"They out-executed us and outplayed us in a lot of scenarios that we've been pretty good at," W&M coach Mike London said. "They outcoached us and just played harder. We tried to come back in the (second) half, but against a good football team like that, we had our work cut out for us.

"The good thing is, there are ways for us to improve as a football team. Knowing that the next two games are home, we can finish the way these guys deserve."

W&M was without starting running back Donavyn Lester, who was injured in last week's win at Villanova. The Tribe still had Bronson Yoder and Malachi Imoh, who were averaging a combined 5.9 yards per carry. Neither was able to find much room Saturday with 78 yards on 22 attempts.

The passing game also struggled as quarterback Darius Wilson completed 12-of-24 passes for 123 yards and was sacked three times.

"There were a couple of times we had guys wide open but didn't get the ball to them," London said. "That goes back to us executing. If you're going to play good teams and play close games, you've got to be able to execute those things."

The final stats were a bid odd. W&M had the edge in total yards (228-201), first downs (14-12), total plays (65-52), and time of possession (31:19-27:49). But there was, as they call it, "the hidden yards."

Delaware's three touchdown drives covered a total of 82 yards. The first came after Malachi Imoh fumbled a punt at the Tribe 12-yard line. The second was set up when Delaware snuffed a fourth-and-1 at the W&M 34. The third came after an interception gave the Blue Hens possession at the Tribe 36.

"That was huge," London said. "It's critical with the field position when you start a possession on the other side of the 50. You get opportunities for field goals at least.

"They capitalized on those opportunities. We didn't."

London's decision to keep the offense on the field on fourth-and-1 from his 34-yard line came late in the first quarter with Delaware leading 7-3. The Tribe had converted four of five tries on fourth down in its previous two games.

This time, Yoder was stopped for no gain.

"In the past, we've done a really good job of getting one yard," London said. "But they did a good job, and we didn't do enough."

Another factor was turnovers. The Tribe had forced 10, eight on interceptions, in its previous two games. It had one takeaway against Delaware, and that came in the fourth quarter with the Blue Hens ahead by three touchdowns.

Things actually started well enough for William & Mary, which picked up three first downs and moved inside the red zone on its first possession. The Tribe ended up settling for Ethan Chang's 24-yard field goal and added 40 total yards the remainder of the first half.

The Tribe will return to Zable Stadium Saturday to face No. 3 James Madison. W&M's regular-season finale will be on Nov. 20 against Richmond.

Each game will have plenty on the line.

"Hopefully a lot of people will be there and we can celebrate the fact that this team is not going to quit," London said. "We're ready to move on after we get these things corrected.

"You can go over and talk about the things we didn't do (today). But there are plenty of opportunities to have a measured amount of success."
 
===========================================================
 
Blue Hens silence William & Mary 24-3
November 6, 2021 Delaware State News
By Andy Walter

NEWARK — A couple weeks ago, Delaware’s football season looked like it was going nowhere but downhill.

Even last Saturday’s seven-point win over winless Dixie State didn’t do anything to pump any life into the Blue Hens’ season.

Finally, though, Delaware’s decisive 24-3 victory over No. 20 William & Mary on Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium gave UD fans reason to think the Hens might still accomplish some more good things this fall after all.

“I think we kind of dealt ourselves back into relevance here,” is the way Delaware coach Danny Rocco put it.

While the Tribe (4-2 CAA, 6-3 overall) are hardly the league’s best team, they did just topple No. 4 Villanova a week ago. William & Mary had also scored at least 31 points in four of its last five games.

But Delaware (3-3 CAA, 5-4 overall) limited the Tribe to three points, the first time they been held without a touchdown by an FCS program since 2018. William & Mary finished with only 228 yards, including just 105 on the ground — less than half of its league-leading average 214.4 rushing yards per game.

The Hens also stopped the Tribe on four out of five fourth-down tries.

“I said it three weeks ago and I was criticized for it,” said Rocco. “I basically said I am not going to allow these kids to get discouraged. I can’t let that happen. We’ve had moments where that would be almost the human thing to do — is just be discouraged and get down.

“But we fought through it. Next week is next week, tomorrow is tomorrow. ... but today is a good feeling for all of us. They represented, I think, at a really high level.”

On a day when the Hens’ offense took advantage of some short fields, safety Noah Plack turned in two of the biggest plays of the sunny afternoon.

First, Plack helped force a fumble with a big hit on a punt return and then recovered the loose ball himself at the William & Mary 12 yard line. Two plays later, running back DeJoun Lee (19 carries-46 yards) swept into the end zone on a 12-yard run that gave Delaware a 7-3 lead with 3:32 left in the first quarter.

Then, on its next series, the Tribe decided to go for it on a fourth-and-one despite being at their own 34.

That’s when Plack charged up and knocked ball carrier Bronson Yoder off his feet short of the first down. The stop, which came with some help from linebacker Liam Trainer, set up Delaware again.

This time quarterback Zach Gwynn lobbed a 25-yard TD pass to receiver James Collins (6 catches-73 yards), who made a juggling catch to give the Hens a 14-3 advantage early in the second quarter.

“I just feel like Coach (Manny) Rojas puts us in the right spot at the right time,” said Plack, referring to UD’s defensive coordinator. “A bunch of people, we play a lot of different positions at different times. I just feel like we are a very versatile group on defense and we are able to do all those things at a high level.”

In part because of its good field position, Delaware finished with only 201 yards of offense. But Gwynn had another efficient day, completing 17-of-21 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

Most importantly, Gwynn didn’t throw any interceptions for the second straight game — and against a William & Mary defense that had a remarkable eight interceptions in its last two games.

Gwynn’s second TD pass came with 13:58 remaining in the game when he drilled an eight-yard pass to Jourdan Townsend at the front pylon. Gwynn had completions to nine different receivers.

The Hens were playing without starting receiver Thyrick Pitts and tight end Bryce DeMaille, who were both added to Delaware’s long list of injured players. But Delaware’s makeshift offensive line gave Gwynn a lot of time on a few of his throws.

“I think Coach (Jared) Ambrose mixed it up well, moving me around,” said Gwynn, referring to UD’s offensive coordinator. “It kept them off balance a little bit I think. Also, the offensive line played awesome today. They gave me all the time in the world. ... They wanted to keep me upright. That was something they really wanted to do this week.”

That last touchdown came after Delaware cornerback Amonte Strothers hit Tribe quarterback Darius Wilson on a blitz. The ball popped up in the air where linebacker Johnny Buchanan intercepted it and returned it 24 yards.

Buchanan and Trainer were both in on a game-high 12 tackles each.

“Those two guys are just fun to watch,” said Rocco. “If you like watching football, just watch those two guys. ... They are non-stop all game long and they want more. It’s extraordinary.”

The Hens still face an uphill climb to even be considered for an NCAA FCS playoff berth. They’d still have to win at Richmond next Saturday and then beat Villanova at home in their season finale.

But at least beating William & Mary kept Delaware in the running.

“Any kind of momentum we can get, we’ll take,” said Gwynn. “We have two more games left that we’ve got to win. There’s a lot of things to fix still. but we’ll use this momentum to keep getting better next week.”

Rocco said he talked to his players on Friday about coming up with a “defining moment” for their season.

“Maybe, in some way, that’s what we were able to establish today,” he said. “But again, you start over tomorrow.”

Extra points

Delaware converted just 1-of-11 third-down opportunities. ... William & Mary’s Wilson completed 12-of-24 passes for 123 yards with the one interception and three sacks. The true freshman was limited to negative-12 yards on 10 carries. ... UD cornerback Justis Henley made a nice interception along the sidelines but it was wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty. ... Kicker Ryan Coe made a 48-yard field goal but missed one from 39. ... Long snapper Jake Reed was also credited with forcing the fumble on the punt return. ... Saturday’s game drew 10,021 fans.
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No. 20/23 W&M Tribe Football Concludes Regular Season Road Slate at Delaware on Saturday
 
11/3/2021 - Tribeathletics.com/

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Having won six of its last seven games, including 31-18 victory at then-No. 4 Villanova last weekend, the No. 20/23 Tribe will conclude its regular season road slate at Delaware on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The game will be streamed on FloFootball. By following this link (flosports.tv/caa), CAA fans can sign up for an annual subscription to FloSports, which remains at a reduced rate of $95.88 per year ($7.99 per month) or a discounted monthly rate of $12.50. Also, anyone who subscribes using a CAA member Institution domain (.edu) e-mail address will be eligible for a $6.99 subscription rate per month. Any subscription provides access to all content that FloSports offers.

Fans can also listen to the live broadcast over the airwaves locally on The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 FM and via the internet on Stretch Live and TuneIn.

Live stats will be available at BlueHens.com, while fans can follow the action on Twitter at @WMTribeFootball.

Tickets for the contest are available here.

All attendees at Delaware home football games, ages 12 and older, must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of the event. "Full vaccination" means that guests have received their final COVID-19 vaccine dose at least 14 days in advance of the day of the game. Authentic proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test will be accepted as long as the test was taken within 72 hours of the day of the game through a medical or accredited company; please note that "at home tests" will not be accepted. More information is available here.

#20/23 William & Mary at Delaware (Game 9)
Date Saturday, Nov. 6
Time 1 p.m.
Location Newark, Del. (Delaware Stadium)
Tickets Ticket Info | COVID Guidelines
Live Game Coverage TV: None
Radio: The Tide 92.3FM | Listen Live
Video: FloFootball
Internet Options Live Stats
Official Web Sites W&M | Delaware | CAA
Game Notes W&M | Delaware
Statistics W&M | Delaware
Pregame Media W&M Press Conference: Coach London
CAA Teleconference: Coach London | Coach Rocco
Official Social Media Info
Facebook W&M Football | W&M Athletics | CAA Football
Twitter W&M Football (in-game updates) | W&M Athletics | CAA Football
Twitter Hashtags #GoTribe | #CAAFB
Instagram W&M Football | W&M Athletics | CAA Football


W&M enters Saturday's game with a 6-2 record overall and a 4-1 mark in conference play. The Tribe jumped into the national rankings this week for the first time since 2016 (No. 20 Stats Perform Poll / No. 23 AFCA Coaches Poll) following its lopsided win at then-No. 4 Villanova. W&M currently leads the Colonial Athletic Association and ranks 13th nationally with 216.9 rushing yards per game. Additionally, the Tribe leads the conference with 16 rushing touchdowns and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Defensively, W&M has totaled 19 takeaways this season - 13 interceptions and six fumble recoveries - which ranks tied for fifth nationally. W&M's 13 interceptions ranks tied for third nationally, while it has recorded eight in the last two contests - all by different players.

Ranked as high as No. 6 earlier this season, Delaware enters the weekend with a 4-4 record overall and a 2-3 mark in conference play after losing three of its last four contests. Although the Blue Hens rank among the top teams in the conference defensively and are allowing just 345.4 total yards per game, their offense has struggled to find the end zone and are averaging just 19.1 points per game.

Saturday's contest will mark the 43rd meeting between W&M and Delaware, as the Blue Hens hold a 24-18 advantage. UD owns a 14-6 advantage in games played in Newark.

Tribe v. Hens Game Notes: https://static.tribeathletics.com/custompages/files/fb/2021/delaware.pdf

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Delaware’s Strothers is happy to find football
By Andy Walter - Delaware State News 11/1/21

NEWARK — The way Amonte Strothers tells it, he and football used to have a love-hate relationship.

He tried the sport once — working as a kicker in his sophomore year in high school — but quit after a couple games.

His high school coach, though, saw too much potential to just let the youngster walk away.

“He was coming to my house every day, begging me to play football,” said Strothers. “But I really wasn’t into it. One day I just gave it a shot and fell in love.”

Not only did Strothers succeed in high school — he helped Steel Valley (Pa.) High to a two-year record of 26-1 — but he’s now one of the top three cornerbacks for Delaware.

With the Blue Hens (2-3 CAA, 4-4 overall) hosting No. 20 William & Mary (4-1 CAA, 6-2 overall) on Saturday at 1 p.m., Strothers leads the team with a pair of interceptions. He almost picked off a third one in Delaware’s 17-10 win over Dixie State on Saturday.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Strothers, who played basketball, said he never expected to be in this position just a few years ago.

“It’s definitely wild,” he said. “I still take it in almost every day that I’m actually still here and playing football. It’s something that I don’t think will ever get old for me. I’m still here.

“A lot of people, when they hear I didn’t start playing until my junior year, they’re like, ‘There’s no way you should be here. There’s just no way — for you to start that late and develop this far and play DI ball.’ It’s definitely something that I look at every day.”

Delaware coach Danny Rocco likes Strothers’ story. He calls him a “really special young man.”

Rocco said the junior from Homestead, Pennsylvania, is not only trying to make an impact on the football field but also in the world around him.

“He really wants to do something with his life,” said Rocco. “He sees a college education and a scholarship in football as maybe an opportunity to kind of make a new life for himself.”

Rocco said the Blue Hens’ coaching staff knew that Strothers didn’t have a long background in the sport when they first signed him. The youngster had been a second-team All-Stater his senior year in high school and took recruiting visits to FBS programs Purdue and Toledo.

But he said Strothers has worked hard to get up to speed.

“He’s got a really good skill set,” said Rocco. “He can play man coverage. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s smart. He’s got good instincts, he’s got good hands. We’re really pleased with Amonte and his development.”

Strothers said he learned a great deal from the Hens’ former veteran defensive backs, like Tim Adewusi and Nasir Aderley, both of whom ended up in the NFL. He said senior cornerback Nijuel Hill still keeps helping him to get better.

“Sitting down with him is definitely one of the best things that could have happened to me,” said Strothers. “He looks after me like I’m his little brother. He takes care of me and teaches me the tricks of the trade.”

Indeed, being part of a large group is one of the things Strothers said he likes most about playing football.

“You meet some great people,” said Strothers. “Getting on a team with 100 people is really interesting. You get to see a lot of people and meet new personalties.”

Gwynn stepping up

Quarterback Zach Gwynn clearly had his best passing game so far against Dixie State.

He completed 19-of-28 passes for 215 yards with no interceptions.

Offensive tackle Ben Trent, for one, said he wasn’t surprised to see the QB getting better in his third game as a starter.

“You can take all the practice reps in the world but it’s never a game rep,” said Trent. “Zach does a really good job in practice. He always works really hard.

“He’s getting game experience under his belt. It was his third start and I think it showed that he’s getting more comfortable with us. He’s making things happen — as we all know he can and that he will continue to do as the season goes on. I’m just so proud of him and glad to see the things he’s doing.”

With that in mind, Rocco said the Hens need to keep pushing things to make Gwynn and the offense even more productive. Rocco said on Monday that the coaching staff did call things conservatively to avoid running into trouble against Dixie State.

“He’s progressing,” Rocco said about Gwynn. “He’s able to manage and handle more of the plan. ... I feel like our playbook will be much more open this week and we will not limit things in terms of what he cannot do.

“We’re certainly going to do things that he does best and is the most comfortable with. But we’re going to have to create more opportunities for big plays. That’s the bottom line — we’ve got to get some more explosive plays out of our offense.”

Trent gets his chance

Ben Trent had gotten some playing time during his four-year career at Virgina, but it was almost exclusively on special teams.

So when he transferred to Delaware for his final year of eligibility, the offensive tackle was just trying to get a chance to play a little more offense.

With the pandemic hitting, however, the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder has ended up seeing more time than he could have hoped for.

Because Delaware also played a spring season, Trent has seen action in 15 games this calendar year after becoming a full-time starter this fall.

“It’s been definitely a wild journey,” said Trent. “When I first got here, I was expecting it to just be one year. Get a master’s, play one more year of football and kind of move on. Then COVID came around and I was like, why not keep it rolling after the spring?

“It’s been great. Delaware has given me a lot of opportunities to be able to live my dream of actually playing college football. ... It’s been a dream come true.”

With Trent’s father, Richard, being a longtime high school coach in Virginia, Rocco knew a little bit about the family already. He said Trent reported to fall camp in as good a shape as ever.

“He’s a great kid,” said Rocco. “He gives you everything he has. He cares a lot. He understands the game and it means a lot to him. I’m really happy that we have him on our team.”

Extra points

Delaware punter Tyler Pastula was named the Colonial Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Week. He averaged 43.3 yards per kick and put three of his four punts inside the Dixie State 10. ... Delaware’s attendance of 8,391 last Saturday was its lowest for a home game since a contest against Lehigh in November, 1967. ... James Madison moved back to No. 3 in Monday’s STATS FCS poll while Villanova dropped from No. 4 to No. 10.
================================================
 
Where’d everybody go?
10/30/21
From: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/sports/2021/10/31/
delaware-dixie-state-historically-small-crowd-sees-blue-hens-win/6134170001/

Leading up to Saturday’s game, some fans had predicted it would be a small crowd, with Delaware losing three straight and a winless opponent with little name recognition visiting.

But 8,391?

It was the smallest attendance with full-capacity permitted at Delaware Stadium in 54 years, when 8,275 attended the Nov. 11 home finale of the 1967 season. That was Tubby Raymond’s second year as coach in which a very young team went 2-7, though the Blue Hens did rout 1960s whipping boy Lehigh 33-10 that afternoon.

COLLINS WAS CONFIDENT: Mount Pleasant grad shows DI talent with Hens

The last time attendance was below 10,000 for a regular-season game was when 8,667 attended the 1968 West Chester encounter, but the stadium then held just 13,500. It was expanded to 20,000 seats in 1970 and 22,700 in 1972. The 2019 refurbishment reduced capacity and a sellout Parents Day crowd of 18,080 did attend the 20-15 win over Albany on Oct. 2 this season.
The west stands of Delaware Stadium show plenty of available seats in the second quarter of the Blue Hens' 17-10 win against Dixie State at Delaware Stadium Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

Delaware’s previous smallest regular-season crowd since and including 1969 had been 11,646 for the 1994 Rhode Island game.

From 2002-2009, Delaware had 20,000-plus fans for 44 straight regular-season games. It averaged more than 20,00 from the 1999 through 2010 regular seasons.

Many factors have contributed to declining attendance over the past 10 years at Delaware games, such as less success by Blue Hen teams, an aging fan base, more games on television and social media leading to changing viewing habits by younger fans.

But a drop-off that significant is both astonishing and revealing, though it’s up to UD officials to determine exactly what it divulges.

=================================================
 
Dixie State Trailblazers Drop Heartbreaker at Delaware Saturday
10/30//2021 - dixiestateathletics.com

Despite putting up its best overall performance of the 2021 season, Dixie State came up just short of its first win in a hard-fought 17-10 loss at Delaware on Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium. 

After giving up a touchdown on the Blue Hens' (4-4) opening drive, the Trailblazers were on the march for a possible score of their own. 

Thanks to a clutch 3-yard run by Drew Kannely-Robles on fourth down, followed by an 18-yard Koby Tracy to Rickie Johnson connection, DSU found itself just outside of the UDel red zone. However the drive would be thwarted two plays later when Tracy was intercepted at the Blue Hen 8-yard line by Andrew Pawlowski. 

Both sides exchanged punts through the remainder of the first period before Delaware took its initial possession of the second quarter 41 yards in four plays to the DSU 7-yard line. But this time it would be the Trailblazer defense that would come up with the big turnover as safety Tyrell Grayson forced a Gene Coleman II fumble at the 5-yard line, and Colby Williams pounced on the loose ball. 

It remained a one-score game until the 2:47 mark when Blue Hen running back Dejoun Lee capped a 7-play, 81-yard run with a 1-yard dive to give Delaware a 14-0 cushion. 

The Trailblazers (0-8) answered back with a touchdown of their own on their very next possession when Tracy found Michael Moten for a 20-yard strike, which cut the deficit in half at 14-7 with 1:04 to play in the half. Tracy threw for 54 yards on the scoring drive, which was also aided by a Blue Hen pass interference call. 

Delaware then struck for the final points of the half when Ryan Coe nailed a 43-yard field goal at the horn to take a 17-7 lead into the intermission.

Dixie State came out of the locker room and struck quickly for its biggest play of the day. Tracy hit Kannely-Robles with a short pass, and the senior back did the rest by weaving through the Blue Hen defense for 58 yards down to the Delaware 25. 

Unfortunately for the Blazers, the promising drive stalled three plays later and DSU had to settle for a Connor Brooksby 33-yard field goal that made it a 17-10 game.

After giving up just over 300 yards in the first half, the Trailblazer defense played lights outs in the second 30 minutes, holding Delaware scoreless while surrendering just 38 total yards in the third quarter and 68 yards overall in the half. 

The defense also forced its second turnover of the day late in the third when Jayden Sheridan stripped the ball away UDel receiver Thyrick Pitts at the DSU 15-yard line. Sam Kanongata'a recovered the fumble as the Blazers again turned away another Blue Hen scoring threat. 

Dixie State had its chances to tie the game in the fourth, but a bad snap with Tracy in the shot gun derailed one promising drive and led to a Blazer punt.

Then after the Trailblazer defense held on 4th and 1 at the DSU 34 with 1:16 remaining, DSU took advantage of two costly Delaware penalties and pair of Tracy completions to get to the Blue Hen 32 yard line with :08 seconds left. Time enough for one more play, Tracy took the snap, bought some time and let fly an attempt that fell incomplete as the clock hit zeroes. 


Tracy threw for a career-high 314 yards on 29-of-39 passing to go with his touchdown. A week after recording his first career 100-yard rushing game, Kannely-Robles eclipsed the century mark in receiving as he hauled in six passes for a career-best 112 yards. Meanwhile Moten finished just one-yard shy of the triple digits as he racked up 99 receiving yards on six catches to go with his second TD grab in as many games. 

Dixie State finished with 310 yards of total offense, though the Blazers were held to minus-4 yards rushing after two Delaware sacks and 20 lost yards on the costly bad snap in the fourth quarter. 

Grayson collected a team-high 12 tackles (7 solo) to complement his forced fumble to lead the Blazer defense, while Malaki Malaki tallied 11 tackles. 

Dixie State will close out its 2021 road slate at defending 2020-21 FCS champion and No. 1-ranked Sam Houston next Saturday in Huntsville, Texas. Kick-off is slated for 12 noon (CT).
===================================================
 
Hens just good enough to end losing streak
October 30, 2021 7:05 pm
By Andy Walter - Delaware State News

NEWARK — Delaware’s football players had already run out onto the field to celebrate their first victory in a month.

But then the officials said, not so fast.

With both the Blue Hens and Dixie State’s players sent back to their sidelines, the referees reviewed the video to see whether a Delaware player had committed a targeting penalty on the game’s final play.

Finally, the official determined that there was no penalty and the Hens had indeed outlasted the Trailblazers, 17-10, before a crowd of 8,391 at Delaware Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was a pretty anti-climactic ending to the ho-hum victory that snapped a three-game losing streak for Delaware (4-4) and kept Dixie State (0-8) winless.

“I didn’t know what was going on, to be honest,” safety Kedrick Whitehead said about the ending. “I had faith we were going to stop them either way, whether they had another play, another two plays, it didn’t matter to me.

“It doesn’t matter how we win or what we win by,” the Middletown High grad added. “We come away with that ‘W,’ that’s all that matters.”

The Trailblazers, who came all the way from Utah for the first meeting between the two Division I FCS programs, had reached the Hens’ 32 yard line with five seconds remaining.

Dixie State quarterback Kobe Tracy rolled out and flung the ball toward the end zone — where it sailed over everyone’s heads, landing harmlessly out of bounds. Once the potential targeting call was waved off, Delaware had survived.

After earning their first victory since Oct. 2, the Hens weren’t really in a position to get too picky about the way they won.

To be fair, Delaware actually did some good things, especially in the first half.

A week after totaling just 109 yards of offense in a loss to James Madison, the Hens had piled up 312 yards by halftime on Saturday. They scored just their second first-quarter touchdown of the season, limited Dixie State to negative-four yards rushing for the game and quarterback Zach Gwynn had his best passing day, completing 19-of-28 passes for 215 yards with no interceptions.

On the other hand, Delaware twice fumbled inside the Dixie State 20, surrendered 314 passing yards to Tracy and went scoreless in the second half after taking a 17-7 second-quarter lead.

“We came into the locker room at halftime and I felt really good about what we were doing,” said UD coach Danny Rocco. “It could have been 24-7 and we could have been in a really, really good spot. But, in the second half, we got very little going offensively.

“We’re 4-4 and we’re going to have to play a heck of a lot better next week when we get back into conference play.”

Senior running back Dejoun Lee finished with an even 100 yards and a TD on 23 carries. It was his fourth 100-yard day in the last six games and made him just the ninth player in school history with over 4,000 all-purpose yards.

Lee wasn’t sure what changed in the second half.

Delaware managed only 98 net yards with three punts and a fumble on five second-half drives.

“In the first half, we finally felt like we were playing like ourselves a little bit,” said Lee. “In the second half, we didn’t play the way we wanted to.”

Delaware’s offensive line has been a work in progress all season — in part because of injuries and health.

With 1:16 left, the Hens had a chance to put the game out of reach when they faced a fourth-and-one at the Dixie State 34. But QB Anthony Paoletti was stopped for a one-yard loss, giving the Trailblazers their last-gasp chance.

“We’re not executing consistently enough to be a good team or to beat a good team,” said Rocco.

“We’re getting beat at the point of attack more often than we should be. We’re certainly getting beat at the point of attack more than we were in our last cycle (in the spring). ... We’re not that same team right now in being able to gash and crease and get those plays in our run game. So we are grinding it out.”

Grinding it out may not work next week when the Hens host William & Mary in a CAA matchup. The Tribe knocked off No. 4 Villanova, 31-18, on Saturday to improve to 6-2.

Delaware realized the way it played on Saturday probably won’t be good enough to get a second straight victory. Lee, for one, still hasn’t given up on the hope that there’s a better team that still might show itself.

“This team’s potential is out of this world,” said Lee. “And I can say that confidently and I mean it. That’s the hardest thing about the way this season has gone and it makes us so hungry to finish it the right way. We know we can.”

Extra points

Whitehead had a team-high 10 tackles while safety Andrew Pawlowski had an interception. ... Paoletti scored Delaware’s first touchdown on a three-yard run. It was his third TD of the season. ... Rocco on the number of video reviews during the game: “I don’t think I’ve been in a game where I have seen so many stoppages from the box,” he said. ... Rocco on Gwynn’s play: “Zach, I thought, was in rhythm, he got the ball out, I thought he made some good throws. I thought there were some moments out there today where he really was confident getting the ball down the field.” ... Rocco said there’s a chance that linebackers Colby Reeder (ribs) and Drew Nickles could return before the end of the season.
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Dixie State University (DSU) Trailblazers Travel Cross Country for Road Date at Delaware
10/27/2021 12:13:00 PM DSU Athletic Media Relations

2021 Dixie State Trailblazers Football (0-7/0-2 WAC)
Game No. 8
at Delaware (3-4)
Saturday, October 30; 11 a.m. (MT)
Delaware Stadium (18,077); Newark, Del.
Game Notes: DIXIE STATE - PDF | UD - PDF
Dixie State Football Media Central
Live TV: None
Live Streaming Video: FloSports.TV
Live Audio: ESPN RADIO 97.7 FM
Live Stats: at DELAWARE
Twitter: @DixieAthletics | @DixieState_FB | #DixieBlazers | #WeAreONE | #TheRISE | #WACfb

OPENING KICK: Dixie State (0-7/0-2 WAC) begins its final road swing of the 2021 campaign this Saturday, October 30, with a non-conference date at Delaware (3-4/2-3 CAA). Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. (ET), at Delaware Stadium in Newark.
 
ABOUT THE DELAWARE "BLUE HENS": Delaware enters Saturday's game looking to snap its longest losing skid of the season, which reached three games after the Blue Hens dropped a hard-fought 22-10 Homecoming decision to current No. 5 James Madison last Saturday in Newark.
The Blue Hens opened the season winners of three of their first four, with the lone loss coming against FBS and Big Ten member Rutgers (13-45; 9/18).
Junior QB Zach Gywnn has thrown for 482 yards and four touchdowns to this point of the season. Gywnn took over as the Blue Hens' senior starting QB Nolan Henderson was lost for the year earlier this month. Graduate running back and Walter Payton Award candidate Dejoun Lee has rushed for 593 yards (84.7 ypg) and two touchdowns, while graduate WR Thyrick Pitts leads the team in receptions (24), yards (407) and touchdowns (6).
Delaware is averaging 19.4 ppg and 296.0 yards of total offense, while allowing 24.6 ppg and 349.4 yards in seven games. 

DIXIE STATE/UD SERIES HISTORY: Saturday's game at Delaware will be the first-ever meeting between the Trailblazers and Blue Hens on the football field.

GO EAST YOUNG MEN: Saturday's game at Delaware will mark just the second time in the program's four-year era that the Trailblazers will have played a game EAST of the Mississippi River. In fact, the estimated 4,664-mile trip will be the longest road trip DSU has embarked on to play an NCAA football game.
Last season, the Blazers traveled nearly 3,900 miles to Georgia to play at Kennesaw State (L, 27-37; 3/20/21), which was the first-ever game DSU had played in the Eastern Time Zone.
In addition, Saturday's game at Delaware will be the third time that Dixie State has faced an opponent located east of the "Mighty Mississipp, the Old Miss, the Old Man." In the 2007 season, DSU hosted Carson-Newman (from Jefferson City, Tenn.) at then Hansen Stadium (L, 13-35; 9/29/07).

HITTING THE TRAIL: Last spring, Dixie State traveled over 7,500 miles for its three road games at Tarleton State (Stephenville, Texas - 2,220 miles), at New Mexico State (played in El Paso, Texas - 1,458 miles), and at Kennesaw State (Kennesaw, Ga.)
This season, the Blazers are scheduled to travel over 12,000 miles for their five road dates, which includes this weekend's record road trip to Delaware.
DSU also traveled nearly 2,700 to play at South Dakota State (10/2), and will cover just over 2,000 miles to play at current No. 1 Sam Houston next weekend.
 
DIXIE STATE ON THE AIR: All Dixie State home and away games this season are broadcast live on ESPN Radio 97.7 FM, with Devin Dixon calling the play-by-play action and Andy Thompson providing color commentary. A live stream of the radio broadcast will be available at sportsradio977.com.
Along with the radio coverage, all Dixie State home games will be streamed live on ESPN+.
In August, the Western Athletic Conference announced a new multi-year, multi-platform media rights agreement with the "The Worldwide Leader" that will see over 500 annual events on ESPN+ and the ESPN app. This will include all Dixie State football, men's basketball, and women's basketball home games and WAC road games.

LAST TIME OUT: Despite a season-high tying 167 yards rushing and a home season-best 410 yards of total offense, Dixie State remained winless on the season following a 37-20 Homecoming loss to new WAC member Stephen F. Austin last Saturday night at Greater Zion Stadium.
After spotting SFA a 20-3 halftime lead, the Trailblazers managed to make a two-score game on a couple of occasions in the second half. However DSU could not get a key stop when it needed to as SFA answered every Blazer score with one of its own to keep DSU's first win of the year out of reach. 

NEW YEAR-NEW HOME: After making its D-I debut as one of three FCS independents last spring, Dixie State is in its first season as a football playing member of the WAC, joining the other 14 Trailblazer Athletic programs under the conference umbrella.
Due to previous game contract agreements for 2021, the Trailblazers were not eligible to be listed in the preseason WAC Coaches' Poll, and will face only three of the five football playing conference members.
Following Saturday's game vs. SFA, DSU will close out its 2021 road slate at WAC newcomer and current No. 1-ranked Sam Houston, which is the defending 2020-21 NCAA FCS champion, on Nov. 6. 
Starting in 2022, Dixie State, Tarleton, SFA, Sam Houston, Lamar and Abilene Christian, and current Big Sky member and in-state foe Southern Utah, will make up the seven-team WAC FCS conference.

SO ABOUT THAT SCHEDULE: To paraphrase the legendary Ric Flair - "To be the best, you gotta beat the best!!!" And judging by who is on the Trailblazers' 2021 schedule, they will have plenty of opportunities to do just that.
Dixie State's 2021 fall slate is arguably the toughest schedule in the country at the FCS subdivision, a schedule that features seven FCS Spring playoff teams, and an 11-team list that posted a combined .714 overall winning percentage (record based on last completed season). 
To date, nine of the 11 teams on DSU's slate are listed in the current 2021 AFCA FCS Coaches' top-25 poll, including seven ranked opponents, five of which the Blazers' have already played.
Defending NCAA FCS champion and WAC newcomer Sam Houston tops the poll and will host DSU next weekend in Huntsville, Texas, while the Blazers will close out the year at home against current No. 20 Missouri State on Nov. 20.

DIXIE STATE AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Dixie State's 2021 schedule has given the Blazers a chance to improve on their record against ranked opponents, which currently stands at 3-22 all-time, which includes an 0-4 mark so far this season against teams which were ranked when DSU faced them.
DSU did split a pair of games against ranked opponents last spring, highlighted by its third-ever triumph over a ranked foe in last spring's season opener at then No. 22 Tarleton (Stat Perform ranking, 26-14; 2/27/21). Dixie State also dropped a hard-fought 37-27 decision at then-No. 9 Kennesaw State (AFCA and Stat Perform; 3/20/21).
Prior to the Tarleton road result, the last DSU win vs. a ranked opponent came on Nov. 3, 2018, in a 52-45 thriller at home against then-No. 6 Colorado School of Mines. DSU claimed its first win over a ranked opponent in a 38-31 victory at then-No. 23 Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction in 2016.

TRAILBLAZER QUICK HITS:
• Senior RB Drew Kannely-Robles has been on quite the tear over the past three weeks, averaging 106.7 yards with three total touchdowns during this current stretch.
• Kannely-Robles saved his best for his final Homecoming start as the senior rushed for a career-high 183 yards on 24 carries with his third touchdown of the year last Saturday vs. SFA.
• Kannely-Robles tallied 141 of those yards after halftime, highlighted a 47-yard sprint up the middle untouched to the end zone in the third quarter, which was the longest run of his collegiate career, and was DSU's longest scoring play of the season.
• Kannely-Robles' career night also served not only has his first collegiate 100-yard outing, it was also the first 100-yard rushing game of DSU's new FCS era ... Meanwhile, his 183 rush yards were the ninth-most in a single game in the program's NCAA era.
• Kannely-Robles also finished with a career-best 196 all-purpose yards as he caught three passes out of the backfield for 13 yards.
• Kannely-Robles' career night came on the heels of an 81-yard performance on 20 carries and two touchdowns vs. Tarleton State (10/16).
• Kannely-Robles' two rushing touchdowns also tied a career-high ... the senior first achieved that feat nearly two years to the day in a road win at Western Colorado (28-20; 10/19/19).
• Kannely-Robles has racked up 627 all-purpose yards on the year, with 385 of those yards coming over his last three games.
• Freshman RB Quali Conley rushed for a season-high 66 yards on seven carries vs. Tarleton (10/16), which included a 39-yard second quarter scamper that got the Blazers into the red zone.
• Conley's first (and lone) touchdown of the year came at UC Davis (9/18) on a first quarter 8-yard screen pass that got the Blazers on the board.
• Conley has scored at least one touchdown in five of his first 12 collegiate games overall, including four of five starts last spring ... four of Conley's seven career TDs have come on the ground, while his catch at UCD was his third TD reception.
• Conley was DSU's leading rusher in all five spring games, highlighted by a 97-yard night vs. Tarleton (3/13), and a pair of 81-yard outings at both New Mexico State (3/7) and at Kennesaw State (3/20) ... the freshman also tallied a team-high 26 yards on eight carries in the Sacramento State (9/4) loss.
• RS-Freshman QB Kobe Tracy made his first collegiate start last Saturday vs. SFA and responded with 243 yards on 22-38-1 passing, highlighted by a 35-yard TD toss to sophomore WR Michael Moten late in the fourth quarter.
• Tracy came off the bench and went 11-15-1 for 111 in the fourth quarter vs. Tarleton (10/16), including a big 41-yard hookup with sophomore WR Keith Davis, which set up the second Kannely-Robles TD run.
• Sophomore QB Kenyon Oblad threw for 108 yards on 15-30-1 passing vs. Tarleton (10/16) ... Oblad has thrown for 878 yards and five touchdowns in five games this season.
• Oblad made his first Trailblazer start at UC Davis (9/18), against which he threw for 342 yards and a collegiate career-high four touchdowns in the loss.
• Oblad's four TD passes eclipsed his previous career-high total of three, which he recorded twice, also on the road, during his freshman year at UNLV in 2019 (at Fresno State 10/18/19; at Nevada 11/30/19).
• Moten finished with career highs of four catches and 73 yards to go with his 35-yard TD catch, which tied for the longest scoring pass play for DSU this season (Malcolm Ross-Turner at UC Davis; 9/18) ... Moten and Tracy also hooked up for a 31-yard connection early in the second quarter vs. SFA.
• Davis posted career-highs of five receptions and 77 yards in the Tarleton loss (10/16), while his 41-yard catch-and-run was the longest reception of his collegiate career.
• Sophomore WR Rickie Johnson tied a career high with five catches vs. SFA last Saturday for 56 yards ... Johnson also led DSU's receiving corps with five receptions and 92 yards at Montana (10/9), including a highlight reel 47-yard diving grab in the fourth quarter.
• Well it took seven games, but senior WR Deven Osborne finally got into the catch column with two receptions for 34 yards last Saturday vs. SFA, including a big 23-yard grab on 3rd-and-4 that set up the Kannely-Robles TD run.
• Osborne, who has played in only three games this season due to injury, recorded career highs in receptions (30), yards (441) and touchdowns (3) in five games last spring.
• Freshman DB Tyrell Grayson earned WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 11, after he racked up 14 total tackles (eight solo) and forced a fumble at Montana (10/9).
• Grayson's forced fumble came on his first collegiate sack inside the DSU red zone that thwarted a possible Grizzlies scoring drive ... the sack was one of two TFLs the freshman had on the day to go with a pair of PBUs.
• Grayson, who led DSU with eight tackles vs. Tarleton (10/16), tied a DSU single-game record with 19 total tackles (15 solo) in the UC Davis loss (9/25) ... Grayson joined junior LB Malaki Malaki (at New Mexico State, 3/7/21) and former LB Robert Metz (at Central Washington, 11/14/15) atop the single-game list.
• Grayson had himself a night in the season-opener against Sacramento State (9/4) when he collected a then-career high 13 tackles, including 12 solo stops, and registered one TFL.
• Grayson's team-leading 70 total tackles would rank him t-12th nationally at the FCS level, while his team-high 57 solo stops would be good for third-nationally, however Dixie State is not eligible to be ranked statistically during its NCAA D-I transition period.
• Junior LB Bradley Brown has come up big defensively with three TFLs and two sacks over his last two games ... Brown picked up his team co-leading third sack of the year vs. SFA last Saturday, this after he recorded two TFLs, including DSU's lone sack a week earlier vs. Tarleton (10/16).
• Freshman DL Syrus Webster racked up his second collegiate sack and tallied two TFLs vs. SFA last Saturday ... Webster had himself a day at Montana (10/9) as well with a career-high nine tackles and 1.5 TFLs, including his first collegiate sack and forced fumble ... Webster also recovered the fumble on the Grayson strip-sack in the first quarter.
• Junior CB Devin Chandler scored DSU's first defensive touchdown of the season at Montana (10/9) when he returned the Webster forced fumble 38 yards in the fourth quarter to get the Blazers on the scoreboard ... Chandler finished the day with six total tackles and a PBU to go with his TD.
• Chandler's fumble return was the DSU's first in nearly four years, with the last instance coming during the 2017 season when Remington Kelly (46 yards) took one back to the house at home against Adams State (10/28/17).
• Junior corner Colby Williams registered career highs of seven tackles (all solo) and two TFLs vs. Tarleton (10/16).
• Junior DB/LB Kaejin Smith-Bejgrowicz registered his first career sack in the first quarter at SDSU (10/2) ... it was also the first sack the Jackrabbit o-line gave up this season (one of two on the night), and it came on a big 3rd-and-13 stop midway through the stanza.
• Malaki recorded his fourth-career double digit tackle outing with a game-high 17 tackles (eight solo) at Montana (10/9).
• Malaki opened the season 11 stops (1 TFL) in the opener vs. Sacramento State (9/4) ... the junior also led the DSU defense with nine total tackles (6 solo) and a sack at SDSU (10/2), this after he recorded nine tackles (3 TFLs) a week earlier at UC Davis (9/25). 
• Malaki reached double figures in tackles twice last spring, highlighted by his record day at NMSU (3/7), which came on the heels of a 10-tackle effort in DSU's D-I debut win at Tarleton (2/27).
• Freshman LB Will Leota posted his first collegiate double-digit tackle game with 11 stops at Montana (10/9) ... Leota also registered 1.0 TFL and picked off his first collegiate pass in the second quarter ... Leota led the Blazer defense with eight tackles (7 solo) last week vs. SFA. 
• Freshman punter Andrew Day punted six times for 253 (42.2 ypp) vs. SFA, highlighted by a 58-yard boot in the first quarter.
• Freshman PK Connor Brooksby hit on all four of his field goal attempts during the homestand, highlighted by a career-long 43-yard first quarter make to open the scoring vs. Tarleton (10/16), which is tied for the seventh-longest FG make in the program's NCAA era.

TEAM NOTES:
• Bolstered by Kannely-Robles' career night, Dixie State gained a season-high 228 yards on the ground ... however if you take into account seven SFA sacks, the Blazers were left with 167 net yards rushing, which tied DSU's season-high for net yards set a week earlier vs. Tarleton (10/16).
• DSU also outrushed SFA by a 167-134 count, which marked the first time this season that the Blazers outgained an opponent on the ground.
• The 167 yards gained against both SFA and Tarleton eclipsed the previous high of 92 yards set at home against Weber State (9/11).
• DSU wound up with 410 yards of total offense against SFA last Saturday, which was season-high at home and the second-best total to this point of the year.
• Dixie State tallied a season-high 442 yards (90 plays) of total offense in the UC Davis loss on Sept. 18, including a season-best 389 yards passing.
• Dixie State racked up 400-plus yards of offense in two of five games this past spring, including a season-high 483 yards at New Mexico State (3/7). 
• DSU eclipsed the 400-yard plateau offensively nine times in Paul Peterson's first year at the helm in 2019, highlighted by a 677-yard day (#2 all-time at DSU) vs. Black Hills State (10/5/19).
• Dixie State was limited to a season-low six net rush yards at South Dakota State (10/2), thanks in large part to four QB sacks that erased 31 rushing yards.
• The six yards gained rushing (0.25 ypc - #4 all-time low) was fifth-lowest total in DSU's NCAA era, and were the fewest yards since DSU was held to minus-1 yard at home vs. Western Colorado (10/13/18) nearly three years to the day in a game that DSU actually won, 17-10 ... DSU QBs were sacked six times in that game, though the DSU defense racked up seven sacks of its own in the win. 
• DSU was held to just 209 yards (season low) in the season opener against Sacramento State, which broke a string of 15-straight games that the DSU offense had gained 300-plus yards.
• After scoring 10 total points over its first two games, Dixie State put 27 points on the board in the first three quarters at UC Davis (9/18), though the Blazers were held scoreless in that decisive fourth quarter.
• Dixie State (11.6 ppg in 2021) avoided being shutout for the first time in 73 games when the Blazers found the end zone in the waning moments of the SDSU loss (10/2) ... the last time DSU was held scoreless was in a 44-0 home loss to Central Washington (11/16/13) during the 2013 season.
• Dixie State began the Tarleton game (10/16) by doing something it had only done one other time this season - score points on its opening possession ... the Trailblazers took the opening kickoff and methodically marched down the field, covering 46 yards over their first six offensive plays, and cashed in the drive the first of Brooksby's two field goals.
• Last spring Dixie State averaged 31.4 ppg, and scored at a 34.4 ppg clip in Paul Peterson's first year as head coach in 2019.
• Dixie State won the turnover battle by a 4-2 count at Montana (10/9) ... this after a two-game stretch that saw DSU commit 10 of its 16 total turnovers on the year (5 TOs at UC Davis/5 TOs at South Dakota State).
• However the SFA game marked the fourth time this season that the Trailblazer defense failed to force a turnover, though DSU only had one turnover itself, but it was costly one as Tracy was intercepted in the end zone during the third quarter. 
• Despite the loss at then-No. 3 South Dakota State (10/2), Dixie State's defense hung a pair of "firsts" on SDSU - including being the first team hold the Jackrabbits scoreless in the first quarter.
• DSU also became the first team to register a sack against the SDSU offensive line and finished with two sacks and five total TFLs on the night overall.
• Speaking of sacks, the DSU offensive line surrendered a season-low one sack vs. Tarleton (10/16), however SFA got to Tracy seven times for minus-49 yards rushing last Saturday ... DSU has allowed 29 total sacks over its first seven games of the 2021 fall season, this after giving up only five total sacks in five 2021 spring games.
• The Trailblazers only had one accepted penalty charged to them for five yards in the SFA loss last Saturday, which is a season-low for both.
• The last time that happened was in the 2012 season on the road at Central Washington (11/10/12) ... meanwhile the Trailblazers have recorded one rare penalty-less game in the program's NCAA era, which also came against CWU at home during the 2014 campaign (11/8/14). 

YOU'RE IN GOOD HANDS: Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced on Sept. 24, that Dixie State post-graduate student wide receiver Deven Osborne has been named to the 30th-Anniversary 2021 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
Osborne is among 22 football student-athletes and one honorary coach selected to the 30th-Anniversary team. In all, 109 student-athletes from all divisions across the nation were with stories of exemplary community service, alongside academic dedication and impact on and off the field.
The final 22-member team and honorary coach, were selected by a committee made up of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team members and journalists.
Osborne is the fifth college football student-athlete from the state of Utah to be selected to the Good Works Team, joining former Utah defensive backs Morgan Scalley (2004) and Eric Weddle (2006), former BYU quarterback Riley Nelson (2010) and former Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keaton (2014). In addition, Osborne is one of two Trailblazer football players to have earned the honor as former DSU transfer running back Jeffrey Coprich (2017) was named to the 2014 Good Works Team while at California.
Fans will have the opportunity to help Osborne become the 2021 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain through online voting by visiting ESPN.com/Allstate. Voting is open now through Nov. 22, 2021.

#AB3FOREVER: Junior linebacker Malaki Malaki has been awarded the No. 3 jersey for the 2021 season.
The awarding of the No. 3 jersey is the second instance in what has become an annual tradition honoring the memory of former Dixie State football player Abraham Reinhardt, who passed away unexpectedly on March 22, 2019. DSU Head Football Coach Paul Peterson noted that the No. 3 jersey would be awarded to a student-athlete who best exemplified Reinhardt's leadership, both on and off the field.
"When we lost a great young man in Abraham [in 2019], we wanted to honor him and his legacy the best we possibly could," Coach Peterson said. "Abe was a perfect representative of our team culture which focuses on toughness, hard work, trust and accountability.
"Malaki exemplifies everything that we are trying to build here at Dixie State. He is tough, works tremendously hard, is a great student and leader. Malaki will wear AB3's jersey this season in honor of his legacy."

NEXT UP FOR THE TRAILBLAZERS: Dixie State closes out its 2021 road slate at defending 2020-21 FCS champion and No. 1-ranked Sam Houston next Saturday in Huntsville, Texas. Kick-off is slated for 12 noon (CT).
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Collins getting his chance to prove himself with Blue Hens
October 25, 2021 9:48 pm
By Andy Walter - Delaware State News

NEWARK — His first job was getting past the James Madison defensive back.

But, since the defender was up close to the line of scrimmage, once James Collins got a step on him, there was nobody else back there.

“Once I got his hands off me, I looked up and I saw the ball,” said Collins. “I just kind of knew from there that I was going to catch it and score a touchdown.”

Collins’ 26-yard touchdown reception was a simple play but it was a big moment for the unheralded sophomore receiver from Mount Pleasant High. It was the first TD of his college career.

Unfortunately for Delaware, it was also the Blue Hens’ only touchdown in their 22-10 loss to JMU last Saturday.

Now unranked Delaware (3-4 overall) will try again to snap what has grown to a three-game losing streak when it hosts winless Dixie State (0-7) of Utah on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Collins’ TD was one of the few bright spots for Delaware’s offense, which totaled just 109 yards against JMU. It was only the third catch of the season for the 6-foot, 190-pounder from Wilmington.

“He makes plays in practice every week that get our attention and merit opportunity in the game,” coach Danny Rocco said about Collins. “He had been a little one-dimensional in how we’d been using him. But we knew we had a chance to get him the ball on a stutter.

“It was good to see. He practices hard. He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got a lot of speed. He’s one of those guys that most people don’t know very much about.”

Collins played a lot of different positions at Mount Pleasant, including receiver, wildcat quarterback, cornerback and kick returner. He came to Delaware as a preferred walk-on.

Without really any other Division I offers, and knowing he wanted to stay close to home, it was an easy decision to choose UD.

“I knew that I had the talent to play Division I, so I figured, why not just play at Delaware?” said Collins. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in myself. And I had friends and coaches who always told me I could play at the Division I level. So I kind of just bet on myself and came here. I’ve just got to prove myself.”

Saturday’s TD catch was a big step forward for Collins. Before that, he mainly only had a few carries on speed sweeps.

Now he’s more of a full-fledged receiver.

“I go to practice and try my hardest,” said Collins. “I put in a lot of work and effort. So going out there and being able to score a touchdown and help contribute points for my team, that’s really exciting for me. It just gives me a big confidence booster. I just know that I can keep scoring points.”

Rocco sticking with Gwynn

It hasn’t exactly been a smooth transition from Nolan Henderson to Zach Gwynn as the Hens’ starting quarterback.

Delaware is 0-3 with Gwynn under center.

But, rather than give some of Delaware’s younger QBs a chance, Rocco said he thinks Gwynn is still the right man for the job right now.

“It’s a conversation that we’ve certainly had,” said Rocco. “The bottom line is that, in this moment, we feel that Zach is the guy who gives us the best chance to go out there and compete.

“Now let’s be honest. The defense we went against here on Saturday was really good. They played extraordinarily well. They made things very difficult for us. We weren’t able to get the run game going, let alone the passing game. It was just a performance that failed on a lot of levels.”

Rocco, though, acknowledged that there might come a day when he puts some of the younger QBs on the field to see what they can do.

He said one of the issues with Gwynn is that sometimes his mistakes overshadow the good things he does.

“I think for every bad picture you have in your mind, there is a good picture that you saw in a game the last three weeks,” said Rocco. “He’s done good things, he’s made good plays.”

For the season, which includes appearances before he was a starter, Gwynn is 39-of-84 (46.4 percent) for 482 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions.

What’s in a name?

Dixie State clearly has some problems with name recognition, especially considering it is located in Utah.

Apparently, the school is located in an area known as the state’s Dixie Region. The school, which was founded by the LDS Church in 1911, has been known as ‘Dixie’ in some form since 1916.

It has already changed it mascot from the Rebels to the Trailblazers and is in the process of changing the school name to ‘Utah Tech.’

While they’re winless, the Trailblazers have played a very difficult schedule. They’ve already taken on three teams ranked the FCS top 12 with top-ranked Sam Houston State waiting for them next week.

Defense still battling

Delaware’s defense turned in one its better performances of the fall against JMU. And that’s despite the fact that the Hens are now missing veteran linebackers Colby Reeder and Drew Nickles as well as defensive lineman Frank Burton.

Linebacker Liam Trainer said it’s never easy to see your friends get injured.

“I love both those guys,” Trainer said about Reeder and Nickles. “It just hurts more seeing them go through what they have to go through. It’s part of the game. Some things you just can’t control.

“But it’s also something we can’t let distract us defensively. If someone goes down, the next man has to step up. You can’t blink an eye in that situation.”

In the same vein, Trainer said the fact that the Hens didn’t win on Saturday discourage them from trying to play just as hard next week.

“I think defensively we played better than we probably have all season,” he said. “We were definitely flying around to the ball. We were physical. We were having fun and, more importantly, we didn’t quit. We played until the very end.

“Even in the game of life, things aren’t going to play out the way you wish. The only thing you can do is keep fighting. If anything, we’re going to push harder during practice.”

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No. 7 JMU Win At No. 23 Delaware
By GREG MADIA Daily News-Record Oct 23, 2021 

NEWARK, Del. – Cole Johnson’s 36-yard touchdown run in the third quarter provided No. 7 James Madison separation from No. 23 Delaware in the Dukes’ 22-10 Colonial Athletic Association victory on Saturday at Delaware Stadium.

Up until Johnson found the end zone, JMU clung to an advantage captured only on field goals from kicker Ethan Ratke, who set a school record with five in the win.

Ratke’s fourth boot through the uprights, a 47-yarder, gave the Dukes a 12-10 lead earlier in the third.

Throughout the first half, JMU wasted one short field after another including two red-zone trips that resulted in field goals.

But Johnson’s score capitalized on a turnover that set the Dukes up at the Delaware 45. On the Blue Hens’ previous possession, JMU defensive end Abi Nwabuoku-Okonji sacked Delaware quarterback Zach Gwynn, who fumbled, and safety Chris Chukwuneke recovered it.

In total, JMU forced three turnovers. Safety MJ Hampton and cornerback Greg Ross each had an interception. The Dukes held the Blue Hens to 109 total yards.

The Dukes improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the CAA while Delaware dropped to 3-4 (2-3 CAA).
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No. 7 JMU fends off Blue Hens
October 23, 2021
By Andy Walter- Delaware State News

NEWARK — Two quarters into Saturday’s matchup, Delaware had James Madison right where it wanted the Dukes.

Well, at least the stumbling Blue Hens were doing the things required to have a chance against the No. 7 FCS team in the country.

Delaware had limited JMU to three field goals, found a way to score a touchdown itself and owned a one-point halftime advantage.

But the Dukes are too good to let a one-dimensional team beat them.

JMU tallied 13 unanswered second-half points and held the Hens to just 109 yards in the contest to put away a 22-10 CAA victory over No. 23 Delaware before a homecoming crowd of 15,783 on a sometimes-rainy Saturday afternoon.

The third straight loss for the Hens (2-3 CAA, 3-4 overall) knocked them under .500 and means they’d have to win their final four games to even dream about making the NCAA FCS playoffs.

The fact that Delaware’s defense dominated at times — limiting JMU (4-1 CAA, 6-1 overall) to a school-record five field goals and only one touchdown — wasn’t nearly enough to keep the Hens from losing their fifth in a row to the Dukes. And with JMU apparently poised to join the Sun Belt Conference and move up to FBS, this might be how the rivalry ends.

“Going into the locker room at halftime, it was a good feeling,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco. “I thought our guys were really confident. I think we had a real sense of belief and confidence that we were going to be able to go out there, finish this game and find a way to win.

“I think the defense played well enough for us to win. Offensively, we struggled. We could not run the ball. It made it more difficult for (quarterback) Zach (Gwynn) and our passing game. Statistically, offensively, we were really, really bad today. We’re going to have to take a hard look at what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with moving forward.”

The game’s pivotal moment came late in the third quarter.

Delaware trailed only 12-10 and finally had some good field position, at its own 48. But, on second down, Gwynn fumbled on a sack.

Three plays later, a Blue Hen defender bit on a run fake and Dukes’ QB Cole Johnson sprinted in untouched on a 36-yard bootleg.

The TD stretched JMU’s lead to 19-10 with 1:01 left in the third quarter and Delaware never seriously challenged again.

“I think our whole defense played hard,” said linebacker Johnny Buchanan, who finished with a career-high 13 tackles. “We’ve got to clean some things up for sure but the guys gave great effort.”

“I give Delaware credit, they played physical on defense,” said JMU coach Curt Cignetti. “We had to earn that one.”

Delaware’s three-game slide coincides with the time that starting QB Nolan Henderson was lost for the season with a hernia. The Hens are also now missing linebacker Colby Reeder and center Mickey Henry, among others.

On Saturday, Gwynn completed only 6-of-20 passes for 85 yards with two interceptions and the fumble against the CAA’s top defense.

On the other hand, Gwynn did toss a nice 26-yard scoring pass to sophomore receiver James Collins to put the Hens ahead, 10-6, with 11:03 left before halftime. It was Collins’ first career touchdown.

“We got that one-on-one matchup with James,” said Gwynn. “He’s a fast kid. We had opportunities to do it a lot more — they cut a couple guys loose early in the game. I wasn’t able to deliver the ball to those open guys.

“I thought we were on the right track and fell off a little as the game went on. That starts with me. I’ve got to be better at preparing.”

On its final 10 possessions, Delaware netted just 70 yards with eight punts and two turnovers. The Hens ran for only 24 yards and were just 2-of-13 on third-down conversions.

Rocco said the Dukes’ defense had a lot to do with Delaware’s offensive struggles. The Hens’ coach talked about the toll of playing a spring and fall season back-to-back.

Like Delaware, JMU also reached the FCS semifinals in the spring. Both squads have played 15 games this calendar year.

“It’s taken the steam out of a number of teams that had pretty good spring seasons,” said Rocco. “Now he (Cignetti) is obviously winning a lot of games this year so it hasn’t taken (away) the same steam. It’s difficult. It’s unprecedented.

“That’s the first question he asked me. He said, ‘How many games have you played since whatever date?’ I said, ‘A lot.’ It is real. ... It’s a combination of physical, emotional, mental. There was never a definitive break in the action.”

As for Delaware’s offense, Gwynn said all the Hens can do is go back to practice and try to fix the problems before next Saturday.

“As an offense, the toughest thing to do is look in hindsight,” he said. “We’ll do that tomorrow, we’ll watch all the film. But as soon as that film is over, we’re back to work.

“We’re excited to win some games this year. We need to get things back on the right track.”

Extra points

Safety Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown) had a game-high 15 tackles. ... Ethan Ratke hit the five field goals for JMU, with the kicks ranging from 30 to 47 yards ... Ryan Coe nailed a 51-yard field goal for Delaware. ... Blue Hen cornerback Amonte Strothers had his second interception of the season. ... Gwynn has now thrown six interceptions against four TD passes this fall. ... The Dukes lead the all-time series, 13-12. ... Delaware continues its three-game home stretch by hosting Dixie State on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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JMU Football FIELD NOTES: Cignetti Addressed Potential FBS Jump With Team
By GREG MADIA Daily News-Record Oct 23, 2021

NEWARK, Del. – He opted to discuss the news of the last 48 hours with his James Madison bunch.

On Saturday following the Dukes’ win at Delaware, third-year JMU coach Curt Cignetti said he talked with his players about the school’s potential move from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Sun Belt Conference.

The Sun Belt could be JMU’s new home in a jump from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

“Well, I addressed it with the team Thursday after practice,” Cignetti said. “Obviously, it had caught fire on social media, but it really doesn’t affect what we’re here to do for this football game. It has no bearing.”

Cignetti said he didn’t want for his group to get off task.

“It has no bearing for our seniors,” he said, “who we’re playing for. And so, it can’t be a distraction. My comment on it right now would be it’d be premature for me to comment and also inappropriate. And also, I’m focused on doing what I got to do to help these guys have as good of a year as possible.”

*****

- Dukes sixth-year senior center J.T. Timming had to be carted off the field during the third quarter on Saturday.

“We’ll know more later, but it appears it could be a significant injury,” Cignetti said.

Timming is the most veteran of the Dukes’ offensive linemen, who are also without All-American tackle Liam Fornadel. Earlier this season, Fornadel went down with a knee injury, though Cignetti has said Fornadel could return before the end of the campaign.

Stanley Hubbard, a redshirt junior and transfer from UConn, played in place of Timming.

Senior quarterback Cole Johnson said about possibly losing Timming: “It’s really hard for the whole offense, especially me and some of the guys I’ve been super close with since I came in, in 2016. He’s been my roommate throughout almost all of college, so it’s really hard for the offense and he’s a great player, but it’s really hard for him as a person.”

- JMU freshman linebacker Jailin Walker made a tackle on the game’s opening kickoff and had a total of three in a really strong showing on special teams on Saturday.

“He’s got a bright future,” Cignetti said.

Walker also recovered an onside-kick attempt by Delaware in the first quarter after the Blue Hens took a 3-0 lead.

“That was a surprise and they had shown a surprise on tape,” Cignetti said, “but it was a different kind of surprise. Really nice job by him.”

Walker is currently the backup to standout starting linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey.

- Dukes punter Harry O’Kelly put together a solid performance, averaging 39.3 yards per punt over six punts. O’Kelly pinned Delaware inside its own 20 four times and once pinned Delaware at its own 2.

- The win for the Dukes gave them their fifth straight over Delaware in the series.

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JMU offers big opportunity for sliding Blue Hens

October 19, 2021
By Andy Walter - DELAWARE STATE NEWS

NEWARK — You can look at Delaware’s current football predicament in one of two ways.

Either the Blue Hens’ current problems are about to get a whole lot worse or they can get their season quickly turned around with one really good afternoon.

Not surprisingly, Delaware’s players prefer to see seventh-ranked James Madison’s impending visit to Delaware Stadium as a big opportunity.

The No. 23 Hens (2-2 CAA, 3-3 overall) host the Dukes (3-1 CAA, 5-1 overall) for Homecoming on Saturday at 3 p.m. It’s the first time the two programs have met since the 2018 NCAA FCS playoffs.

“You look at it and say, oh, we have a hard team coming in,” said senior running back Dejoun Lee. “Or you can look at it and say it’s perfect. We have an opportunity to redeem ourselves and show everybody that we’re still the same team, we can still play at a high level.

“That’s the way I look at it. Having JMU after two losses gives us the chance to get right back on track. That’s what we plan to do.”

Delaware has to hope that last Saturday’s 34-17 loss at 1-5 Stony Brook was it hitting rock bottom. The Hens’ second CAA loss in a row certainly felt that bad in some ways.

On the other hand, Delaware did play some solid football for stretches of Saturday’s game. But the mistakes the Hens made — giving up a 99-yard run to start the game before the offense and special teams both gave away touchdowns at the end — were brutal.

It’s not like JMU is going to have any sympathy for Delaware, though.

The Dukes have had their own problems. They only beat New Hampshire, 24-22, before losing to Villanova, 28-27, two weeks ago.

And remember, JMU is probably still annoyed that the Hens were awarded the CAA’s automatic playoff bid in the spring after both teams went unbeaten in league games.

Of course, coach Danny Rocco isn’t giving up on the season, either. In situations like this, he said it’s important not to get so focused on the problems that you lose sight of possible solutions.

“Our motivation right now is that we’ve got plenty of good players — plenty of talented players ... that we should be able to find a way to win a game at home against a really good team,” said Rocco. “We’re going to have to play our best game of the season.”

“We all know what we have to do move forward,” said safety Kedrick Whitehead. “It’s just up to us to do those things. We’ve just got to lock in and move this thing forward one game at a time.”

Asked what would get Delaware’s season jump started, Whitehead’s answer was simple.

“There’s only one thing that’s going to get it turned around — and that’s a win,” he said.

Hens still hurting

Quarterback injuries continue to be an issue for Delaware.

After losing starter Nolan Henderson probably for the season, two of the Blue Hens’ top three QBs were hurt on Saturday.

Current starter Zach Gwynn had to leave the contest late in the game after taking a hard hit to the ribs. Cade Pribula, who replaced Gywnn, then briefly dislocated his non-throwing shoulder.

Rocco said he was optimistic that both quarterbacks will be available on Saturday. But he said Gwynn was listed as not available for workouts on Monday.

“He’ll be very much day to day,” said Rocco. “Hopefully tomorrow he’ll be a little closer to being in a limited capacity. I’ll know more as the week progresses.”

Rocco said Pribula’s shoulder issue was an old injury that was quickly popped back in. He also said that Delaware’s third top QB, Anthony Paoletti, would continue to get more work in practice.

After throwing three interceptions in his first collegiate start two weeks ago. Gwynn didn’t have any against Stony Brook — although he did fumble on a sack late in the game to set up a touchdown by the Seawolves.

Gwynn also threw a pair of scoring passes. For the season, he is 33-for-64 for 397 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Hens’ biggest issue offensively was not being able to put together a drive in the fourth quarter when it trailed by only three points and Delaware’s defense forced Stony Brook to punt on three straight possessions.

“You’ve got to play 60 minutes, said Rocco. “You’ve got to make plays for four quarters. I think Zach is progressing really well and did some really good things in the game.

“But he’s going to have to make plays in the fourth quarter, on those last drives, to give us an opportunity.”

Rocco pointed out that Delaware continues to shuffle the offensive line in front of Gwynn. He said the Hens are missing linemen on both sides of the ball because of both injuries and COVID protocols.

Lee putting up yards

While Delaware has lost three of its last four games, Lee continues to put up good rushing yards, week-in and week-out.

The 5-foot-7, 185-pounder had a streak of at least 112 yards in three straight contests before running for ‘only’ 91 against Stony Brook.

But Rocco said that Lee’s rushing stats are only a small part of what the co-captain and his positive attitude give the Hens.

“He’s really been an impressive human being since he got here,” said Rocco. “He’s kind of one of those guys where you say it’s a too-good-to-be-true kind of thing. He’s the same guy every day. He’s got all the energy every day.

“Sometimes, when you’ve been doing it as long as I’ve been doing it, you wonder if it’s real. ... Is this genuine? Then, the more you’re around him, the more genuine it is. It’s just who he is. And then he backs it up, not just with production but with effort and performance and commitment.”

Lee is now second in the CAA in rushing at 93.6 yards per game.

Extra points

Marcus Yarns, the former Parkside, Maryland standout, saw his first action at running back for the Hens last Saturday. He ran for 12 yards on four carries. ... Henderson posted that his hernia surgery on Tuesday in Philadelphia was successful. “Road back starts now!,” he wrote. ... Receiver Thyrick Pitts has six of the Hens’ seven touchdown receptions this season. ... Starting center Mickey Henry (back) has played in only two games this fall.