Balanced offensive attack leads Blue Hens past Delaware State to victory
Packed stands? Check. Overflowing student section? Check. Stadium renovations? Check. Route One Rivalry win? Check.
Delaware overcame a second quarter deficit to beat Delaware State 31-13 on Thursday night’s season opener at the Tub. Delaware improved to 9-0 all-time against the only other Division One program in the state. Jake Roth scored the first points of the game after knocking in a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter, but Delaware State would respond by knocking in two field goals to take a 6-3 lead at the with 7:41 left in the first half.
Pat Kehoe traversed around defenders to find the endzone for a 21-yard touchdown which paved the way for the Blue Hens to seal the game away. The Blue Hens added a field goal and two touchdowns, including one after blocking a punt. Delaware State scored the final points of the game on a 10 yard passing touchdown.
Kehoe completed 18-28 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns were the first of their careers for Owen Tyler and Thyrick Pitts. Pitts also had 81 yards, according to the box score, to lead nine different receivers who caught a pass.
“It was awesome,” Pitts said about scoring his first touchdown. “We had a hitch and I just looked at Pat and he gave me that look and we just converted, he threw it up and I made a play.”
The rushing game was also strong for the Blue and Gold. The team totaled 180 yards on the ground and received 68 yards from Old Dominion transfer Will Knight, including a 61-yarder. DeJoun Lee added 41 yards rushing.
For Delaware, Head Coach Danny Rocco felt being in a close game halftime was a big learning experience for his team.
“”It was really tight early, somewhat back and forth.” Rocco said. “In hindsight it probably wasn’t the worst thing for our team, to be in a competitive game in the locker room at halftime and have to come out of the locker room in the second half and perform, and we did and I was really pleased and happy with that.”
Delaware State’s Head Coach Rod Milstead was satisfied with the way his team competed, but was disappointed in his team’s immaturity.
“You see a mailman every single day and he puts the mail in the mailbox,” Rod said. “Once he puts the mail in the mailbox, he doesn’t start doing backflips, he goes to the next mailbox and puts mail in. So when we get a first down, we can’t be flexing and pointing to the first down, this is not the NFL.”
Delaware will travel to Kingston, Rhode Island to take on the Rams next Saturday, Sept. 7.