Blue Hens eke out win in Albany in football
No. 13 Delaware needed 60 minutes to finish off the Great Danes in New York Saturday afternoon and earn their fifth straight victory, 21-16.
Delaware’s top defense buoyed the team as the offense struggled to find a rhythm. Charles Bell intercepted freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler, who was making his first collegiate start, during Albany’s first drive of the second quarter. The offense proceeded to turn the ball over on downs after Albany made a four down goal line stand.
After Albany took over possession, Ray “Buck” Jones opportunistically tackled Albany’s Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks three yards deep in the endzone, putting the game’s first two points on the board.
The safety sparked momentum for Joe Walker and company. The 6’3” receiver went over the top for a 42-yard grab with 12:53 left in the second quarter to gift the Blue Hens first and goal.
It took four downs once again, but Kani Kane burst off the line’s left side to score his tenth touchdown of the year. Delaware and Albany each tacked on field goals before the end of the half, to enter their locker rooms at 12-3.
The Great Danes burst out of the gates after halftime with a six-play, 75-yard drive. Jerah Reaves reeled in a 38-yard pass on second and sixteen to place Albany in scoring position, and Ibitokun-Hanks capped off the drive with a seven yard scamper.
Delaware’s next drive stalled, but the Blue Hens immediately regained possession after Albany return man Donovan McDonald muffed the punt and Charles Bell recovered the ball. The Blue Hens then settled for a field goal, Raggo’s second of the game.
Delaware turned in a lackluster offensive performance — its rushing offense averaged 2.9 yards per attempt while quarterback Pat Kehoe finished 16-35 passing for 174 yards.
Albany running back Karl Mofor capped off a 13-play, 75-yard drive as the Great Danes drove through Delaware territory early in the fourth. Albany went for two and failed to convert, but still led 16-15. Prior to the final two minutes, Albany outscored Delaware 13-9 during the final half of play.
The Blue Hens began their hurry-up offense with 2:35 left in the fourth. Kehoe looked to Walker on three straight passes to gain large chunks of 10-, 9- and 12-yard receptions through the air. Their hookups placed Delaware in the red zone, while Kani Kane followed his offensive line to the end zone from 14 yards out for the game winner with 18 seconds remaining.
Troy Reeder sealed the game with an interception to accompany his game-high eight tackles.
Two conference foes, Stony Brook and Villanova, stand between now and Selection Sunday. Delaware holds sole possession of the CAA crown with the playoffs in reach. If they run the table, Delaware (7-2, 5-1) is guaranteed a share of the conference title. It’d be their first conference championship since 2010.
Currently Delaware is tied with Maine (6-3, 5-1) at the top of the CAA. The Blue Hens are followed by Elon (6-2, 4-1), Stony Brook (6-3, 4-2), Towson (6-3, 4-2) and James Madison (6-3, 4-2).
Elon will have one less CAA game because their early season matchup against William and Mary was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
Delaware will travel to Stony Brook Saturday, Nov. 10 with kickoff at 1 p.m.