Blue Hens rush to victory against Wildcats 16-10
Delaware Stadium was packed for Saturday’s football game, with scores of fans excited
to watch the Blue Hens squeak out a 16-10 victory over the New Hampshire Wildcats.
The Blue Hens won the coin toss and elected to kick off to the Wildcats. They utilized short passes and runs to get the ball at the 26-yard mark on Delaware’s side. New Hampshire tossed an interception to freshman linebacker Matt Palmer, but the Blue Hens could not capitalize on the advantage during their drive. Neither team was able to score by the end of the first quarter.
Freshman kicker Jake Roth nailed a field goal to place the Blue Hens up by three at the beginning of the second quarter. Nearly halfway into the quarter, the Wildcats intercepted a pass from redshirt senior quarterback Pat Kehoe and later tied the game up with their own field goal.
Around the four-minute mark, New Hampshire’s sophomore running back Carlos Washington Jr. rushed the ball into the end zone from second and goal. Followed up by an extra point, the Wildcats went ahead 10-3.
The crowd was feeling demoralized but its spirits were quickly elevated when the Blue Hens made a series of quick running plays. Redshirt freshman running back Will Knight rushed for 39 yards to New Hampshire’s 17-yard line. After he rushed again for eight more yards, the Blue Hens utilized a running play once more. Redshirt junior running back DeJoun Lee rushed for nine yards and scored the touchdown. Roth’s kick was good and tied the game 10-10. Running was the primary strategy for the Blue Hens.
“We said at the beginning of the week we would get big and run the ball,” Delaware Head Coach Danny Rocco said.
At the third quarter the Blue Hens continued their rushing strategy to garner success. With 11:06 on the clock, Delaware’s drive consisted of eight rushes and only three passes. The Blue Hens were able to rush five times consecutively which led them to the red zone but not a touchdown. The Blue Hens chose to put themselves in the lead by three with a field goal.
The fourth quarter began with the Blue Hens stagnating at the 40-yard mark on New Hampshire’s side. To make up for the immobility, they attempted a close but unsuccessful 52-yard field goal. The ball went wide right and slammed into the upright, just missing the three points.
At Delaware’s 12-yard mark, the Wildcats tossed an interception to redshirt freshman defensive back Amonte’ Strothers. This gave the team good momentum as they continued with their rushing plays.
“Defensively we just rose to the occasion,” Rocco said.
The rhythm was halted when a high-tossed incomplete snap was immediately recovered by the quarterback, who could not find any open receivers. The Blue Hens punted the ball back to New Hampshire at the 40-yard line.
The first play of the Wildcat’s drive was their last when the Blue Hens sacked freshman quarterback Max Brosmer and caused him to fumble the ball. The Blue Hens recovered the ball and ran it to the 15-yard line. After three running plays garnering little yardage, the Blue Hens called for a time out. The kick off was good and the Blue Hens were up 16-10.
“Special teams was solid. Very solid. I don’t have any second thoughts about going for the field goal when we did,” Rocco said.
With 2:39 left on the clock, New Hampshire had plenty of time to take the lead with a touchdown and extra point. At the Delaware 22-yard line, and with less than a minute left, New Hampshire was first and 10.
The crowd was electrified as the game could have been over with a single good pass. Brosmer’s first pass to freshman wide receiver Griffin Helm was incomplete. The second pass thrown was also incomplete. The third pass was long and aimed at far-right corner of the end zone. It looked as though the Wildcats would catch it, but the pass sailed incomplete. The clock reached zero and the Blue Hens sealed their victory.
During the post-game interview, Head Coach Danny Rocco felt that while the team performed well, there was room for improvement. He said there were more opportunities to put points on the scoreboard.
“This team needs to play better,” Rocco said. “This team is capable of playing better. I think we can build on what we did today as a staple of being a tough physical football team and then build on that.”
The Blue Hens now turn their attention to the Richmond Spiders, who they face at Delaware Stadium on Saturday.