Blue Hens stun richmond in double overtime
The Delaware Blue Hens earned a signature victory in front of a Homecoming weekend crowd on Saturday evening in a double-overtime thriller, toppling 11th ranked University of Richmond 42-35.
The win was especially meaningful for Delaware Head Coach Danny Rocco, who spent five seasons as the head coach of the Spiders.
“The players on the Richmond sideline meant an awful lot to me,” Rocco said. “They did an awful lot for me.”
The Blue Hens rallied behind their coach, showing up in all three phases to take down their CAA foes.
Junior wide receiver Jamie Jarmon had a career day for Delaware. He rushed the ball four times for 103 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards, finishing the game with three total touchdowns.
“Our defense always plays great, so it was good tonight to finally pull some weight and not put all the pressure on the defense,” Jarmon said.
The Blue Hens recorded their best offensive game of the season, setting a season high in points (42) and rushing yards (288).
Junior running back Kani Kane paced the ground game with 26 carries for 109 yards. His touchdown in the second overtime proved to be the game winner for the Blue Hens.
Despite throwing two third-quarter interceptions, junior quarterback J.P. Caruso had perhaps his best game as a Blue Hen. He set season highs with three touchdowns and 130 passing yards. His final touchdown pass came at a critical juncture in the first overtime when the Blue Hens needed the score to keep the game alive.
The Blue Hens’ defense held Richmond’s usually productive offense in check during key stretches of the game. The Spiders were led by senior standout quarterback Kyle Lauletta, who came into the game with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season.
Junior defensive back Nasir Adderley snagged two interceptions on consecutive drives in the second quarter, keeping the Spider offense on its heels early in the contest.
“I need to take care of the ball,” Lauletta said. “You can’t turn the football over twice, especially in one half of football.”
In the second overtime, the defense made a game-deciding play when senior nose tackle Bilal Nichols dropped Lauletta for a 19-yard sack on 3rd and goal, leaving the Spiders in a fit of desperation.
When Lauletta’s pass attempt on fourth down hit the ground, Delaware stormed the field, celebrating a marquee win for the program. It was the first overtime win for the Blue Hens since the 2014 season, and the school’s first victory over Richmond since 2011.
“We’ve worked so hard over that past year and it was everything that we pictured – the celebration in the locker room, the celebration on the field after the game was over,” Nichols said.
The game was back and forth for its entire duration. After the teams traded early touchdowns, Jarmon took off for a 74-yard touchdown run to give the Blue Hens a 14-7 lead after the first quarter.
After a Spiders touchdown, the Blue Hens retook the lead with 1:19 left before halftime on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Caruso to Jarmon.
Richmond dominated in the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Hens 14-0 as the Spider defense held the Blue Hen attack to just 88 yards in the frame.
In the fourth quarter, Delaware’s offense rebounded and tied the game on a thrilling Jarmon run, which was later featured on SportsCenter’s Top Ten plays. On 3rd and goal from the 5-yard line, Jarmon took a jet sweep and flipped into the end zone over Spider defenders. The acrobatic score evened the game at 28 apiece.
When Richmond fumbled on a punt attempt late in the fourth quarter, Delaware had a chance to win the game in regulation. However, a 37-yard field goal attempt by junior kicker Frank Raggo was blocked, sending the contest into overtime.
After Richmond scored on the first possession of overtime, Delaware needed a touchdown in order to keep their hopes alive. Facing 3rd and goal, Caruso found junior tight end Charles Scarff for a 3-yard score to extend the game.
From there, Kane’s 1-yard touchdown run and a goal line stand sealed the monumental win for the Blue Hens.
“It was an extraordinary football game played between two really good football teams,” Rocco said. “We were just a little bit more fortunate tonight.”
With the victory, the Blue Hens entered the STATS FCS Top 25 in the 23rd spot as the team looks to make the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. The program has exceeded preseason expectations as they look to reestablish Delaware as an FCS powerhouse. Their playoff push begins on Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens travel to face Towson University.