Delaware returns to the FCS Top 25 after big win against Elon
Managing Sports Editor
The Blue Hens 28-16 win over the then No. 5 Elon Phoenix returned Delaware to the FCS STATS Top 25, coming in at 24. The Blue Hens were ranked 15th during preseason, but their loss against Rhode Island bumped them off the rankings; now they’re back.
The Hens are one of the seven ranked CAA teams behind James Madison (4), Elon (11), Towson (13), Maine (16), Stony Brook (18) and Rhode Island (22) — the most ever ranked teams for the conference once again.
The Blue Hens will look to continue their CAA success against New Hampshire on Saturday, Oct. 20, where they hope to take home their first win at the Wildcat Stadium since 2003.
A major theme of discussion at Monday’s press conference for the rest of the season was consistency. In order to continue to win, Delaware has to go out every practice and every game and build off previous days.
Head Coach Danny Rocco gave a glimpse into last weeks’ practices, saying one practice they’d be on and the next they’d be off, similar to the Blue Hens’ slow start against Elon on Saturday and then their strong finish in the second half.
“As we’re looking to transform and continue on this journey, those next steps are this element of full buy in and consistency and just kind of owning it on a daily basis,” Rocco said. “And I do see it swinging in that direction which is something that we’re very hopeful and optimistic about.”
The Hens will need to be consistent to defeat the Wildcats. Although UNH is not having its best season — 1-5 overall compared to their 9-5 winning record last season along with a playoff appearance — the Wildcats have had a long run of success and are known to be a threat. New Hampshire has reached the FCS playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons.
“They’ve been a nightmare for a lot of people for a long time.” Rocco said. “They do a really good job at misdirection and kind of disguising who has the ball and when you’re on defense and not really sure who has the ball, that’s very problematic so they’ve done a good job at that in the past.”
Although Delaware’s focus is strictly on UNH, Delaware has four more conference games following the Wildcats, two of which are against ranked teams, Stony Brook and Towson. To guarantee a spot in the playoffs, they can most likely only afford one more loss, with five CAA games left, including UNH.
“These next five weeks we have to treat each one like they’re the most important on the schedule,” quarterback Pat Kehoe said. “Because each one is, because it’s the next one and that’s the system mentality we gotta approach it with.”