Second half comeback not enough as Blue Hens lose homecoming battle with Richmond
Managing Sports Editor
Delaware found itself down 28-10 at halftime but rallied back, cutting the deficit to three on a Bryce De Maille touchdown pass from redshirt senior quarterback Pat Kehoe, but a 63-yard touchdown pass by Richmond to Keyston Fuller would put the game away 35-25.
On top of that 63-yard play, Delaware gave up four plays of 60 yards or more, three resulting in a touchdown, one of which came on the first play of the game, also by Fuller. Two of them came from long 100- and 88-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns by Richmond’s Aaron Dykes. The Blue Hens gave up 418 yards total on the day, including 280 passing yards.
“The two kickoff returns for touchdowns would have been the most significance in the football game,” Head Coach Danny Rocco said.
Delaware got off to a slow start, trailing 14-0 before scoring on a DeJoun Lee run. Richmond would score again on the first kick return touchdown to go up 21-7 entering the second. Delaware would add a field goal but Richmond would answer with the second kickoff return touchdown, and Delaware would punt the next two possessions to go into halftime down 28-10.
Delaware has been a second half team for much of the season, and Saturday against Richmond stayed true to that statement. Lee would put Delaware in great field position to start the third quarter on a 39-yard kick return. Kehoe then completed a 27-yard pass to redshirt senior Owen Tyler. Redshirt freshman running back Will Knight ran through the Richmond defense for a 29-yard touchdown to cap off a two play, 56-yard drive in just 49 seconds of play. Delaware added a two point conversion to make it 28-18.
The Blue Hen’s defense forced a punt on the next Richmond possession and Delaware would score a touchdown on their ensuing drive to make it a three-point game at 28-25.
Richmond would score once more on the 63-yard touchdown pass to Fuller. Delaware would get a fourth down stop in their own end zone early in the fourth quarter, but would end up punting and would not get the ball back as the Spiders ran the clock all the way down.
Kehoe threw for 164 yards and a touchdown. Rocco said in a postgame press conference that he decided to stick with Kehoe the whole game because he got more reps during practice. Knight led the attack on the ground with 101 yards and a touchdown while also adding 45 receiving yards.
Delaware getting off to slow starts is nothing new this season, and is a bit baffling that the team doesn’t seem to be ready to play at the start of games.
“Really disappointed in the outcome, obviously,” Rocco said. “The thing that disappointed me the most, I thought their team played harder than our team did today in particular in the first half.”
Delaware will look to get back on track when it hits the road next Saturday to face Towson in a 2 p.m. matchup.