Former Indian River star Jarmon grabs first college TD pass as Blue Hens rip Cornell 41-14

Delaware receiver Jamie Jarmon, an Indian River High grad, runs for 24 yards during the Blue Hens’ 41-14 win over Cornell on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Jamie Jarmon and the end zone are hardly strangers.

The former Indian River High star quarterback ran for 29 touchdowns as a senior after all.

But that was six years ago.

So Jarmon, now a junior receiver at Delaware, was pretty excited to finally catch his first collegiate TD pass as the Blue Hens rolled to a 41-14 victory over Cornell on a hot Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.

Another former Henlopen Conference standout, Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane, also scored his first Delaware TD and then added two more short-yardage scores as the Hens (2-1) led 27-0 by halftime in their first football meeting with the Big Red.

Jarmon finished with a career-high eight catches for 84 yards while adding a 24-yard run. But his favorite catch was a 12-yarder from Joe Walker that he snared in the back of the end zone in the third quarter for his first collegiate touchdown.

Jarmon was mobbed by his teammates after the TD stretched the Hens’ lead to 34-0.

“It’s a relief — probably because it’s been three years,” the former minor-league baseball player said with a smile. “I’ve struggled in those areas. I’ve had opportunities before and I’ve not been able to come through.

“It’s just kind of a load off of my back to be able to make those plays now. It felt good.”

Delaware’s defense actually played a big role in a lot of the Hens’ early scoring. Delaware forced five first-half turnovers, including four interceptions.

When Cornell (0-1) fumbled on the game’s first play from scrimmage, big defensive tackle Bilal Nichols finally scooped up the loose ball and returned it 11 yards to the Big Red four.

Sussex Tech High grad Kani Kane scored on three short TD runs for the Blue Hens. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Two plays later, Kane (five carries-11 yards) scored on a three-yard run and the Hens were up 7-0 just 53 seconds into the contest.

Delaware’s first three scoring drives covered 21 yards or less as its defense kept giving it good field position.

All told, Kane’s three touchdowns came on a pair of three-yard runs plus one one-yarder. At 6-foot, 240-pounds, he’s becoming the Hens’ short yardage specialist.

“He’s just a big, big back,” said coach Danny Rocco. “And he’s got really good feet for a big back. … He just fits us right now.”

Delaware’s defenders were happy to lend a hand to the offense.

Nichols added an interception when the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder pulled in a pass gunned right at him at the line of scrimmage.

Thomas Jefferson, who finished with 48 yards on 11 carries, looks for running room on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

“We really preached this week that we needed more takeaways,” he said. “We really need to go after the ball a lot more.

“It was good to see that we came out fast — and we really got a chance to do that today. That was our emphasis all week.”

With junior Kareem Williams running for 121 yards on 15 carries, the Hens finished with a nice offensive balance — 225 yards rushing and 202 yards passing. It’s the first time they’ve finished with over 200 yards on both the ground and through the air since 2013.

Walker threw for a career-high 202 yards while completing 20-of-30 passes for two touchdowns and an interception.

What Rocco liked to see was the Hens finish off a pair of long second-half drives with TDs.

Jarmon’s scoring catch finished off an eight-play, 81-yard drive while Walker hit tight end Charles Scarff with a six-yard TD pass to cap off a 12-play, 81-yard march.

While there was a lot to like about Delaware’s performance on Saturday, Rocco also said that — considering all the turnovers — maybe the Hens should have done more.

“After the game, in the locker room, I did share with my team that my expectations are higher than that,” said Rocco. “It was one of those games where, if we really would have played a clean game and a complete game, we really could have dominated that scoreboard. So there’s a lot to learn from out there today.”

Freshman running back Khory Spruill had seven carries for 39 yards in the fourth quarter. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

The next time the Hens take the field, though, they’ll be playing for real. After an open date, they host defending FCS national champion and current No. 1-ranked James Madison in their Colonial Athletic Association opener on Sept. 30.

Rocco has always talked about the season-opening, three-game portion of Delaware’s schedule as something of an evaluation period.

What changes the first-year Blue Hen coach makes, if any, remain to be seen.

“Defensively, I think we’ll just continue to build and tweak on the things that we’ve done here the first three weeks,” said Rocco.

Offensively, though, Rocco clearly wants to see the Hens play at a faster tempo.

“We have got to get in and out of the huddle and on the ball,” he said. “We have to shorten our verbage — streamline everything we’re doing. We had a few series in the third quarter where we were playing with that kind of tempo.

“I’m not talking about no-huddle or (playing at) break-neck speed. I’m just talking about the ability to get out, up on the ball, have the confidence to get over the center, have the confidence to execute our base offense. … There’s some things that I just feel we need to do a better job of.

“I’m just trying to create more of a sense of urgency in everything we do,” Rocco added.

Extra points

Receiver Vinny Papale, who was briefly hospitalized last Saturday after suffering a bruised lung at Virginia Tech, had a 14-yard catch against Cornell. … Senior linebacker Charles Bell had a game-high 12 tackles. … Delaware’s other interceptions came from Nassir Adderley, Colby Reeder and Malcolm Brown. Adderley had a 55-yard return while Reeder returned his 20 yards. … Williams’ 49-yard run was Delaware’s longest of the season. … The Hens punted only twice. … Delaware’s Frank Raggo hit a pair of short field goals. Jake Roth also missed a 49-yard attempt and Raggo had a 43-yarder blocked. … While seven different Hens had a reception, senior receiver Diante Cherry went without a catch for one of the few times in his career.

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