Hens excited to have something to play for

Defensive linemen Blaine Woodson (73) and Bilal Nichols sack Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta during Saturday’s game. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Blaine Woodson had already missed Kyle Lauletta once before.

That scramble turned into a touchdown run for the Richmond quarterback.

So when Lauletta started scrambling again, this time with the game on the line in overtime, Woodson wasn’t going to let him get away a second time.

“I got free and I saw Bilal (Nichols) coming to get him,” said Woodson, Delaware’s senior defensive lineman. “He (Lauletta) just had nowhere to go. He just ended up running back and fell and tried to throw the ball away.

“It was a great feeling because it was all three of us,” said Woodson, referring to himself and fellow linemen Nichols and John Nassib. “We were all credited for that. We were just so happy.”

The play went down as a 19-yard sack for the Blue Hens, leaving the Spiders with a fourth-and-goal from the 24. And when Lauletta’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete, Delaware had itself a memorable 42-35, double-overtime win over No. 11 Richmond on Saturday.

Now the Hens (3-1 CAA, 5-2 overall), who play a 4 p.m. game at Towson (0-4, 2-5) on Saturday, want to make that valuable victory pay off.

For starters, the win put Delaware in the STATS FCS Division I Top 25, where it was ranked No. 23 on Monday. It’s the first time the Hens have been ranked since Sept. 29, 2014.

Coach Danny Rocco knows Hens can’t overlook Towson. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Probably, more importantly, the victory over Richmond would seem to push Delaware a step closer to its first NCAA FCS Division I playoff berth since 2010.

With four regular-season games remaining, a record of either 9-2 or 8-3 would probably put the Hens in the playoff picture.

“The better you play, the more significant the games become,” said coach Danny Rocco. “We want these games to be significant. We want to get into November being in a position that we have control of our destiny and our future.

“And in order to have that type of feeling, we’re certainly going to have to go out and win on Saturday.”

With five wins, Delaware already has its most victories in a season since 2014. The Hens’ next three opponents — Towson, Maine and Albany – are a combined 3-10 in Colonial Athletic Association games right now.

A fifth-year senior, Woodson just knows it’s fun to still be playing for something important at this time of year.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “It’s been a while since we had this feeling here. … It’s a great feeling to know that we’re a contender and all our goals that we set at the beginning of the season, we can still attain.

“We have four games left and they’re all standalone games. And they’re all really important. … We’re real locked into each game individually, not just the four.”

Jarmon, Adderley honored

Delaware hasn’t had much luck earning CAA weekly awards lately.

Junior receiver Jamie Jarmon, who was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Week, sprints 74 yards for a TD on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

But, on Monday, the Hens had a pair of winners with receiver Jamie Jarmon taking Offensive and safety Nassir Adderley taking Defensive Player of the Week honors from the conference.

Jarmon, the Indian River High grad, scored three touchdowns and accumulated 144 all-purpose yards against Richmond. Adderley had two interceptions and five solo tackles in the win.

Jarmon did a lot of his damage on the ground, running for 103 yards and a pair of TDs on just four carries. That included a 74-yard scoring run on a sweep and sprint down the sidelines.

“I don’t know if he’s gotten any better — he’s very good,” Rocco said about Jarmon. “And he has been very talented for quite some time. We’re just figuring out how to use his skill set.

“We utilized it to a very high level here last weekend. We’ve got to continue to create opportunities for him to be able to showcase his ability.”

Jarmon’s other rushing TD came on a five-yard sweep in which he was hit at the three and somersaulted just over the goal line. The highlight-reel play made it on to ESPN’s Sports Center.

Pritchard getting his kicks

Up until about mid-summer, Nick Pritchard was planning on spending his entire college career at Maryland.

He was the starting punter for the Terrapins two years ago but then lost the job when a new coach came in.

“I wasn’t really looking (to transfer),” said Pritchard. “I was planning on finishing my four years at Maryland. But my punting coach called one day (in July) and said that Delaware needed a punter.”

The next thing he knew, Pritchard was in Newark, earning the starting punting job with the Hens. Pritchard has had an immediate impact for his team, putting 13 punts inside the opponents’ 20, averaging 41.6 yards and hitting seven kicks of 50 yards or more.

With the game tied in the final five minutes of regulation on Saturday, Richmond had a chance to win when it made a third-down stop at Delaware’s 42. But Pritchard pinned the Spiders back at their own four.

“It’s amazing how much momentum you can get from a punt,” said Rocco. “And we’ve had a handful of those here this fall.”

Pritchard said he just wants to do what he can after the last-minute change of schools.

“It was pretty difficult,” said Pritchard, who’s kicked before huge crowds at places like Ohio State and West Virginia. “But the guys have been great here, they’ve been really welcoming. It’s been an easy transition.

“I always had the confidence in myself that I was a pretty good punter. They (Maryland) brought in another guy, I accepted the decision and I just kept working as hard as possible to become the best punter I can.”

Up front

Rocco was pretty disappointed in the play of Delaware’s offensive line two weeks ago.

He said that group was a lot better against Richmond. But he also said he really needs the two senior starters — center Brody Kern and left tackle Jake Trump — to step up.

“To me, it’s really going to start and finish with Kern and Trump,” said Rocco.

Rocco said he thinks the two seniors just really embraced the fact that this will be the last few weeks of their playing careers if they don’t get the job done now.

“I think those two guys decided to do something about it and the other guys followed along,” said Rocco. “I’m not saying that they weren’t playing well. But we want them to do more than play well.

“We want them to lead, make a difference, have an impact and I did feel like we had more of that last week.”

Extra points

Former Dover High quarterback Triston Harris, who saw considerable playing time for Towson two weeks ago, didn’t play in the Tigers’ loss to New Hampshire on Saturday. He isn’t listed in either of the top two spots on the depth chart for the Delaware game. … With Delaware cracking the Top 25, the CAA has a record-tying seven teams ranked in this week’s poll. … Starting right tackle Jethro Pepe didn’t play against Richmond and is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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