Hens explode in first half, pound host Richmond 43-28

UD linebacker Colby Reeder (4) is congratulated by his teammates after his strip and 35-yard return for a TD on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

RICHMOND, Va. — Delaware’s football team had a long time to thing about its lopsided loss at North Dakota State two weeks ago.
When the Blue Hens finally took the field on Saturday, they were determined to redeem themselves.

And Delaware got off to a flying start, scoring 33 first-half points before finally putting away a 43-28 victory over Richmond in a Colonial Athletic Association game at Robins Stadium.

Along with picking up their first CAA win of the year, the Hens (1-1 CAA, 3-2 overall) also gave coach Danny Rocco — the Spiders’ former coach — the 100th victory of his career. Rocco, though, said he was far more interested in getting his present team back on track than in any career milestone.

“I’m just happy to get our third win,” said Rocco, who was coaching his first game back at Richmond. “It’s been a long, long two weeks. That trip up to North Dakota was a tough trip.

Blue Hen receiver Jamie Jarmon, an Indian River High grad, goes up for a catch against Richmond. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“I think it really challenged all of us to kind of take a step back and re-commit ourselves to the season. We came out swinging.”
Delaware, which led by as much as 43-10 in the third quarter, gained control with a 16-point burst in the first six minutes.

The Hens got their first two points when the Spiders fielded a punt at their own goal line. The momentum took the return man into the end zone where linebacker Ray Jones and others tackled him for a safety.

On the ensuing possession, Delaware drove 59 yards on just four plays, with quarterback Pat Kehoe finding tight end Charles Scarff with an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Then, when Richmond (0-3 CAA, 2-4 overall) got the ball back, the Spiders completed a short pass in the flat, But Blue Hen linebacker Colby Reeder stripped the ball from the receiver and raced 35 yards for a TD that put Delaware up 16-0.

It was the first of a season-high six turnovers that the Hens forced in the contest.

Linebacker Ray Jones tries to fight off a tackle in the Hens’ win on Saturday. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

“It changes the momentum of the game,” said senior safety Nasir Adderley, who had a pair of interceptions. “It just shows what we’re capable of. There’s always room for improvement — we feel like we can play a lot better defensively. But the turnovers definitely helped us.”

“I will say that our guys went after the ball today,” said Rocco. “Some of those interceptions were really big-time plays.”

Kehoe completed 11-of-20 passes for 291 yards with two touchdowns while receiver Joe Walker covered 113 yards on just two receptions. Walker, the former QB, also completed a 46-yard pass.

Delaware ran for only 90 yards but threw for 331. That included a 58-yard touchdown pass from Kehoe to senior Vinny Papale to give the Hens their 33-10 advantage just before halftime.

“I really think what it was, the structure of their defense was very much designed to shut the run down,” said Rocco. “The mindset was, if Delaware was going to come down here and win, they were going to have to throw the ball. They challenged us to throw the ball and we did throw it.”

Senior Kani Kane (Sussex Tech) had a couple short touchdown runs, finishing with 35 yards on 12 carries. Kane’s one-yard scoring leap gave the Hens their 43-10 cushion with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

With Rocco starting to empty his bench, Richmond starting hitting a number of big pass plays that accounted for the final score and skewed the final stats. The Spiders outgained Delaware 608 yards to 421 as backup QB Joe Mancuso completed 27-of-37 passes for 489 yards with three touchdowns but five interceptions.

Mancuso also ran for a game-high 71 yards on 15 carries.

“I told my team, I could have managed the end of the game better,” said Rocco. “But I really felt I had to get some guys battle-tested. Fortunately they had my back out there today. They fought, they finished.”

Extra points

Dejoun Lee had a team-high 64 yards on 17 carries. … Troy Reeder had a game-high 12 tackles while Jones, Charles Bell and Nijuel Hill had Delaware’s other interceptions. … Cornerback Tenny Adewusi (fighting) and backup linebacker Johnny Buchanan (targeting) were both ejected from the game in the second half, meaning they will also have to sit out the first half of the Hens’ next game. … Delaware hosts Elon on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The No. 9 Phoenix (4-1) stunned No. 2 James Madison, 27-24, on Saturday.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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