Local college notebook: Milford product Murray shines in bowl game

Brion Murray spent his first full season at Virginia Tech working his way up the football team’s depth chart.

And when the Hokies’ bowl game came around, Murray was ready for his opportunity.

Murray was awarded his first start of the season as Virginia Tech took on Kentucky in the Belk Bowl this Tuesday. Kentucky ended up winning 37-31.

Murray, a former Milford High standout, had a big day for the Hokies. He intercepted the first pass of his college career and recorded six tackles, a personal best.

It was Murray’s first season with Virginia Tech after signing with the Hokies in December 2018 and enrolling in the spring.

He previously spent two seasons with Coffeyville Community College in Kansas where he redshirted one season and earned All-KJCCC Honorable Mention selection in 2018.

Murray did not start playing football until his junior season at Milford. He was an All-State basketball player for the Buccaneers but decided to focus on football for the next level and had offers from Virginia Tech and Texas Tech after his second year at Coffeyville.

He had sophomore eligibility for his first year at Virginia Tech and was a key part of the Hokies’ special teams unit. He then was worked into the rotation at defensive back, seeing time late in games.

When Virginia Tech had a rash of injuries in the secondary, Murray’s number was called. Virginia Tech was without two starting defensive backs for the Belk Bowl, Caleb Farley and Jermaine Waller.

Murray finished the season with 11 total tackles, one interception and one pass breakup. He appeared in all 13 games for the Hokies.

“Continues to work and get better,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente was quoted on the school’s athletic website. “He hadn’t played a tremendous amount of football in general, and when he got here, you’ve seen him go about it the right way and continue to get better. There have been a couple of times in the middle of close games we’ve lost a guy or two, and he’s been thrown in there and stood up at a couple of different spots. I’ve been pleased with his development.”

Clean slate for DSU

Eric Skeeters took his hand and mimicked brushing the wall, comparing that to the Delaware State men’s basketball team beginning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play this weekend.

“Wipe the slate clean everyone is 0-0,” Skeeters said. “It’s a brand new season. We’re all playing for that first win. That’s the beauty of college basketball.”

The Hornets host a doubleheader today at Memorial Hall against Morgan State. The men’s game is first at 2 p.m. while the women’s game will follow.

The DSU men enter with a 1-13 overall record. They have yet to defeat a Division I opponent this year with their lone victory coming against St. Elizabeth.

The Hornets fell to NAIA Division II team Washington Adventist on Monday, 78-76, It was their first defeat to a non-Division I team since Cheyney in November 2008.

The DSU women are 4-9 on the season but have dropped their last four games, including an overtime defeat Monday to Rider where the Hornets let a 10-point second half lead slip away.

The nonconference portion of their schedule was highlighted by the Hornets’ first win over Delaware in 12 tries.

Since then though, they’ve been hampered by injuries. The Hornets are helpful to get Tierra Floyd, a transfer from Xavier, back for MEAC play.

“We still got her out,” coach Dave Caputo said. “We had her for Delaware and that was big, why we beat Delaware is because we had her size. Hopefully she’ll be back for Morgan State. I need my whole team healthy. We haven’t had it since Delaware and it’s been hurting us.”

Ciarrocca hired at PSU

Kirk Ciarrocca has made his share of coaching stops since he was the offensive coordinator on Delaware’s NCAA Division I-AA national championship football team in 2003.

But he seems particularly excited about his latest job.

Penn State recently named Ciarrocca its offensive coordinator. The Lewisberry, Pa. native was the OC at Minnesota for the past three seasons.

“Having grown up a Penn State fan, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as your offensive coordinator,” Ciarrocca said in a press release. “My family and I are overjoyed to be coming home to Happy Valley.”

Ciarrocca had two stints with the Blue Hens, from 2002-07 and in 2012. He helped Delaware get to a pair of national title games, in ‘03 and ‘07. He also developed two All-American quarterbacks in Andy Hall and Joe Flacco.

The hiring means Ciarrocca might also get to face the Hens when Delaware plays Penn State for the first time in 2023.

Notes

• Wesley College’s Brian Cameron is fifth in NCAA Division III men’s basketball scoring at 28.6 ppg. The senior guard is tied for second nationally with 113 made field goals and tied for ninth with 32 three-pointers.

Cameron and the Wolverines host Marymount on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

• With James Madison facing North Dakota State in the NCAA FCS Division I football national championship game on Jan. 11, the CAA will have had a team in the finals 11 times in the last 17 years. Three of those teams were Delaware.

This will be the latest the FCS title game has been played — almost a full month later than when the Hens faced Appalachian State for the ‘07 crown on Dec. 14.

• Dover High grad Jordan Allen netted 25 points for Lynn University in a loss to Cedarville on Dec. 21. He’s scored 16 points or more in seven of his first 10 games with the Knights.

• Delaware State product Rodney Gunter started 13 games for the Arizona Cardinals this year before he suffered an injury. Gunter recorded three sacks and 31 total tackles.