September 26 bluehens.com:
RICHMOND, Va. — The University of Delaware left little doubt of how ready the No. 7 ranked Blue Hens are for the rigors of Colonial Athletic Association football action Saturday afternoon, breaking open a close game with a decisive second half and racing to a 34-13 victory over host and No. 5 Richmond at sparkling new Robins Stadium.
Blue Hen quarterback Pat Devlin, returning to action after missing a week with a fractured wrist, didn’t miss a beat as he threw for 240 yards despite wearing a cast on his non-throwing hand, and freshman sensation Andrew Pierce had another big game, grinding out 114 yards on the ground and scoring three touchdowns to lead the victory.
The Delaware defense allowed its first touchdowns of the season, but it hardly mattered as the Hens held Richmond to just 14 first downs and 234 total yards while forcing two turnovers.
The Hens (4-0, 1-0 CAA), off to their best start since the 2007 national runner-up season, downed the defending CAA champion Spiders (1-2, 0-1 CAA) for the first time since the 2006 season.
After Richmond tied the game at 13-13 midway through the third quarter, Delaware came right back and posted three scoring drives of 77 yards or more to put the game away.
The Hens, who had opened the season with relatively easy wins over the likes of NCAA Division II rival West Chester, a No. 9 ranked South Dakota State team playing its season opener, and Northeast Conference member Duquesne, were out to see just what kind of team they really are with their biggest test of the season. The Blue Hens proved that in a big way Saturday.
“We had the chance to go up 20-0 but didn’t and all of the sudden the game was tied,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler, whose squad has not trailed at any time this season. “But we didn’t lose our poise and we stayed focused. We played well in the second half and got the win. And anytime you can get a road win in the CAA, it’s a big deal.”
Devlin, an All-American nominee and a candidate for the Walter Payton National Player of the Year Award, shook off his first interception of the season on the Hens’ first drive and finished the day completing 14 of 21 passes for 240 yards. He hit eight different receivers on the day and had 12 completions go for 10 or more yards.
Pierce, a three-time CAA Rookie of the Week and two-time national Rookie of the Week this season who was coming off a 200-yard rushing effort vs. Duquesne last week, had to work for everything he could in carrying 26 times for 114 yards, breaking the 100-yard barrier for the fourth straight week.
His two-yard scoring run early in the second quarter gave the Hens a 13-0 lead and his touchdown runs of 13 and 8 yards in the second half helped increase the Delaware lead to 27-13 with 12:06 left to play.
His backup, sophomore David Hayes, finished with 82 yards on the day, capped the scoring with a 40-yard burst with 2:30 left. The two helped the Hens gain 236 of their impressive 476 total yards on the ground.
“I give Delaware a lot of credit today, they have a great quarterback and a great defense,” said Richmond rookie head coach Latrell Scott. “They imposed their will on us in the second half.”
The Blue Hen defense, which entered the game as the only NCAA school in the country that had not allowed a touchdown all season, continued to dominate, holding the Spiders to just 234 total yards.
Richmond broke the Hens’ streak when quarterback Aaron Corp, a first-year transfer from Southern Cal, hit tight end Kevin Finney on an 11-yard scoring strike in the back of the end zone with just 30 seconds left in the first half to cut the lead to 13-6 at the break. Delaware had not allowed a touchdown all season and had not allowed an opponent in the end zone since the third quarter of the Villanova game last season, a span of 14 quarters and 233 minutes of game action.
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