COURTESY OF BLUEHENS.COM
NEWARK, Del. -- The First State Cup will remain in the hands of the University of Delaware football team for yet another year.
The Blue Hens broke out to a 28-point halftime lead and rolled to a 42-21 victory over Delaware State in the annual battle of the state’s only Division I teams Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.
Quarterback Trent Hurley, who earned the Nate Beasley Game Most Valuable Player Award, completed 24 of 31 passes for a career-high 328 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Blue Hens (2-0) to their second straight big victory. Delaware opened a new era under head coach Dave Brock with a 51-35 victory over Jacksonville (Fla.) last week and have now scored 40 or more points in consecutive games for the first time since 2010.
The Hens, 2-0 for the third time in the last four years, have now downed the Hornets (0-1) in all five meetings and have averaged over 25 points per victory.
“It’s hard to win so I’m very pleased that our players had the opportunity to win and we played well enough to win,” said Brock. “It was another tale of halves. We didn’t play the way we wanted to in the second half, but part of it was that we felt we had the game in hand and we didn’t take a lot of chances. I thought Trent did a terrific job and managed the game well. He made the throws he needed to make and we have guys on the outside who can make plays.”
Hurley had plenty of help on the way to his big day. Senior wide receiver Rob Jones, who ended his season with an injury in last year’s victory over Delaware State just two games into the campaign, scored three times Saturday as he caught three passes for 43 yards, including scoring strikes of five and 33 yards, and returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown. The return was the first score off a punt return by a Delaware player since Sidney Haugabrook vs. Navy in 2004.
Blue Hen wide receiver Michael Johnson had his second straight 100-yard receiving effort as he caught four passes for 100 yards and started the day’s action with a 55-yard scoring bomb from Hurley just six minutes into the contest. The Hens also got a nine-yard scoring run from Julian Laing and an 18-yard scoring strike from Hurley to tight end Nick Boyle in the second half.
Despite the loss, Delaware State had 25 first downs to Delaware’s 21, gained just 16 fewer total yards (456-440), and had a nearly 13-minute advantage in time of possession. Hornets quarterback Cory Murphy, who hit on 30 of 45 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns, threw scoring strikes of four and seven yards to Malik Golson. Wide receiver Milton Williams finished the day with a game-high 10 catches for 112 yards.
DSU got its other touchdown with just 2:11 left when backup quarterback
Esayah Obado, who had thrown an interception to Delaware’s Travis Hawkins moments earlier, recovered Hawkins’ fumble and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.
Delaware scored on five straight possessions in the first half on the way to a 35-7 lead. The 35 points were the most scored by Delaware in a half since also putting up 35 against Delaware State in the first half of their 2011 matchup that the Hens eventually won 45-0.
The Blue Hens continue non-league action next week when they travel to the U.S. Naval Academy for a 3:30 p.m. start. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network Television.
• Delaware junior DE Laith Wallschleger blocked a field goal attempt by Mitchell Ward in the fourth quarter for his school-record fifth career blocked kick. Wallschleger, who blocked three kicks last year, had shared the record with Tom Parks (2002-05)
• Dave Brock is just the fifth head coach in UD history to win his first two games, joining Nathan Mannakee (1903), Frank Forstburg (1925), Neil Stahley (1934), and Tubby Raymond (1966). Only Mannakee and Raymond won their first three games.
• The game was played before a crowd of 19,316
• Delaware Governor presented the First State Cup to Brock and team captains Andrew Pierce and Zach Kerr after the game