I have been a University of Delaware Football fan most of my life. I even played a little football for the Blue Hens many years ago. I have two college degrees from Delaware: Bachelors and a Masters. My mother and father always had season tickets on the 50-yard-line, and after they passed away I shared a box with a good friend right on the 50-yard-line as well. Governor John Carney, when he was a Congressman, had the box right next to us.
I have watched Delaware over the years go from a powerhouse in Division 1AA football, especially under former Coaches Tubby Raymond and KC Keeler to obtuse mediocrity. Delaware won a national Championship under Keeler, but after Keeler’s despicable firing, the team has been disappointing.
Frankly, Delaware’s success this year, so far, has been because of an easy schedule in 1AA football. Delaware, when they played Penn State, lost 56 to 7, and I thought Delaware Coach Ryan Carty did a horrible job. Although Penn State, no doubt, was a superior team, the Delaware coaching decisions throughout the game were horrible.
Now Delaware has lost to 4-win, 4-loss Elon University, and clearly put the Delaware #5 national ranking at risk and the leadership in the CAA conference. Frankly, I don’t think Delaware is for real this year and will lose to Villanova, putting playoff possibilities at risk.
Like so many disappointing things these days in the first state, the Blue Hens are as well. The Citizens of Delaware deserve a consistent winning football team. Football seems to bring people together in this divided country.
Regardless, please read the sports story below by Kevin Tresolini from the Delaware News Journal.
GO Blue Hens! How suspect is the team? We will see.
Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
JUDSON Bennett-Coastal Network
Delaware comeback falls short as Elon hands 5th-ranked Blue Hens first CAA loss
Kevin Tresolini, Delaware News Journal
Sat, Nov 4, 2023, 12:23 PM EDT·5 min read
Delaware was pushed off its first-place perch Saturday and suddenly finds itself among the CAA football masses.
The explosive offense and formidable defense that spurred a six-game win streak were absent at Delaware Stadium, where Elon continued its recent dominance of the Blue Hens in a 33-27 win watched by 16,722.
No. 5-ranked Delaware (7-2 overall, 5-1 Coastal Athletic Association) went from unbeaten league front-runner to one of five CAA teams with one loss each.
Elon (5-4, 5-1), which won its third straight against Delaware but first here, is joined by Richmond, Villanova and Albany in that one-loss bunch with the Blue Hens. Delaware now has a more difficult path to its first fall CAA title since 2010 and FCS playoff return with games at Campbell and home against Villanova remaining.
“We gotta put our head down and go to work and go win the next game,” Delaware coach Ryan Carty said. “It’s the same thing we preach whether we’re on top of the world or when we’re on the bottom of it. … Everything that we’d like to achieve is still very achievable.”
An interception by Elon’s Jaidyn Dennis at the UD 20 with 6:32 left thwarted one Delaware shot at a comeback.
Delaware quarterback Ryan O’Connor did scramble for a 4-yard TD with 3:27 left to cut the deficit to 33-27.
The Blue Hens then seemed poised to score again. But O’Connor fumbled the ball away without being touched on a first-down carry from the Elon 16 with 1:33 left.
Matt Downing, the Elon quarterback with previous stints at Georgia, TCU and Louisiana Tech, threw for three touchdowns against a Delaware unit that had been No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense. He was 17-for-35 for 352 yards.
“They really used the run to set up the pass,” Delaware defensive lineman Chase McGowan said. “They really could do anything out of multiple formations.”
Delaware abandoned its running game and had limited success covering distance with its passing game while being outgained 414-386 on the day. O’Connor, in his first start in three weeks, was 23-for-48 for 315 yards.
“Our rhythm was off a little bit,” Carty said. “I think it was one of those games that we were not hitting all of our shots and we were doing a poor job on third downs in the first half. We weren’t staying on the field and they were hitting some of their shots.”
Big pass plays were the theme at Delaware Stadium, where the Blue Hens were repeatedly victimized.
Delaware cut its deficit to 27-20 after Jojo Bermudez dashed 22 yards for a touchdown on a reverse with 7:32 left in the third quarter.
But Jack Berkowitz’s third and fourth field goals, from 37 and 44 yards yards away, extended Elon’s lead to 33-20 with 10:27 left.
Matthew Downing throws third TD pass
Elon increased its lead to 27-13 starting the second half on Matthew Downing’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Bonner. It was his third TD toss.
Tight end Johncarlos Miller got free down the middle and caught a 70-yard TD pass from Downing as Elon went ahead 17-13 with 4:36 left in the second quarter.
The Phoenix then added a 42-yard field goal by Berkowitz to take a 20-13 lead into halftime.
Elon outgained Delaware 279-218 in total yards through the first two quarters.
Ryan O’Connor makes key passes
O’Connor heaved his second long strike of the day, a 49-yarder to Joshua Youngblood on the first play of the second quarter. It led to Marcus Yarns’ 8-yard touchdown run up the middle as Delaware went up 13-10.
O’Connor had earlier lofted a 39-yard TD pass to Youngblood running down the visiting sideline as Delaware took a 7-3 lead over Elon in their Coastal Athletic Association clash.
O’Connor finished the first half 11-for-22 passing for 179 yards.
“Elon did very gob early at getting hats around [O’Connor] in the pocket,” Carty said, “and just kinda making him feel a little pressure so we weren’t getting to our third read when maybe we should have on some of those throwaways or sacks.”
Elon later responded with a big pass play of its own to take a 10-7 lead closing the first quarter. Downing tossed a 65-yard TD to Chandler Brayboy, who got a step on a couple of UD defenders running down the middle of the field.
Elon scores first
A potential big play for the Blue Hens instead went against them to start the game.
Bermudez had only one Elon defender to beat as he broke free returning the opening kickoff. But kicker Jake Marion stripped the football and Elon recovered the loose ball at the 50. Bermudez separated his shoulder on the play but returned.
Berkowitz’s 36-yard field goal then gave Elon an early 3-0 edge.
Ryan O’Connor starts at QB
With previous starters O’Connor and Zach Marker each practicing this week but nursing injuries, Carty wasn’t sure mid-week who’d start at quarterback. But O’Connor was throwing pregame passes, as were freshmen Nick Minicucci and Daniel Lipovski, while Marker was less involved.
O’Connor started Delaware’s first six games, with Marker getting cameo snaps the first two before hurting his shoulder and missing four games. With O’Connor injured, Marker stepped in to steer Delaware to lopsided wins the last two weeks at Hampton and Towson. But Marker was hurt late in the first half at Towson and Minicucci played the rest of the way.