NEWARK, Del. -- The Dave Brock Era at the University of Delaware got off to a roaring start Thursday night at Delaware Stadium as the Blue Hens scored 24 unanswered points to overcome an early two-touchdown deficit and cruised to a 51-35 victory over Jacksonville in the college football opener for both teams.
Brock, just the fifth head coach at Delaware since the 1940’s, saw his team start out rocky but finish strong as the Blue Hens (1-0) won their home opener for the ninth straight season and for the 22nd time in the last 24 years.
Delaware’s aggressive attack piled up a whopping 611 yards of total offense - the highest for a UD team since gaining 620 in a 30-17 NCAA playoff win over Portland State in 2000 - while the defense held the Dolphins (0-1) to just 224 total yards and negative 37 yards rushing, the third lowest total allowed in UD history. Jacksonville, which jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scored three of its touchdowns either directly off turnovers or from short distances several plays later.
Quarterback Trent Hurley (at left) led the UD offense as he completed 19 of 29 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown while senior All-American Andrew Pierce recorded his 19th career 100-yard rushing effort with 101 yards and a score. Julian Laing added 97 yards and two touchdowns, Jalen Randolph added 87 yards and scored once in his collegiate debut, and Michael Johnson(top right) caught seven passes for 104 yards and also scored a rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Delaware had eight tackles for loss and forced four fumbles, including one with 3:31 left that sophomore linebacker Jeff Williams (bottom right) picked up and rambled 24 yards to cap the night’s scoring.
Jacksonville, a Pioneer League member that went 7-4 a year ago, saw quarterback Kade Bell hit on 18 of 34 passes for 261 and four touchdowns, including two to Andy Robustelli. The Dolphins also scored on a 63-yard interception by Antonio McRae with 12 minutes left that cut the UD deficit to 38-28. The Hens then pulled away on Laing’s second touchdown run and William’s fumble recover for a score.
Jacksonville jumped out to a 14-0-lead in the first quarter, taking advantage of Delaware fumbles on both a punt return and kickoff return. But the Hens answered quickly, scoring 24 unanswered points on short scoring runs from Pierce, Laing, and Randolph and a 20-yard field goal by Sean Baner to go up 38-21 early in the final stanza.
• The game was played before an opening night crowd of 19,120
• The 51 points was the most scored by the Blue Hens on opening day since a 62-21 win over Lehigh in 1993
• Delaware snapped a four-game losing streak that dated back to last season and avoided its first five-game losing streak since the 1939 campaign
• The game marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools and the first time Delaware had played a team from Florida since defeating Rollins College in 1949
• Each of Delaware’s last four coaches have won their UD coaching debut - dating back to Dave Nelson in 1951, Tubby Raymond in 1966, and K.C. Keeler in 2002
• Baner was wide on his sixth extra point attempt of the night, marking the first time he had missed an extra point in 68 career attempts
• Delaware will continue action next Saturday when the Hens host in-state foe Delaware State at 3:30 p.m. at Delaware Stadium.