Game 508: First State Rivalry? Turnover Town Blow-out!

                                 First State Rivalry?  Turnover Town Blowout!

Newark, Delaware – Four Delaware State Hornet intercepted passes and a fumble added fuel to the fire for the Fighting Blue Hens of Delaware who burned the Hornets’ nest early in a 56-14 blow-out in the seventh game between the two Delaware FCS programs in the First State Rivalry. It was the opener of our 2016 www.collegefootballfan.com season and our first of three college football games within a 72-hour period.

Hornet RB Brycen Allenye returned kicks and scored a TYD late in the game.

Hornet RB Brycen Allenye returned kicks and scored a TD late in the game.

Blue Hen RB Wes Hills rushed for a career best 212 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.  Thomas Jefferson of Passaic (NJ) Tech added 70 yards on the ground, and workhorse Jalen Randolph got the tough yards scoring two TDs on 11 carries for 55 yards. The home team Hens drove 74 yards on the opening drive for Randolph’s two-yard run.  A pick by UD DE John Nassib got the ball back on DSU’s first series, and QB Joe Walker’s one-yard plunge capped the 48-yard drive for a quick 14-0 Delaware lead before the first stanza ended.  The Hornets could not move the ball without turning it over.  Starting QB Dan Epperson was replaced by Kobie Lain who fumbled the ball away on his first series.

QB Joe Walker (3) bulls over from the one for a 14-0 lead.

QB Joe Walker (3) bulls over from the one for a 14-0 lead.

In the second period, Hills ran up the middle for 13 yards before lunging over the goal line for another UD score. After a DSU Hornet punt, Hills started with the ball from the wildcat formation and raced around the left for a 59-yard TD run. So much for this First State Rivalry. The Turnover Town Blow-out continued when LB Anthony Jackson picked off another Epperson pass to preserve the 28-0 lead entering the halftime intermission.

DSU's band, "The Approaching Storm", put on an exhibition during halftime.

DSU’s band, “The Approaching Storm”, put on an exhibition during halftime.

In the third, DSU’s offense had no answer in the First State Rivalry turned into the Town Turnover Blow-out.  After receiving a punt, neither did the defense.  Randolph capped a 70-yard Blue Hen drive with a four-yard scoring jaunt. Jackson’s second INT resulted in a 25-yard TD pass to Diante Cherry from Joe Walker ( 6 of 9,66 yards, 1 TD). The game was basically sealed at 42-0 with 9:38 left in the third,  Ho-hum.  The Hornets finally sustained a drive with Epperson tossing a six-yard pass to Mason Rutherford.  Second team QB Blake Rankin filled in for the Blue Hens’ Walker and led them 48 yards before finding TE Chris Scarff in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard TD pass.

Delaware cheerleaders had plenty to cheer about in this season's opener as the Blue Hens scored early and often!

Delaware cheerleaders had plenty to cheer about in this season’s opener …

To start the fourth, this Hornet offensive series ended quickly as LB Troy Reeder picked Epperson and closed out the UD scoring with a 13-yard interception return.  The practice scrimmage began and DSU scored for the second time as Epperson (13 of 26, 4 INTs, 118 yards) completed a 13-yard pass to Bryceon Allenye in the end zone to close out the score at 56-14 with 11:49 remaining.  I’d seen enough along with my niece Kassie and her friends Kelsey and Cassie, all Delaware grads class of 2015.  We left for beers and ice cream at the UD Cremery near where we had parked.

...and plenty to smile about, too!

…and plenty to smile about, too!

It was a letdown of a game for what’s titled the First State Rivalry. Delaware State was 1-10 in 2015 and evidently still has a lot work ahead of them.  A UD fan, Lutz, that I got to meet during the game, was asked by his son whom he had call to give an update, “Was Delaware that good, or was DSU that bad?”  He answered, “Yes.”  Good answer.  It will be a few games before anyone will really know how good UD is.  They play at Lafayette, another 1-10 team from last year, next Saturday.  A bigger test for them will come a week later at FBS Wake Forest before settling into their Colonial Athletic Association schedule at James Madison, a perennial conference contender.  Delaware State will host the Monmouth Hawks next week. I am meeting up with friends Brian Donnelly and his sister Eileen in Philadelphia for the Army-Temple game at “the Linc”. Hopefully, the Cadets and Owls will both be up for a battle.

Delaware State's Dance Team performed with The Approaching Storm at halftime.

Delaware State’s Dance Team performed with The Approaching Storm at halftime.

Extra points:  DE John Nassib’s early INT confirmed we’d now seen four Nassibs play intercollegiate football. His brother Ryan at Syracuse now with the Giants, his brother who graduated Penn State last year now with the Browns, and his father Gil who we saw in our first of all 508 games when he played for the Delaware national champs in 1979 as a tight end with the Blue Hens in a 49-14 win at Rhode Island.  I went to that game with Kassie’s parents – my sister Mary Kay and then boy friend Gunther – when they were attending URI as students.  You do this long enough…

Soph Vinny Papale, son of Vince, the former Eagle WR who the movie “Invincible” was about, returns punts for the Blue Hens.

About Steveo

This website is dedicated to my unique and ongoing adventure to continue to see every major Division 1A (I despise the moniker “FBS”) football team play in person at least once. I’ve seen all 124 teams in existence as of 2013 play and plan to attend games with the five newest editions in the next few years. This also records my ongoing adventures attending as many college football games as possible every season. I “officially” started this crazy goal in 1979. The upcoming 2014 season will be the 35th straight year of sharing this fun endeavor with others in person and through weekly reviews about each game I attend. Entering 2014, I have attended 459 NCAA football games at all levels. My book, Tales from the Tailgate: From the Fan who’s seen ’em all! published in 2011, tells my story over 30 years of when I attended a game in person played by each D1A team for the first time. Now, I haven’t attended a game at every major stadium on each campus (yet) because I’d probably be unemployed and definitely divorced by now. However, I’m proud to report that I remain gainfully employed and have been married to the same woman (“Saint Laurie”) for almost 25 years. We have two kids that have recently ventured away from our home in Byram Township, NJ over the last few few years. Our daughter Alex is a junior at the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), and our son Eric is now enlisted in the United States Navy (Go Navy!). You will find that my site and my book focus on enjoying a passion for college football and great opportunities to have fun with friends and family around the country.

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