Steveo’s Salvos! September 4, 2015

Welcome to our Opening Weekend of the 2015 College football season! This evening we will be in Newark, Delaware to see the Fighting Blue Hens of Delaware (6-6 in 2014) host the Jacksonville Dolphins (9-2 in 2014). HC Stan Brock’s Delaware program looks to recapture prominence in the Colonial Athletic Conference with a young squad rebuilding with 15 sophomores and freshman in the starting lineup. His two QBs, red-shirt freshman Joe Walker and fourth-year junior Blake Rankin, will both debut for their first time at the college level. RBs Wes Hills and Jalen Randolph return as a top CAA rushing duo. Seven true freshman may see action on the UD defense. On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins, who forfeited five games a year ago due to some scholarship discrepancies they self-reported to withdraw from the 2014 FCS playoffs, return 20 experienced seniors. HC Kerwin Bell’s squad is led at QB by his son Kade who passed for 3,181 yards and 31 TDs a year ago. The Dolphins see this as a big game, their only non-conference contest, before battling this season for the Pioneer League title and an automatic bid to the FCS playoff. It will be a battle this evening to see if the Blue Hens can turn things around after four years since their last FCS playoff to challenge for a bid or if the Dolphins will jump start their season to make up for last year’s disappointment. Two years ago, we started off with the same match-up won by Delaware, 51-35. We look for Jacksonville to step up this time based not only on their superior experience, but a lot of the seniors on this Dolphin team experienced losing at Delaware Stadium two years ago. They remember and return with some vengeance. Speaking of remembering, in 1985, my Auburn buddy Charlie Murren and I attended the Florida at Auburn game won by the Gators. 17-10. QB Kerwin Bell led Florida to the win while his defense held eventual Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson to under 60 yards and no TDs. Now we get to see Kerwin’s son play. Time flies while we’re having fun. Tonight’s kick-off is at 7 pm EST.
Tomorrow’s action brings us to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for the 3:30 EST kickoff between Penn State and host Temple. Our eyes will be focused on PSU’s offensive line which needs to improve to get the Nittany Lions at least in the hunt for the Big Ten East title. Protection of QB Christian Hackenberg and the revival of a running game will depend on improved line play where inexperience and talent hindered by sanctions set this unit back last year. Their best game of last season was in their 31-30 New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College we attended last December. Rumblings are that the unit has improved during the offseason. They will have a true test in front of them tomorrow against a solid Temple Owl defense despite a 30-13 win a year ago. HC Matt Ruhle, a former PSU LB himself, returns 10 starters on defense. A year ago, his defense ranked 24th in the nation on total defense, fourth in scoring overall. Senior LB Tyler Matakevich is a tacking machine with over 100 tackles in each of his first three season. Nate Smith is formidable also at linebacker while DE Praise Martin-Oguike comes in hard from DE. The secondary led by soph CB Sean Chandler and safeties Will Hayes and Alex Wells who can give PSU receivers fits. It will be a true test for the Lions offense right off the bat. Defensively, led by DT Anthony Zettel and LB Nyeem Wartman, the Lions will show their strength. Temple hopes QB PJ Walker (Elizabeth, NJ) returns to his better form of two years ago as a more efficient dual threat who will rely on RBs Jahad Thomas and Jamie Gilmore to get the tough yards. If the Lions can give Hackenberg consistent protection he needs against the Owl D, they should come away with some confidence for the upcoming season. We expect to see that happen. PSU’s D should give the Lions a significant edge over the Owl offense in the final outcome.
Look for our game reviews for both contests by Sunday evening. Great season coming up!

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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