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Blue Hens prep for duel with Penn State

Mikey Reeves
University of Delaware Athletics

The University of Delaware football team faces one of its biggest challenges ever this week when it travels to Penn State Saturday.

The Blue Hens, ranked 19th in FCS football, not only step up to play a major college FBS team, but a Penn State squad that is ranked 7th in the nation at that level.

The Nittany Lions rolled in their opener, defeating West Virginia 38-15 at home last week and UD Head Coach Ryan Carty says they pose a formidable challenge, especially on defense.

"There’s no doubt this Penn State defense is one of the best.  They’re pretty good at every level.  They’re fairly special.  They’re fast and long, explosive and violent," said Carty. "So, we have our work cut out for us for sure, particularly on that side of the ball.  But we’re going to do our best to go out there and just put what we know we can do on the field."

UD will also play in front of the biggest crowd its ever seen when it takes the field at Beaver Stadium, which seats over 100,000 fans.

"Any time you get in a situation where you’re in a stadium with a ton of people in it, it obviously brings out the person in you, the competitor in you who wanted to be in major college football in the first place," said Carty. "So, hopefully we can keep our emotions in check during those moments, try our best to calm our heart rates so we can really calm down and just focus on our execution."

The largest crowd a UD football team has played in front of before this was nearly 63,000 in a 27-0 loss at Virginia Tech in 2017. That Virginia Tech team was also the Hens’ highest ranked FBS foe before this Saturday, ranked 18th ranked at that time,

UD opened its season last week with a 37-13 win at Stony Brook.

Kick-off Saturday at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium is at noon.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.