The Blue Hens ride a big road win into semifinals of the NCAA’s FCS playoffs - their first appearance in the football “final four” since 2010.
The Hens used their strong defense and a gutty effort from quarterback Nolan Henderson to win at Jacksonville State 20-14.
UD’s defense allowed just 200 yards of total offense, only 8 first downs, and forced 2 turnovers, taking advantage of a Jacksonville State offense that was without its starting quarterback after an injury early in the game.
As for Henderson, he was also briefly knocked out of the game, but came back to throw for 239 yards while helping the Hens to play ball control offense. UD held the ball for over 38 minutes compared to just about 21 minutes for Jacksonville State.
UD head coach Danny Rocco says jumping out to 14-0 first quarter lead really helped the Blue Hens.
"I really thought that getting off to a fast start would go a long way in terms of kind of showing them that we could match up with them, showing them that we had the ability to quick-strike offensively, and then defensively the ability to really contain their offense," Rocco said
But Rocco adds the Hens squandered scoring chances after that early lead.
"We did not play complementary football the way I felt like we should have. If we would have, I think we could have extended the lead and put them in a really uncomfortable position," said Rocco. "But as it played out, they kept it close and they were able to make a little run there at the end. But all things considered we certainly played as if we were the better team."
The Blue Hens visit top seed South Dakota State University for their national semifinal contest Saturday.
The other semifinal pits Delaware’s CAA rival James Madison against former Blue Hen coach K.C. Keeler and Sam Houston State.