The University of Delaware football team wanted to make sure that their helmets were the only thing that they had in common with Michigan in their home opener against the West Chester Rams on Saturday night. Before the game Head Coach KC Keeler refreshingly told his players that they were the better team and he expected them to act that way. Any thoughts that West Chester might have had of "App Stating" the Hens on Tubby's Tundra were quickly quashed.
On Delaware's second play from scrimmage quarterback Joe Flacco, who is as calm as an accountant the day after tax day, fired the ball down field and hit Mark Duncan for a thirty-seven yard gain setting up an early score en route to a 41-14 win over their Division II foes.
On the ensuing kickoff Brian Void set the tone for the rest of the night by pummelling West Chester returner D'Andre Webb. The pop instantly becoming a candidate for special teams hit of the year.
Keeler, when asked how you handle a lesser opponent, answered, "to not let them them breathe", and after Delaware's performance in the first half, West Chester was clearly gasping. The Hens dominated every facet of the game never letting what might have been the best West Chester team in years to come to Delaware Stadium think they had a chance.
Afterward West Chester head coach Bill Zwann summed it up, "I felt like were weren't in this one at all."
He was right.
By halftime Delaware led 34-0. Omar Cuff had close to 100 yards rushing and scored another four touchdowns. Joe Flacco was close to 300 yards passing. The defense was pitching a shut-out and had forced three turnovers. As for special teams Stuart Kenworthy's lone punt in the first half pinned the Rams on the two yard line and Jon Striefsky was a perfect two for two on field goal opportunities while consistently kicking off inside the five yard line.
In the second half the Hens were able to rest the starters while the coaches tested the back-ups. Passing with honors was true freshman running back Philip Thaxton who exploded through a hole on his first ever college football touch stopping 62 yards later in the end zone. Thaxton was electric. Later in the game he broke off another long run that would have been a touchdown had West Chester defender Mike Mignogno not made a terrific play on the ball forcing a fumble. Thaxton still finished with 177 yards rushing setting a Delaware debut record.
It should get tougher for the Hens next weekend as another group of Rams come to play in a CAA Conference game. Rhode Island is 0-2 so far this year, but according to their coach Tim Stowers they could easily be 2-0 if it weren't for all those pesky fumbles, interceptions, missed field goals, and other blown red zone opportunities. Rhode Island utilizes that "great equalizer" of an offense: the triple option. But since he has been at Delaware, Keeler has had success against triple option teams like Georgia Southern in 2002, Navy in 2003, and Rhode Island twice in 2003 and 2006.
Delaware is 2-0 so far this year, but if this team continues to play like they have in the first two games and Michigan continues to play like they have in their first two games, maybe by the end of the year people will think that Michigan is wearing Delaware's helmet instead of the other way around.
How cool would that be?