Sunday, March 20, 2011

Delaware Blue Hens 2010 Review

2010 Record: 12-3 (6-2), tied 1st Colonial
2010 Postseason: Championship Game, Lost to Eastern Washington 20-19
2010 Schedule/Results: West Chester, W 31-0, South Dakota State, W 26-3, Duquesne, W 30-6, @ Richmond, W 34-13, @ James Madison, W 13-10, Maine, W 26-7, Rhode Island, W 24-17, @ William & Mary, L 24-17, @ UMass, W 45-27, Villanova, L 28-21, Lehigh, W 42-20, New Hampshire, W 16-3, Georgia Southern, W 27-10, Eastern Washington, L 20-19


     Another magical Blue Hens season in the books. Surprise, surprise...the Hens were succesful again. Delaware football success is as predictable as a rising sun, it's guaranteed year in and year out, and this season was no exception. The one thing that did go wrong was that the Hens had a chance to lock up the conference title with a win over Villanova, and they fell short, tying for the crown instead. That only seemed to motivate KC Keeler's crew, as they tore through the playoffs before a major meltdown prevented the Hens from locking up yet another CAA national title.
     Pat Devlin was certainly the man in the CAA passing circles. His leadership was the glue that kept Delaware winning, as he posted another masterful season. Devlin passed for 3032 yards, 22 TDs and only 3 picks, and finished 1st in the CAA in passing efficiency with a 151.64 rating on the season. Devlin will be dearly missed as he departs Delaware a legend at the QB position, one of which has provided many solid names over the years.
     While Devlin will be dearly missed, the Hens have their star for the next 3 years in freshman RB Andrew Pierce. Pierce exploded onto the FCS scene in 2010, and shocked the country as he punded the opposition for 1655 yards and 14 TDs on the season. His success and that of Devlin were symbiotic in that they both kept defenses from being able to key on any one offensive strength. If one was over defended, then the other burned you. And on it went for 15 games. The Hens have a very nice B Back behind Pierce in sophomore David Hayes, who also rushed for another 528 yards and 6 TDs to give the Hens a very nice combo piece. UD rushed for over 184 yards per game in 2010.
      The thing about Devlin is that he spread the love to many different receivers in 2010. You never knew who to defend, as anyone could beat you. Nihja White, a senior, put together a line of 60-752-6, good for 4th in the CAA in 2010. Tommy Crosby (43-517-2), Philip Thaxton (47-515-5), and Matt Schenauer (36-510-3) all surpassed the 500 yard mark and finished 11th through 13th respecitvely in the conference, and Rob Jones had 400 yards.
     Defensively, the Hens were a force to be reckoned with, as they only allowed 280 yards per game. I was November 13th before the Hens gave up more than 17 points in a game. They allowed 20 points or fewer 13 times in 2010.
     The Hens had 3 players who managed to hit for over 90 tackles in 2010, and one who had more than 80. This was a fearsome unit that gave everyone hell in every game. LB Paul Worrilow (113), Anthony Bratton (99), and Andrew Harrison (90) were the first group, with Matt Marcorelle  finishing with 83.
     Marcorelle and Worrilow were joined by Michael Atunrase as the Hens with double digit TFLs on the season. Marcorelle led the way with 14, Worrliow had 11, with Atunrase picking up 10. The one weakness was that UD was seriously devoid of any sack masters, as Atunrase led the team with only 4.
     Passing against the Hens was absolutely no picnic. There were playmakers everywhere in the secondary, and they could make you look like a damned fool very easily. Bratton was the best in the league at knocking balls away, as he broke up 12 passes on the season. Anthony Walters and Tyrone Grant each knocked away 8 passes on the year. Here's the bad news...Delaware must replace every one of these players in 2011. Walters led the CAA with 7 picks on the season, and Grant had 5 more. The Hens only allowed 175 yards per game through the air.
     Mike Perry was the busiest PK in the CAA, and he managed quite nicely. Perry led the league with 26 FG attempts, and he nailed 20 of them to finish 2nd in the conference at 1.33 FGs per game. He'll be back next season. Ed Wagner was credible as well at Punter, having averaged 40.32 yards per punt. He moves on.


If not for that unimaginable meltdown in Frisco in the FCS title game, Delaware would be hoisting a trophy, and we'd be talking about another legendary team in UD history. The truth is that this team may have fallen short of legend, but they were still very good. The huge success of the year? Keeping KC Keeler at home, after there was some flirtation with UConn. Some felt that his leaving for Storrs was a sure bet, but at the end the Huskies made a huge mistake by passing on him. Delaware gets a huge gain by retaining him, and he will be needed to guide this team into a new era. There are major question marks at QB and in the secondary, but if the answers are found quickly, there's no reason to doubt another run in 2011.

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