Hills Leads the Way as White Team Downs Blue 21-0 in University of Delaware Football Spring Game
Pictured below from top: Derrick Saulsberry (90), Stephen Clark (21), Justin Burns (8) - Photos by Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- University of Delaware rising sophomore running back Wes Hills was the star for the White team on Saturday as he rushed for 154 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead his team to a 21-0 victory in the annual Blue-White Football Spring Game at Delaware Stadium.
The game, played under sunny skies before an estimated crowd of 2,500, wrapped up spring drills for the Blue Hen football squad. The game was preceded by the annual Fandemonium V in which families and fans enjoyed games, pony rides, face-painting, and bounce houses, sampled food from local vendors, and listened to a live band.
The White team, which consisted of the first team offense and defense, dominated the action as the squad piled up 282 total yards, including 154 yards on the ground. Defensively, the team held the Blue squad to just two first downs and 40 total yards. The game format saw the teams play two 12-minute quarters followed by a 20-minute half with a running clock.
“I thought we played with good energy and intensity today, we had some good situational stuff, and the kids had the chance to come out and play in front of a good crowd,” said Delaware head coach Dave Brock, who led the Hens to a 7-5 record in his first season at the helm last fall. “We got to see some young guys who are starting to establish themselves. Wesley Hills showed everybody the kind of player he is today. He is a dynamic young guy, an explosive player, and a home run hitter. Right now he has some ball security issues (he had two fumbles) that we have to address, but that is what the summer and training camp is for. We also had the chance to get a good look at some of our young defensive guys like Jalen Kindle, Larry Spears, Blaine Woodson, and Justin Watson and we were very pleased with the way they played. Overall it was an exciting day.”
Hills, who saw limited action as the team’s No. 3 running back as a true freshman in 2013, was a busy runner as he carried 20 times for 154 yards and one touchdown and caught two passes for 33 yards and another score.
He broke off on a 60-yard touchdown run down the left sideline on just the third play of the game. He later caught a 23-yard scoring toss from senior quarterback Justin Burns, grabbing the ball in the flat and breaking several tackles for the score. He saw most of the reps as sophomore running back Jalen Randolph, who will battle with Hills for the top running back spot this fall, sat out with an injury.
“Today was a step in the right direction,” said Hills, who carried the ball just 10 times for 81 yards in his rookie campaign in 2013 but was a big contributor on special teams. “We are getting a lot better, and even though we lost a lot of important guys (from last season), it should be a great fall. I hope to improve on a lot of things this summer - ball security, blocking, hitting the right holes, and stuff like that. I have a lot to focus on.”
The White team closed out the scoring with 1:11 left in the second quarter when Burns tossed a 39-yard strike to senior Stephen Clark on a post pattern down the right side. Clark caught two passes for a game-high 48 yards on the day while Andrew Peterson and Andrew Opoku also each caught two passes.
Burns, slated to be the Hens’ No. 2 quarterback this fall behind third-year starter and 2013 Colonial Athletic Association passing rating leader Trent Hurley, played for both teams on Saturday and combined to hit on 9 of 18 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Hurley played the first two series and was 2 of 4 passing for 24 yards before sitting down for the rest of the day.
Defensively, senior defensive end Derrick Saulsberry led the White team with four tackles, all of them for loss. Senior linebacker David Mackall, junior defensive tackle Vince Hollerman, and redshirt freshman linebacker Jalen Kindle all added three stops.
For the Blue team, redshirt freshman linebacker Larry Spears, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Blaine Woodson, redshirt freshman defensive back Chris Buckley, and junior defensive back Eric Farkas each had three tackles.
On special teams, sophomore punter Eric Enderson, a second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection in 2013 when he ranked third in the nation with a 45.0 yard average, booted eight punts for a 48.4 yards average, including one that went for 71 yards.
Among the top veteran players who sat out of the game due to injuries were Randolph, defensive backs Craig Brodsky, Jake Giusti, and Jordan Thomas, wide receiver Jerel Harrison, defensive linemen Laith Wallschleger and Josh Plummer, offensive lineman JD Dzurko, and tight end Nick Boyle.
Brock announced on Friday the three Blue Hen Touchdown Club Most Improved Players for spring practice. The award recipients were kicker Garrett Greenway (Special Teams), offensive tackle Connor Bozick (Offense), and cornerback Justin Watson (Defense).