Delaware Wins First State Cup Once Again as Worrilow, Harrison Lead Blue Hens in 38-14 Triumph over Delaware State
September 8, 2012
Action Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell; Celebration Photo Courtesy of Saquan Stimpson
NEWARK, Del. -- Redshirt freshman wideout Jerel Harrison hauled in his first two career touchdown receptions, senior linebacker Paul Worrilow posted a career-high 18 tackles to lead the defense, and the University of Delaware withstood a nearly one-hour weather delay to down Delaware State 38-14 in the annual Route One Rivalry football series Saturday afternoon at rain-soaked Delaware Stadium.
The No. 15 ranked Blue Hens (2-0) extended their winning streak over two seasons to five games and stayed unbeaten in four career meetings with their downstate rival Delaware State (1-1) with the win.
Harrison, playing in just his second career game, hauled in touchdown passes of six yards from backup quarterback Tim Donnelly and 18 yards from starter Trent Hurley to lead the attack. Hurley, who threw for 310 yards in his Delaware debut last week in a 41-21 win over West Chester, hit on 12 of 21 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns and was backed by All-American running back Andrew Pierce, who ran for 95 yards.
“Delaware State did a great job of executing but we hung in there and got the win,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler. “We gave up a few short passes but we had a bend but don’t break attitude and we got a couple of turnovers which really helped. There are still a few things we need to shore up but we are certainly happy to get the win.”
Defensively, Worrilow (at left) stole the show with his career-high tackle total and earned the Nate Beasley Game Most Valuable Player Award. The award was named for the former Blue Hen All-American running back who played collegiately at both schools. Ironically, Worrilow was the only Delaware native in the starting lineup for either team.
Also for the Hens, safety Ricky Tunstall (at right) galloped 91 yards for a touchdown off an interception, sprinting down the left sideline and splitting between would-be DSU tacklers at the 40-yard line to open the scoring late in the first quarter and send the Hens on their way. The return was the ninth longest in UD history and the longest by a Blue Hen since 2000.
Delaware State, which opened the season with a 17-10 win over VMI last week, outgained the Blue Hens 353-282 and had an 11-minute advantage in time of possession but could manage only an 18-yard scoring pass from quarterback Nick Elko to Justin Wilson late in the second quarter and a one-yard dive by Nagee Jackson in the third stanza.
Elko hit on 35 of 50 passes for 298 yards and Wilson caught nine passes for 93 yards but the Hornets managed just 55 yards on 28 carries on the ground and were hurt by two interceptions.
The Blue Hens jumped out to a 21-0 lead and took a 28-7 advantage into halftime to put the game away. Tunstall starting the scoring on his 91-yard interception dash off a tipped ball with 3:39 left in the opening quarter and Hurley started a 21-point second quarter scoring spree by hitting Michael Johnson (at right) with a nice 14-yard scoring pass across the middle three minutes into the stanza.
“Our coaches tell us to run to the ball and that’s what I did,” said Tunstall of his interception. “Timmy (Breaker) tipped the ball and I just grabbed it and went into receiver mode. As soon as I caught it I knew I was going to score.”
Delaware later made it a 21-0 game on Hurley’s one-yard dive before Delaware State got on the board when Wilson capped a 66-yard drive on a catch and run touchdown reception from Elko with 3:02 left in the half.
But Delaware came right back to take a 28-7 halftime lead as they drove 69 yard in 11 plays for a score just 17 seconds before the break. Harrison caught his first touchdown pass of the day on a six-yard toss from Donnelly, a starter last year who came in when Hurley had to leave the game when his helmet was knocked off after a big hit the previous play.
The half ended with a weather delay as a thunderstorm that moved into the Newark area forced the evacuation of the crowd of 16,898. After a 50-minute delay, the teams returned to play in a downpour at Delaware Stadium with about one-thousand fans returning to watch the remainder of the game.
Neither team could manage much offense on the slick field in the second half but the Hens did manage a 20-yard field goal by junior Sean Baner, the junior’s eighth straight successful conversion since last season, and Harrison’s acrobatic 18-yard scoring reception from Hurley with just three minutes left to play.
“This was a strange one,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler of the weather delay. “We talked about the possibility (of a delay) in pre-game when we heard the weather reports. We didn’t want any distractions. It’s great to be on national television (NBC Sports Network) and our kids were focused. We were in the lockerroom for a long time but I thought our kids handled it well.”
Delaware will continue its season-opening three-game homestand next Saturday when the Hens host Bucknell at 3:30 p.m. The teams, longtime rivals in the 1950 and 60’s in the Middle Atlantic Conference, will face each other for the first time since 1985.
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