By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Delaware went 3-1 during the non-conference portion of its schedule, and now the Blue Hens are preparing to begin Colonial Athletic Association action. They will do just that on Saturday night as they welcome James Madison to Newark.
The Blue Hens wrapped up that non-league slate with an impressive 49-9 thumping of visiting Wagner last weekend. This win came a week after the Blue Hens had gotten thumped by Navy, 51-7. Head coach Dave Brock was not surprised his team bounced back.
“We’re going to be about playing a one week season each week,” Brock tells KYW Newsradio. “I didn’t have any concerns that anything would linger and I don’t have concerns going forward, a big win or another loss, will linger. We’re going to talk to the players all the time about the process. It felt good to get back out there and execute a little bit better and handle some situations a little bit better and obviously come away with a win. Everybody’s pleased.”
Delaware is getting some great performances on offense here in the early going. Junior quarterback Trent Hurley has completed 72% of his passes for 944 yards and ten touchdowns. Four of those scores have been caught by junior wide receiver Michael Johnson. Overall, he has 19 catches for 401 yards.
James Madison comes to town with an identical 3-1 record and they hammered Charlotte last time out, 31-7.
“When you talk about (head coach) Mickey Matthews and James Madison I think the discussion also starts with defense,” Brock says. “That’s his background and they’ve had one of the top defenses in the league forever. They have probably the best player in the league at linebacker, Stephon Robertson. They’ve got a terrific safety in (Dean) Marlowe and an unbelievable run stopper/pass rusher in a kid named (Jordan) Stanton.”
Brock is also impressed with the James Madison offense.
“They’ve got some unbelievable players starting with the running back on offense Dae’Quan Scott,” Brock says. “Very, very talented up front. Their tackle, Josh Wells, is a great player. Matt Williams, their center, is a really good player. You know they have some terrific wide receivers who have been off and on injured a little bit, but my suspicion is they will all show up in Newark on Saturday night healthy. They’ve got a young guy, Mike Birdsong, playing quarterback for them. I think he is a terrific prospect and a guy who seems to get better every week. Very confident, big, big kid.”
Birdsong has completed 62% of his passes and thrown six touchdowns, but he has also been intercepted six times. Scott, the running back, has already rushed for 593 yards and five touchdowns in four games.
Delaware and James Madison will kick-off at 7:00pm on Saturday night in Newark.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.