PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Delaware will play its final home game of the regular season and continue the chase for an FCS playoff berth when the Blue Hens host Albany.
Delaware is 6-3 (4-2 in the CAA) after beating Maine up in Portland this past Saturday, 31-17. The Blue Hens rallied after falling behind early 10-0. Delaware got a big boost in this one from redshirt junior Joe Walker. He began the season as the starting quarterback before J.P. Caruso took over. Against Maine, Walker lined up all over the place and did a little bit of everything, completing a 42-yard pass, rushing for 55 yards on nine carries and catching two passes for a team high 68 yards.
“We’re just finding different ways to use him,” Delaware head coach Danny Rocco tells KYW Newsradio.”This past week, [wide receiver] Jamie Jarmon was out with an injury, so we felt early on that we wanted to give Joe some of those touches and some of those opportunities that Jamie had had the last couple of weeks. Joe took advantage of all those opportunities and then [he was] still doing some things from the quarterback position. We’ll continue to build on that package. It might look a little different from week-to-week, but he certainly gave us a huge spark.”
Delaware has won six games for the first time since 2014 and the Blue Hens are making a push for their first postseason berth since 2010. Rocco talks about where his team has made the most progress from the beginning of the season to now.
“It’s not necessarily in the evolution or development of any particular unit,” he says. “I think it’s more in our understanding of how you have to go about finding ways to win games. Every week it’s really looked a little bit different. Some weeks the defense is playing at such a high level that we just need to protect the ball and play field position. Other weeks, like maybe in the Richmond game [42-35 double-overtime win], we knew we were going to have to score more, so we did a few more things offensively to try and generate some more explosive plays.”
Albany is 3-6 on the season (1-5 CAA) and on a five-game losing streak. However, two of the losses for the Great Danes have come in overtime (one in double OT) and two others by a combined total of eight points.
“They are just a couple plays away from being 6-3,” Rocco says. “That’s the reality of who they are right now. They are a physical team. Offensively, they’ve got really good balance, run and pass. Defensively, they play fast and they play really hard.”
Last week, Albany lost in overtime to Stony Brook, 28-21.
Last season, Delaware beat Albany on the road, 33-17.
Saturday’s game in Newark kicks off at 3:30pm.