Sept. 25, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. -

Courtesy of Delaware Athletics

The University of Delaware left little doubt of how ready the No. 6 ranked Blue Hens are for the rigors of Colonial Athletic Association football action Saturday afternoon, breaking open a close game with a decisive second half and racing to a 34-13 victory over host and No. 5 Richmond at sparkling new Robins Stadium.

Blue Hen quarterback Pat Devlin, returning to action after missing a week with a fractured wrist, didn't miss a beat as he threw for 240 yards and freshman sensation Andrew Pierce had another big game, grinding out 114 yards on the ground and scoring three touchdowns to lead the victory.

The Delaware defense allowed its first touchdowns of the season, but it hardly mattered as the Hens held Richmond to just 234 total yards while forcing two turnovers.

The Hens (4-0, 1-0 CAA), off to their best start since the 2007 national runner-up season, downed the defending CAA champion Spiders (1-2, 0-1 CAA) for the first time since the 2006 season.

After Richmond tied the game at 13-13 midway through the second half, Delaware came right back with a 78-yard scoring drive and scored two more times to win going away.

"We had the chance to go up 20-0 but didn't and all of the sudden the game was tied," said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler, whose squad has not trailed at any time this season. "But we didn't lose our poise and we stayed focused. We played well in the second half and got the win. And anytime you can get a road win in the CAA, it's a big deal."

Athlete photoDevlin, an All-American nominee and a candidate for the Walter Payton National Player of the Year Award, shook off his first interception of the season on the Hens' first drive and finished the day completing 14 of 21 passes for 240 yards. He hit eight different receivers on the day and had 12 completions of 10 or more yards.

Pierce, a three-time CAA Rookie of the Week and two-time national Rookie of the Week this season, had to work for everything he could in carrying 26 times for 114 yards, breaking the 100-yard barrier for the fourth straight week.

His two-yard scoring run early in the second quarter gave the Hens a 13-0 leaad and his touchdowns runs of 13 and 8 yards in the second half helped increase the Delaware lead to 27-13 with 12:06 left to play. His backup, sophomore David Hayes, capped the scoring with a 40-yard burst with 2:30 left to play.

"I give Delaware a lot of credit today, they have a great quarterback and a great defense," said Richmond rookie head coach Latrell Scott. "They imposed their will on us in the second half."

The Blue Hen defense, which entered the game as the only NCAA school in the country that had not allowed a touchdown, continued to dominate, holding the Spiders to just 234 total yards.

Richmond broke the Hens' streak when quarterback Aaron Corp hit tight end Kevin Finney on an 11-yard scoring strike in the back of the end zone with just 30 seconds left in the first half.

The Spiders then tied things at 13-13 when Tyler Kirchoff scored from three yards out with 6:18 left in the third quarter, but the Blue Hens responded from there in a big way to pull out the surprisingly easy victory.

"Richmond is a very good team with a big line, but we got the job done today," said Delaware senior defensive tackle Siddiq Haynes, who posted two of Delaware's three sacks on the day. "Now that we are playing CAA teams, it's an entirely new season. We didn't want to give up a touchdown today but we knew the time would come. But when it did, we settled down and stepped up and just took it one play at the time."

Delaware will face another tough test next Saturday when the Hens travel to Harrisonburg, Va. to face No. 3 James Madison, a team that defeated FBS power Virginia Tech earlier this season, for a 12 noon game.