May 4, 2009

Courtesy of Delaware Athletics

NEWARK, Del. -- Senior running back Jerry Butler (top right) ran for 103 yards and scored a touchdown and junior quarterback Pat Devlin (middle right) threw for 304 yards and another score as the University of Delaware football team closed out the spring season with the annual Blue-White Spring Scrimmage Friday night at Delaware Stadium.

The Blue team (offense) posted a 78-70 win over the White (defense) using a unique scoring system that credited points to the offense based on touchdowns, field goals, and first downs and to the defense based on turnovers, defensive stops, and touchdowns. Butler’s two-yard touchdown on the final play of the scrimmage proved to be the difference for the Blue team.

The Blue Hens took part in over 100 plays from scrimmage on the evening before a crowd of approximately 3,000 on a crystal clear night. The crowd included over 200 Delaware football alumni who returned to campus for a day of golf, barbecue, and the game. The group included current NFL players Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Mike Adams (Brown) as well as former NFL players Rich Gannon, Scott Brunner, Tim Jacobs, and George Schmitt, current Arena League star Matt Nagy, and several other former All-Americans.

“It was a great effort tonight,” said Delaware eight-year head coach K.C. Keeler, whose team is looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic 4-8 mark in 2008. “You only get 15 practices in the spring, but I think we made progress. We competed tonight and you could see that we are getting better. We will be a better team this fall and I’m happy with the direction we are going. I thought Pat and Sean (Hakes) played well at quarterback, in fact Sean was one of our most improved players this spring. It’s exciting to know that we have two quarterbacks making big strides. It was also good to see our defense pick up its intensity. Overall, it was a great day for Delaware football with all the former players coming back.”

Butler, a third-year transfer who had just 42 carries a year ago but made a mark by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, was the leading ground-gainer as he picked up 103 yards on just seven carries, including a 75-yard run that come up short of the goal line and the one-yard scoring run to end the game.

Junior Philip Thaxton ran for 31 yards and redshirt freshman David Hayes, who was named the team’s Most Improved Offensive Player for spring drills, gained 24 yards on 10 carries and scored on a two-yard run.

Devlin, a first-year transfer from Penn State where he was the top backup a year ago, enjoyed an outstanding night as he completed 24 of 31 passes for 304 yards, including a 75-yard toss to redshirt freshman Fritz Steuber and a 18-yard scoring pass to sophomore Mark Schenauer. Hakes, a second-year transfer from Akron who saw just one game of action a year ago, hit on 9 of 24 passes for 100 yards.

“It was a great night,” said Devlin of his first appearance before a Delaware Stadium crowd. “It was a nice turnout and it was a lot of fun. It was great to meet guys like Joe Flacco and Rich Gannon before the game and go out and play in front of them. Our offense did okay tonight, but we know the real hard work begins this summer.”

Senior tight end Josh Baker, who returned to school this spring after a one-year absence, caught four passes for 87 yards while Steuber caught three for 84 yards and Schenauer added 56 yards on four catches. Eleven different players caught a pass on the night.

Also adding to the offense was senior kicker Jon Striefsky, who converted four of five field goal attempts, nailing tries from 53, 51, 47, and 43 yards. The senior is looking to return to his 2007 form when he was a consensus first team All-American.

Defensively, senior All-American safety Charles Graves (bottom right) picked off two passes and recorded eight tackles while sophomore defensive end Chris Morales, sophomore linebacker Eddie Lugo, and sophomore transfer linebacker Paul Worrilow each recorded 10 stops and junior cornerback Anthony Walters added four tackles, two pass breakups, a quarterback sack, and an interception. Morales had four tackles for loss, including two sacks for 11 yards.