University of Delaware football players and their coach, K.C. Keeler will tell you Friday’s game against the University of New Hampshire is just another game, but they also know it’s a big deal to play on ESPN.
Delaware should be familiar with the University of New Hampshire since they are in the same conference, the CAA. But because of the way scheduling is done the Blue Hens haven’t seen UNH since 2007. New Hampshire won its way to this quarter finals game by defeating Bethune-Cookman in Daytona, Fla. over the weekend 45-20.
New Hampshire is probably better known for its hockey program. Even the message boards for the Manchester Union Leader are excited about getting this far in the Division I-AA tournament, but the authors still mix football and hockey talk together.
The players and Coach Keeler are taking a crash course on the UNH Wildcats. Keeler says he’s impressed with UNH’s 33 sacks this year. “They’re fair and away above the leader in our conference in sack production. So at the same time, if you look at the other side, they’ve given up the most sacks in the league,”
Keeler says their style of play on offense is similar to a type of offense he used at Rowan. “One of the things they’ll do, its they will take a block of plays, let’s say its 10 plays and they’ll just set hut. They’re not even going to call anything out,” Keeler said. He adds their practices will be geared towards simulating that style of play.
Blue Hens Quarterback Pat Devlin is telling his team “they have to crank it up.” Devlin says, “I want to be more physical. I want to be able to run the football at people. There are going to be times in the winter time, you play in December you’re going to have to run the football.”
Keeler said having the home field advantage is huge. “That was maybe as loud a crowd that we had all year long,” he said. “They were into it. The student section was into it, the fans were into it. It was, I didn’t worry about the numbers, I worried about the intensity and there was an intensity there.” Delaware had almost 14,000 people attend Saturday’s game. In Division I-AA attendance numbers that was the second to Montana State, which had a little over 14,000 at their game. They lost.
If Delaware wins they will host the semi-final round against the winner of the Georgia Southern-Wofford game on Dec. 17 or 18.