The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Beat Delaware Week: “Battle of the Blue” History/Preview

-Philadelphia Union Media

The 47th installment of the “Battle of the Blue” rivalry is taking place this weekend. This rivalry between Villanova and Delaware dates back as far as 1895, where Delaware would win the first ever matchup between the two teams. Villanova would get its revenge the year after. The two teams played annually from 1964 to 1980. The series took a brief hiatus when Villanova shut down its football program in 1981. The Wildcats would come back in 1985. The two rivals would meet again in 1988, and play each year ever since. Villanova currently leads the series 24 to 21, with one tie.

1895 – Delaware, 10-6
1896 – Villanova, 14-0
—NO GAMES 1897-1923—
1924 – Villanova, 17-3
1962 – Villanova, 22-10
1964 – Villanova, 34-0
1965 – Delaware, 24-21
1966 – Villanova, 16-14
1967 – Villanova, 21-13
1968 – Villanova, 16-0
1969 – Villanova, 36-33
1970 – Villanova, 34-31
1971 – Delaware, 23-15
1972 – Delaware, 14-7
1973 – Villanova, 24-7
1974 – Delaware, 49-7
1975 – Delaware, 14-13
1976 – TIE, 24-24
1977 – Villanova, 33-16
1978 – Delaware, 23-22
1979 – Delaware, 21-20
1980 – Delaware, 17-7
—NO GAMES 1981-1987—
1988 – Delaware, 10-7
1989 – Villanova, 20-11
1990 – Delaware, 19-15
1991 – Delaware, 38-28
1992 – Delaware, 21-20
1993 – Delaware, 19-7
1994 – Delaware, 38-31
1995 – Delaware, 28-7
1996 – Villanova, 27-0
1997 – Villanova, 35-25
1998 – Villanova, 34-31
1999 – Villanova, 51-45
2000 – Delaware, 59-42
2001 – Villanova, 19-14
2002 – Villanova, 38-34
2003 – Delaware, 20-17
2004 – Delaware, 41-35
2005 – Delaware, 38-13
2006 – Villanova, 28-27
2007 – Villanova, 19-14
2008 – Villanova, 21-7
2009 – Villanova, 31-12
2010 – Villanova, 28-21 OT
2011 – Delaware, 26-16
2012 – Villanova, 41-10

Villanova Wildcats (5-5) vs. Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens (7-4)
When: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 3:30 p.m.
Where: PPL Park, Chester, PA
Results/Record vs. Similar Opponents: 3-2

  • Win vs. James Madison (29-22)
  • Lost vs. Maine (62-28)
  • Win vs. Rhode Island (35-13)
  • Win vs. Towson (32-31)
  • Lost vs. William & Mary (24-10)

Key Players for Delaware: #2 Trent Hurley (6-4, 210) Jr., QB; #30 Andrew Pierce (5-11, 200) Sr., RB; #17 Michael Johnson (6-2, 210) Jr., WR/KR; #44 Patrick Callaway (5-10, 215) Jr., LB; #1 Travis Hawkins (5-10, 195) Sr., CB/KR

Scouting Report: Delaware may have been eliminated from playoff conversation in losing last week to Richmond. If somehow, someway Delaware does indeed make the playoffs, they will need to win this Saturday. Delaware is a talented team, they have playmakers on offense and defense. Putting the offense altogether is junior signal caller Trent Hurley. He is coming off a big game against Richmond where he threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Hurley currently has 1,976 passing yards and is most likely going to break the 2,000 yard mark this weekend. He is enjoying his much improved 20-7 touchdown to interceptions ratio, up from last season’s 10-14. His go-to guy is wide receiver Michael Johnson. Johnson leads the team in kick returning and every receiving category. He will have a chance to pass the 1,000 receiving yard mark. Johnson has established himself as a “triple-threat” and can rush, receive, and return. His versatility was shown in the game against Rhode Island where Johnson had 3 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown, as well as 5 catches for 84 yards. Veteran Andrew Pierce will lead the ground attack. Although Pierce is not putting up numbers like he has in seasons past, but he is still a solid running back. He is still the prime running option of the Fightin’ Blue Hens. Defensively, Delaware is not as sound as its offense. Their defense is what prevents Delaware from being an elite team. On average, Delaware gives up 31.3 points and 427 yards to opposing teams. These figures put the Fightin’ Blue Hens amongst the bottom half of the conference defensively. However, they aren’t completely incompetent on defense. Middle linebacker Patrick Callaway has established himself as one of the best linebackers in the conference. Although he is undersized at 5-10 and 215 pounds, he has over a hundred tackles on the season. In the secondary, Travis Hawkins is one of their best coverage men. He is a co-leader on the team in interceptions (3). He can also have an impact on the return game, where he is the only player to have a kick return touchdown for the Fightin’ Blue Hens this season. On the line, Derrick Saulsberry is one of the best sack artists in the CAA.

Outlook: Both teams have an offense that are ready to go and put up points. The difference maker in the game will be each team’s defense. Villanova statistically has the edge on paper, as they have relinquished fewer points and yards. For Villanova to win they need John Robertson and the rest of the offense to keep defenses honest. The Wildcats need to establish themselves as a threat in the air and on the ground. Kevin Monangai can take some of the load off of Robertson’s shoulders on the ground. Like Pierce, his numbers may not reflect it compared to seasons past, but Monangai is still talented. They need to prove that they’re more than just a one trick pony. Defensively, the Wildcats need to limit the damage Trent Hurley and the receiving corps can do. They need stops, they cannot afford another opposing quarterback performance like Maine. Maine’s Marcus Wasilewski was able fire at will and pick apart the defense when they came and spoiled Villanova’s homecoming. Delaware will be much tougher than Rhode Island, hopefully the extra week of preparation helped Andy Talley and his crew. I don’t see this game being a blowout like it was last year, but rather a grind it out game that can go any direction.

Prediction: The extra week helps, Villanova 35, Delaware 31

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About The Author

Eugene Rapay '16 created "The Bench Mob" in November 2013. He joined the Villanova Times in 2012 as a writer. A Westchester, NY native, who will bring top quality coverage of all things Villanova sports.


November 2013
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