The University of Massachusetts football team returned home Saturday and defeated the University of Delaware 17-7 in front of the largest home crowd in McGuirk Stadium since 1974.
After consecutive losses on the road to James Madison and Texas Tech where the defense gave up over 50 points both games, the UMass(3-2, 1-1) defense stifled the Blue Hens(2-3, 0-1) offense series after series.
Thriving off the crowd of 16,422, the Minutemen came out firing on the first possession. Senior quarterback Liam Coen connected with junior Jeremy Horne on a 40 yard strike 2:08 into the first quarter giving UMass the 7-0 lead.
Delaware countered with 3:43 left in the first when junior quarterback Robby Schoenhoft found tight end Robby Agnone in the back of the end zone for an eight yard touchdown, tying the game 7-7.
The Colonial Athletic Association rivals defense’s both settled in after the first quarter.
With back to back red zone opportunities in the second quarter, the Delaware defense picked off Coen twice keeping the game tied at 7-7. The Blue Hens continually dropped linebackers into coverage, throwing different looks at Coen all day leading to three interceptions.
With the offense failing to put points on the board, the UMass defense had to shutdown the Delaware offense. Shaking off some early season woes, the Minutemen suffocated the Blue Hen’s passing game, holding them to 40 yards in the air. The Delaware offense was only able to muster 167 total yards. UMass finished with 459 yards of total offense.
UMass was effective in controlling the line of scrimmage, led by junior linebacker Josh Jennings. Jennings was able to stuff the run game, finishing with 16 tackles. On the other side of the ball, the UMass running game was consistent all day, led by junior Tony Nelson. Nelson finished with 163 yards rushing.
UMass finally capitalized with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter when senior kicker Armando Cuko hit a 38-yard field goal, giving the Minutemen a 10-7 lead.
UMass put the game on ice 1:58 later when junior Jeromy Miles intercepted Schoenhoft and returned it 52 yards for the touchdown, putting UMass up 17-7.
The CAA rivals have both been to the national championships in the last two years. UMass lost to Appalachian State in 2006. Delaware lost to Appalachian state last season.
UMass travels to Northeastern next Saturday. Delaware heads home to host Maine.