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Delaware Routs St. Francis 56-17 in Opening Round of FCS Playoffs

The Blue Hens made it look easy against the Red Flash.

Syndication: Wilmington News Journal Benjamin Chambers/Delaware News Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

After Delaware upset Navy back in Week 1, a lot of people put a lot of stock into the Blue Hens, and maybe rightfully so. First-year head coach Ryan Carty’s team, though, took some lumps this season and wound up limping their way into the playoffs. On Saturday quarterback Nolan Henderson made fans in Newark forget about the recent struggles, however, as he lit up visiting St. Francis.

On the opening drive Henderson found Chandler Harvin for a big gain before. Later on the drive Henderson called his own number and sprinted in from 13 yards out. Delaware tried a two-point conversion that failed.

The Blue Hens added on with another touchdown later in the first when

The Red Flash finally got the big play they needed late in the first after what appeared to be a disaster at first. The UD special teams unit blocked a punt and gave the offense the ball inside the red zone. Henderson tried for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon but was hit by Travell Cook. Henderson coughed the ball up into the end zone where it was recovered by St. Francis for a touchback.

Doyle and the Red Flash had a newfound sense of life and drove down into the Delaware red zone. It was there, though, that the drive petered out and they had to settle for a field goal; something that can ill-afford to be done against a team like the Hens.

The St. Francis defense rose to the occasion, though, and held Delaware scoreless on their next two possessions. The problem was, however, that Doyle and the offense were also unable to produce. Eventually the empty trips came back to bite them.

Henderson hooked up with Thyrick Pitts late in the second quarter then found Harvin with under a minute to go until the break to put Delaware on top 28-3 at the intermission. To make matters worse, Doyle went down with a leg injury before half. The rout was on and the Red Flash were in a tailspin.

Justin Sliwoski came in for Doyle but found no success either and St. Francis went three and out on their opening drive. Meanwhile the Blue Hens tacked on seven more thanks to another Henderson-to-Harvin touchdown pass. Harvin went 58 yards to the house to make it 35-3.

St. Francis finally picked up their first touchdown of the afternoon in the third quarter when Dawson Snyder hauled in a 12-yard scoring pass from Sliwoski. Outside of that, though, Delaware poured it on in the closing frame.

The Blue Hens special teams even got in on the scoring late when Lovell Armstead fumbled on a kickoff return and Brandon Dennis picked it up in the end zone. That touchdown made it 56-10 and put the finishing touches on a blowout win for UD.

Henderson threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns while Kyron Cumby ran for 111 yards on just 10 touches, good for an average of 11.1 per carry. On defense, star linebacker Johnny Buchanan registered 15 tackles (seven solo).

The Hens now have a date with the #1 overall seed South Dakota State next weekend in Brookings.