Delaware hosts Villanova Saturday in 'Battle of the Blue'

Matt Leon
November 16, 2018 - 6:53 pm
Delaware Blue Hens Football / Villanova Wildcats Football

Villanova University Athletics


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- One of the best rivalries in FCS football will continue on Saturday down in Newark as Delaware hosts Villanova in the "Battle of the Blue."

This year, much more is at stake in this meeting for the Blue Hens than the Wildcats. While 4-6 Villanova's season will come to an end regardless of the outcome on Saturday, Delaware is in the mix for a piece of the Colonial Athletic Association title as well as a playoff berth. The playoff berth would be all but assured with a win on Saturday.

Delaware is 7-3 after last week's 17-3 loss at home to Stony Brook. The Blue Hens were held to 197 yards of offense and missed three field goals in the defeat.

"It was disappointing," said Delaware head coach Danny Rocco. "You had to feel defensively, even though Stony Brook ended up with some yards and some rushing yards, defensively we played well enough to win."

Villanova, meanwhile, lost its home finale last week to William & Mary 24-17. The Wildcats welcomed back quarterback Zach Bednarczyk from injury in that one, but they couldn't overcome four turnovers.

"No matter who you are playing," Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante said, "especially if you're playing a CAA opponent, you're in harm's way when you lose the turnover battle by a margin of four."

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Despite Villanova's struggles this year, Rocco knows they will give his team all it can handle on Saturday.

"Records are a tad overrated when it comes to rivalry games and match-ups," he said. "So we're certainly expecting to get their best shot."

Rocco talks about what makes Villanova dangerous.

"They still have the ability to make plays on offense," he said. "It's a very difficult offense to defend. They do a lot of option principles with their offense and then with the passing game off of those actions. Defensively, the style and their aggressiveness has been really their trademark over the years and the same thing this year."

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Ferrante is impressed with the Blue Hens.

"They're really good," he said. "They're really good on defense. They have a senior dominated team from what I saw on the depth chart and what you see on film."

Ferrante says this rivalry match-up is special for a lot of reasons.

"Number one, when you are looking at a rivalry game, it's a game where you have a lot of history in the game, and we have plenty of history with Delaware going back and forth," he said. "We've played them for a number of years, all the time. Another thing that develops that rivalry is geographically they are only 45 minutes down I-95. They recruit a lot of the same guys that we do, our guys know a lot of guys on their team and vice versa. So it's a great rivalry. It's a game that our guys look forward to."

Last year, these teams met in similar circumstances and Villanova rained on Delaware's parade, grabbing a 28-7 win on the Main Line. Villanova has actually won the last six meetings in this rivalry and the Wildcats lead the all-time series, 29-21-1.

Saturday's game gets underway at noon.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.