Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds (19) looks to pass against Delaware linebacker David Mackall (25) on Sept. 14 in Annapolis, Md. (Nick Wass / AP)
Navy Midshipmen slotback Marcus Thomas (26) and safety Wave Ryder (8) lead their team onto the field prior to the game against the Delaware Blue Hens at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. (Mitch Stringer / USA Today)
ANNAPOLIS, MD. — Delaware coach Dan Brock said his team needed to put the pressure on Navy early to have any chance of pulling off a victory Saturday in the Midshipmen’s home opener.
Instead, the Blue Hens fell behind early and never recovered in a 51-7 loss. It was Delaware’s most lopsided defeat in 17 games against Navy.
Trent Hurley, who is one of 11 FBS transfers on the Blue Hens roster, was 17 of 25 for 152 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. It was the most points Delaware allowed since a 49-21 loss to Appalachian State in the Football Championship Subdivision title game in 2007.
“I’m not going to let frustration rule the day,” Brock said. “The thing I’m most disappointed about is that we didn’t come out offensively and on special teams like we are capable of playing. We needed to come out today and put pressure on Navy to get them out of rhythm and we were not able to do it.”
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds completed 10 of 13 passes for a career-high 233 yards with two touchdowns, including a 63-yard strike to DeBrandon Sanders.
Reynolds also ran for 109 yards on 15 carries. Sanders finished with 86 yards on three receptions, while Geoffrey Whiteside rushed for two touchdowns. Navy (2-0) also forced three turnovers and amassed 591 yards on offense.
Navy has scored 92 points in its first two games, the most since the opening the 1975 season with victories over Virginia (42-14) and Connecticut (55-7). The Midshipmen also beat Delaware (2-1) for the third consecutive time and improved to 10-7 in the series, first played in 1931.
Navy scored on its first four possessions and had a 23-7 lead at the half. After Delaware stopped Navy on a 3rd and 1 with 2:10 left in the second quarter, the Midshipmen’s Pablo Beltran punted for the first time this season — a 53-yarder to the Delaware 3.
“This was a complete win,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We played a lot of guys. Our future is bright. We have to keep grinding and never forget that we are locker room of workers.”
The Midshipmen continued to pull away in the second half and increased the lead to 30-7 on their first possession on a 27-yard pass from Reynolds to Shawn Lynch. A pair of scoring runs by Whiteside and Chris Swain from 13 and 2 yards, respectively, on the next two possessions increased the margin to 44-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The Midshipmen pulled most of their offensive starters with 13:01 left in the game, allowing backup quarterback John Hendrick to run for a 1-yard score with nine minutes left in the game. It was the most points Navy scored in a home opener since 1977.
“I thought we were very efficient,” Reynolds said. “We made some big plays. It was just a team effort. It starts up front and the O-line played their butts off just like last week. We just got to keep building on what we’ve done.”
The Midshipmen opened a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 10-yard run by Darius State and a 24-yard field goal by Nick Sloan.
An interception by DJ Sargenti at the Delaware 44 set up Navy’s second touchdown, a 7-yard run by Whiteside for a 17-0 lead with 13:12 left in the half. The Midshipmen continued to dominate and took the 23-0 lead when Reynolds hit DeBrandon across the middle for a 63-yard score.
“All throughout camp, the coaches said they were going to have faith in me,” DeBrandon said. “I just trust in the blocking scheme and how everything will work. If we keep playing like this, good things are going to happen.”
The Blue Hens finally got on the board on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hurley to Ryan Cobb with 4:27 left in the second quarter. Delaware was just 1 for 7 on third-down conversions in the first half.
“We moved the ball but we did not score and it does not matter how far you move the ball, you have to punch it into the end zone,” Brock said. “We were not able to come away with points. We turned the ball over multiple times. We did some silly things that we have not done to this point but I am not discouraged because we will look to regroup, starting tomorrow.”