Hurley shines in debut, breaks Devlins’s record
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2012 11:09
Sophomore quarterback Trent Hurley had a reason to smile in his first game as the Hens’ starter, going 24 for 35 with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He led Delaware to a 41-21 rout of West Chester University Thursday night.
He summed up his debut at Delaware stadium in two words.
“It’s fun,” he said through a toothy grin.
He performed to a blue and gold crowd of over 18,000 tailgaters, band members and all. Delaware football was back and head coach K.C. Keeler said Hurley impressed him in his first start.
“You got to love his talent,” Keeler said. “He is not afraid to pull the ball down and he is a tough guy. He got himself out of trouble a couple of times and made some plays downfield, but again, the more snaps he gets the better he’s going to be.”
Hurley’s first touchdown toss came in the first quarter about five minutes into the game. He found Michael Johnson on a corner route from 19 yards out. Johnson was wide open and Hurley lobbed it in perfectly. It appeared he intended to look off the safeties and then found Johnson, a smart play from a young quarterback.
The key to setting up the scoring drive was senior defensive back Tim Breaker, who forced a fumble on a big hit. The Golden Rams’ receiver caught the ball, took two steps and was leveled by Breaker. The ball flew into the air and was recovered by senior defensive lineman Ethan Clark.
“We try and make as many plays as we can,” Breaker said. “Coach always tells us to fly around and if you run to the ball you just have to make plays.”
He also intercepted a pass on West Chester’s next drive that set up Johnson’s 19-yard reverse touchdown run. Hurley was the lead blocker on the play and Johnson gave him credit for lowering his head and finishing the block.
“I soaked it in, I soaked it in,” Johnson said of his first career rushing touchdown. “When he called my number I just got to make a play, he called my number for a reason.”
However, with a young quarterback there is the good and the bad, which showed when the quarterback threw three interceptions. He said it was not because of lack of experience and took full responsibility.
One of those picks included Hurley attempting to dive in to score at the goal line, but he got knocked back and then tried to throw for a score. It was a fearless play by the athletic Hurley, but Keeler said he was trying to do too much. A field goal would have been better in that situation.
“It wasn’t a good one,” Hurley said. “I tried to run it in and got stood up pretty good but stayed on my feet, and I thought I had our tight end in the flat wide open, but he wasn’t really wide open.”
Despite the three interceptions, Hurley did break the Hens’ record for most passing yards in a debut game. Who held that record before Thursday? Pat Devlin, who led Delaware to the Football Championship Subdivision Championship in 2010
Devlin's record was not the only statistical feat broken, as senior wideout Rob Jones went over 1,000 career receiving yards on a 63-yard pass from Hurley. Jones was wide-open on a screen and go. He said the Hens ran screens all night and the defenders bit on the screen, which allowed him to get open deep.
Hurley said he would not have even see Jones if it was not for his long dreadlocks bouncing around in the air.
“Once the defense seen the screen and react down to the ball, I just kept moving,” Jones said. “I didn’t even know Trent still had the ball and I’m going to keep running and five seconds later, I saw the ball in the air. I just made sure I concentrated and I lost it in the lights for a second, but just concentrated on the point of the ball and took it in high and tight to the end zone.”
The offense did not disappoint and put up plenty of points. However, the defense gave up three touchdowns and 400 total yards. West Chester running back Rondell White racked up 220 yards rushing. White accounted for all three of the Golden Rams’ scores.
Overall, Keeler said he was impressed with the offensive and defensive performances. He said the first game of the season allowed the team to see some of the mistakes they made and try to fix them for next week.
“Defensively, we can’t let a Division II school run the ball at us,” Keeler said. “They did a good job mixing up how they [WCU] ran the ball and we need to take a look on how to fix things.”
The Hens will look to solidify the defense and turn the ball over less next Saturday against Delaware State in the Route 1 Rivalry game. Maybe the fans will see another win and more of Hurley’s winning grin.