STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) – Penn State opened the 2023-24 football season last Saturday with a 38-15 win over West Virginia. Now the Nittany Lions will stay home to face the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens this Saturday, Aug. 9.

Penn State’s Drew Allar threw for 325 yards with a 72.4% pass completion rate with three touchdowns in his starting quarterback debut against the Mountaineers. Backup quarterback Beau Pribula contributed with a rushing touchdown in the final moments of the games, with just six seconds on the clock.

The Nittany Lions will be looking to carry the momentum into the matchup over Delaware.

Dissecting Delaware

The University of Delaware is an FCS football program that competes in the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware finished 8-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play last season. The Blue Hens exited the FCS Championship in the second round with a 42-6 loss to the No. 1 ranked South Dakota State.

Delaware is under the guidance of second-year head coach Ryan Carty, the first Delaware head coach to lead the Blue Hens to the FCS playoffs in the first season at the helm. This is the Delaware alum’s first head coaching position; prior to this role, Carty was an offensive coordinator at Sam Houston State for four years. There, he helped the team to the 2020 FCS National Championship.

Delaware lost their quarterback Nolan Henderson following the conclusion of last season. In their first game of the season, Ryan O’Connor got the start, but Zach Marker also took some snaps.

Key returning players for Delaware include graduate running back Kyron Cumby who led the team last season in rushing yards with 625 and graduate wide receiver Jourdan Townsend who led in receiving yards with 698.

Last time out

Delaware opened its season with a 37-13 win over Stony Brook, who hasn’t had a winning season since 2018, on Aug. 31. O’Connor went 24-for-38 for 346 passing yards with one touchdown in the win. Marker added four completed passes for 68 yards. Marcus Yarns was the rushing leader with 107 yards on 11 carriers for two scores.

It was a group-effort win with nine different receivers catching a pass including wide receivers Chandler Harvin and Kym Wimberly having five catches each. Harvin posted 100 receiving yards while Wimberly added 81 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, Tyron Herring was the leader with eight tackles with linebacker Jackson Taylor contributing seven. Herring had an interception along with defensive backs Christian Pierce and Ty Davis.

The start of something new

Penn State has never played Delaware before, in part because of the rule instated in 2015 by the Big Ten barring its schools from playing non-FBS teams. That rule was altered in 2017, allowing Penn State to take on Delaware for the first time in the school’s history this season.

The teams are not scheduled to meet again until 2027.