Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 2, Page 6
Winter 1994
What a wonderful year for football

     University of Delaware veteran head football coach Tubby Raymond often
said during the 1993 season that his team had the chance to be anything.
     And he was right. But were the Blue Hens the team that dominated the
likes of conference powers William & Mary and Richmond? Or were they really
the team that lost to James Madison and Towson State and struggled in wins
over West Chester, Maine and Northeastern universities?
     Fortunately, the Blue Hens had the chance to show what kind of team
they really were when it counted. When the NCAA I-AA playoffs rolled
around, the Blue Hens were peaking, and if not for a last-second field goal
by Marshall's David Merrick in a 34-31 quarterfinals loss Dec. 4, Delaware
was set to make its second straight trip to the national semifinals.
     The 1993 edition of the University of Delaware football team finished
with a 9-4 overall record and a 6-2 Yankee Conference mark. The Hens were
runners-up in the Lambert Cup Trophy balloting, ranked No. 18 in the final
I-AA poll and qualified for the playoffs for an unprecedented third
straight year. Along the way, the Hens earned their 500th all-time football
victory, joining just nine other I-AA schools in that category.
     "I think, in terms of the objectives we set out in the beginning, we
exceeded every expectation," says Raymond, who owns 232 victories in 28
seasons at Delaware. "This was a very good year. Considering everything
that we did, there were things that were most outstanding, unbelievable.
This team came a long way. They were a lot better football team in December
than they were in August, and that is what's important."
     Delaware offensive coordinator Ted Kempski, who directed an offense
that ranked all season among the nation's top rushing and scoring teams,
echoed Raymond's sentiments.
     "It's going to be awfully difficult to duplicate this season," says
Kempski of a team that led the Yankee Conference in rushing offense (303.2
yards per game) and scoring offense (37.3 points per game). "This was one
of those ones that was maybe a once-in-a-lifetime job. This year, for the
first time that I can remember, we didn't have one offensive position that
we tried to hide."
     The Hens jumped out to a 4-0 mark, running up big totals of wins over
Lehigh (62-21), highly regarded William & Mary (42-35), Rhode Island
(32-11) and West Chester (56-41), before a disappointing 42-38 loss at
James Madison Oct. 9 in Harrisonburg, Va., ended the streak. But, the Hens
bounced back and downed rival Villanova 19-7 the next week before a
Delaware Valley television audience.
     The win was big, but the Hens suffered an even bigger loss when
quarterback Dale Fry, who was the No. 2-ranked quarterback in I-AA football
at the time, suffered a broken right clavicle in the first half that
sidelined him for the next four games.
     "Fry would have been the best quarterback we've ever had if he had
been able to play the whole season," says Raymond, "and we've had some good
     The Hens struggled the next few weeks, falling to Massachusetts 43-29,
surviving a 21-19 win over Maine when the Black Bears missed a short field
goal to end the game and losing to Towson State 32-30 on a Tiger touchdown
with 10 seconds left to play. But then, the Hens started to peak.
     A decisive 48-10 win over Richmond followed Nov. 13, leaving just one
regular season game for the Hens to prove their readiness for a playoff
berth. The Hens needed to win at Northeastern to keep any post-season hopes
alive, and they did just that. Barely. Delaware nipped the Huskies 28-23 as
Blue Hen defensive end Domenic Botto recovered a Northeastern fumble inside
the 2-yard line in the closing seconds to preserve the win.
     The Hens' prayer for an NCAA I-AA playoff invitation came true. And,
the team received as tough a first-round opponent as possible. Delaware had
to travel to chilly, Big Sky country to take on the University of Montana,
the No. 2-ranked team in the country with the nation's top passing attack.
In one of the most exciting games in U.D. history, the Hens survived with a
49-48 victory as freshman quarterback Leo Hamlett came off the bench to
spark the Hens in the second half on the frozen field and clinch the win
when he hit Keita Malloy on a 48-yard touchdown pass with just 55 seconds
left to play.
     It was on the road again the next week as the Hens had to travel to
defending national champion Marshall University of Huntington, W.Va., the
same site where the Hens ended the 1992 season with a 28-7 semifinal loss
to the Thundering Herd. Fry, back from his injury, returned to the Blue Hen
lineup and sparked a Blue Hen comeback in the fourth quarter that just fell
short when Marshall kicked the winning field goal in the closing seconds.
     The 1993 season was full of outstanding individual exploits. Junior
fullback Daryl Brown (Landover, Md.) established a school record for
rushing yards in a season (1,469) and broke Chuck Hall's 20-year-old career
record with 3,286 yards; senior defensive lineman and co-captain Matt
Morrill (Neshanic Station, N.J.) earned All-American honors for the second
straight year and established a school record with 30 career sacks; senior
offensive tackle Matt Wildes (Farmingdale, N.Y.) earned second-team,
All-American honors in leading a veteran line that consistently opened big
holes for the U.D. runners; senior spread end Dan Cooper (West Hempstead,
N.Y.) finished his career as the No. 3 pass catcher in campus history with
105 receptions; senior linebacker Mike Bandish (Moorestown, N.J.) led the
team in tackles for the second straight season and ended his career with
317 stops, No. 2 on the all-time Blue Hen career list; senior halfback
Lanue Johnson (Media, Pa.) became the first player to rush for over 2,000
yards and receive for over 1,000 yards in a career; and senior Keita Malloy
(Washington, D.C.) proved to be one of the most versatile performers ever
at Delaware, playing regularly at spread end, cornerback, punt returner,
kick returner and holder.
     The 1993 season was a special year for a special football program. And
don't look now, but spring practice is right around the corner.
                                                  -Scott Selheimer