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Week Two Brings Blue Hens to Fisher Stadium

Sept. 6, 2016

 Lafayette vs. Delaware
 Gameday Info  GoLeopards.com Gameday
 Date  Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at 6 p.m.
 Location  Easton, Pa. | Fisher Stadium
 Tickets  Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office
 Game Notes  Lafayette Get Acrobat Reader | Delaware Get Acrobat Reader
 TV  Lafayette Sports Network (RCN 4/8, 1004/608 HD, WBPH-60)
 Gary Laubach, Mike Joseph, John Leone
 Live Streaming  GoLeopards.com
 Gary Laubach, Mike Joseph, John Leone
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Social Media  Twitter & Facebook

The Match-up: Week two keeps the Leopards "battling the blues," transitioning from the Blue Devils to Blue Hens as Delaware comes to Fisher Stadium for a 6 p.m. kick. Lafayette's home opener is the second game of a three-game series between the schools.

Reed's Reads: Senior Drew Reed emerged from camp as the starting quarterback and he showed why at Central Connecticut State. He completed 31-of-42 (both career highs) for 316 yards and three touchdowns. His 74 percent night did not include an interception. It was the third 300-yard passing game of his career.

Reed's Rewards: Reed garnered Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors, the third time in his career that he achieved the weekly acclaim and the first time since his freshman season of 2013 when he finished as the Patriot League Rookie of the Year runner-up.

At Central Connecticut State: Lafayette's 24-10 win at Central Connecticut opened the 135th season of Leopard football. Drew Reed threw touchdowns to Matt Mrazek, including two in the fourth quarter, to pull away. Defensively, Lafayette forced five turnovers, helping to snap a three-game losing streak in season openers. All-time, the Leopards are 86-46-3 in season openers.

Camp to Competition: Junior WR Matt Mrazek was singled out by the Leopard coaching staff as having an outstanding camp and it continued into the season opener at Central Connecticut. Mrazek kept finding his way open and into the endzone, making six catches for 93 yards and three touchdowns, the first three-touchdown performance since Mark Ross did it on Oct. 26, 2013.
Mrazek was the team's wide receiver MVP in 2015, starting seven of the eight games he played before missing the final three and a half after fracturing his clavicle. Despite missing that time, he led the team in receiving yards (495) and had the second-most catches on the team with 44.

Home Openers: Lafayette is 88-43-3 all-time in home openers. The last home-opening win was Sept. 13, 2014, a 50-3 victory over Robert Morris.

Reed for 5K: With 316 passing yards at Central Connecticut State, Drew Reed moved into sixth place at Lafayette for career passing yards with 5,233. He passed Shawn McHale '97 who had 4,970 yards and three-time Patriot League champion Brad Maurer '07 with 5,114 yards, to become the seventh Lafayette quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards.

The Series: Saturday marks the 27th meeting in a series that began in 1914 with a 41-0 Lafayette victory. The Blue Hens have claimed the last 12 outings with the most recent game a 19-9 decision in 2015 in Newark, Del. The two teams met almost every year from 1949 through 1972. They did not play in 1968 and 1969 and had the rare cancellation due to the flu in 1957. Delaware leads the series 19-7.

Forcing Turnovers: Throughout training camp, the Lafayette defensive coaching staff emphasized creating turnovers. The Leopards responded in the opener, forcing four turnovers in the first quarter. Brandon Bryant forced and Beau Bosch recovered a fumble on the first possession. Draeland James and Izaiah Avent intercepted passes on the next two possessions. On the final possession of the first quarter, Phillip Parham dislodged a ball that Jerry Powe recovered. In the fourth quarter, Avent forced a fumble and Andy Labudev recovered. It was the first time since Nov. 16, 2013 vs. Fordham that Lafayette forced five or more turnovers.

Holding Onto The Ball: Lafayette did not commit a turnover at Central Connecticut State, a feat it accomplished twice in 2015 (Princeton and Harvard).

About Delaware:

• Like Lafayette, Delaware got an early start to the season, hosting intrastate foe Delaware State on Thursday, Sept. 1. The Blue Hens ran away to a 56-14 victory.

• Delaware is coming off a 4-7 mark in 2015 and a 3-5 finish for eighth place in the Colonial Athletic Association, one of the nation's toughest FCS conferences. The Blue Hens managed wins over Lafayette, William & Mary, New Hampshire and Elon while dropping games to Jacksonville, Villanova, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Towson, Albany and James Madison.

• Delaware returns nine starters on offense and eight on defense while welcoming back 69 letterwinners. The Blue hens were picked to finish seventh of 12 teams in the CAA preseason poll.

• In 2016, the Delaware offense will have the services of redshirt junior tailback Wes Hills who played in just one game in 2015 due to a foot injury. He appears to be healthy, gashing the Delaware State defense for 212 yards while the Delaware running game finished with 395 total rushing yards in the opener.
In 2015, The Blue Hens' running game ranked second in the CAA and 17th in the NCAA in rushing offense at 219.4 yards per game.

• Redshirt sophomore Joe Walker returns under center after playing in 10 games as a freshman. He completed 70-of-158 for 605 yards with one touchdown and six interceptions. Walker was a threat to run, finishing 2015 with 422 yards on 119 carries with three touchdowns. He ran for 39 yards and a touchdown in the opener.

• Junior Diante Cherry is the leading returning receiver after making 30 catches for 294 yards a season ago. He had two receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown vs. Delaware State.

• Defensively, junior LB Charles Bell was a 2016 preseason All-CAA selection after garnering All-CAA Second-Team laurels in 2015 when he made 96 tackles. He picked off a pass in the 2015 meeting with Lafayette.

• Delaware is coached by Dave Brock (Salisbury State '94) who begins his fourth season as the head coach and holds an 18-18 mark at the school. Prior to coming to Delaware, he had assistant coaching stints at Rutgers, North Carolina, Temple, Hofstra, Kansas State and Boston College.

Young Team: A quick look at the roster shows the youth of the team, as 34 players make up the senior (13) and junior (21) classes while sophomores (23) and freshmen (28) account for 51 of the team's 85 players.

Nationally-Ranked Opponents: Three of Lafayette's 2015 opponents were ranked in the top 25. William & Mary, Fordham and Harvard all spent most of the season ranked in both polls. This year, Colgate is ranked 20th in the FCS Coaches Poll and 21st in the STATS Poll while Villanova is 19th and 22nd, respectively.

Red Zone: In the 2016 season opener, the Lafayette offense was 3-for-3 in the red zone, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal. Defensively, Lafayette stopped Central Connecticut State on all three of its opportunities.
The red zone proved problematic for the Leopards in 2015, who scored 18 times in 31 attempts (58%). Lafayette was 4-of-4 on offense in its win at Wagner, 2-of-3 vs. Bucknell, 4-of-4 vs. Colgate and 4-of-5 at Lehigh. Defensively, Lafayette allowed opponents to score on 41-of-45 (91%) attempts, with 33 of those scores touchdowns.