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Delaware Moves Season Opener vs. West Chester
The 2009 season opener for the University of Delaware football team will come sooner than expected.
University of Delaware Director of Athletics Edgar N. Johnson announced today that the Blue Hens have moved their football season opener against West Chester up one day and that the Blue Hens and Golden Rams will square off on Friday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at Delaware Stadium.
The game will mark the 51st all-time meeting between the two schools since the first game in 1941. The teams have played every season since 1968 except for the 2001 campaign when the game was cancelled due to the 9/11 tragedies.
The game will be just the sixth weeknight game played in the history of Delaware Stadium but the first to take place on a Friday evening. Delaware has played five Thursday night games, most recently in 2004 when the Hens met New Hampshire.
“We wanted to give all of our students and fans the chance to cheer on the Blue Hens on Friday night and then get an early start on their Labor Day weekend activities,” said Johnson in citing one of the reasons for the switch. “Early season night games have been extremely popular over the years and we are looking forward to another exciting evening at Delaware Stadium. I want to thank West Chester AD Ed Matejkovic and head coach Bill Zwaan for all their cooperation in moving this game.”
The game will not be in conflict with high school football games in Delaware as the state’s scholastic schedule does not begin until Sept. 11 this coming fall. Although the kickoff time for recent night games at Delaware Stadium has been at 6 p.m., this game will be a 7 p.m. start to better accommodate fans coming directly from work.
West Chester, which will open its 2009 season on Thursday, Aug. 27 at Lock Haven, is coming of another outstanding season in 2008 when the Rams posted a 9-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the fifth straight season.
Delaware, which advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game in 2007, is looking to bounce back from a 4-8 record last fall. The Hens return over 20 players with starting experience, including 14 from a defense that ranked among the better units in the Colonial Athletic Association last fall.
Delaware is still looking to fill the Sept. 19 home game that was left open when Furman announced last week that they had dropped the Blue Hens from their schedule in order to play a game at the University of Missouri on that date.
Below is Delaware’s 2009 schedule, including a Sept. 12 matchup with defending national champion Richmond at Delaware Stadium. The West Chester game is the only game in which a starting time has been determined.
Sept. 4 vs. West Chester, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12 vs. Richmond (Band Day); Sept. 19, Opponent to be announced; Sept. 26 at William & Mary; Oct. 3 at Maine; Oct. 10 vs. Massachusetts (Parents & Family Weekend); Oct. 17 at Towson; Oct. 24, Open Date; Oct. 31 vs. James Madison (Homecoming); Nov. 7 vs. Hofstra (Hall of Fame Day); Nov. 14 at Navy; Nov. 21 at Villanova.
By University of Delaware Sports Information