Delaware RB Cuff scores 7 TDs
By David Coulson, FCS Editor
Williamsburg, VA (Sports Network) - Omar Cuff couldn't wait for the 2007 season to start and the senior running back from Delaware showed why Thursday night in the Blue Hens' season-opening 49-31 victory over William & Mary.
Cuff tied an FCS record and broke his own Delaware mark with seven touchdowns as the No. 19 ranked Blue Hens overwhelmed the Tribe in the first football game in Colonial Athletic Association history, played before 11,639 fans at Zable Stadium.
After suffering through an injury-plagued junior season and watching his team stumble to a 5-6 record, Cuff was anxious to get back on the field and he exploded with 30 carries for 244 yards and six TDs and caught four passes for 52 yards and a 19-yard score from quarterback Joe Flacco.
"Omar is a special, special player," said Delaware coach K.C. Keeler, who showed his affection for the senior by planting a kiss on Cuff's cheek in front of reporters after the game. "You don't realize how special he is until you lose him for awhile."
Cuff scored three first-half touchdown, one on a 38-yard cutback draw as Delaware (1-0) blew out to a 21-3 halftime lead and didn't look back. He added three more scoring runs of two, 20 and 10 yards in the second half and added the reception through the air.
His performance overshadowed a pair of great efforts by the two starting quarterbacks.
Flacco balanced the Delaware attack by completing 19-of-23 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
"There is nothing like coming out and putting up 49 points in the first game," said Flacco. "You can't be anything but happy when they stop you only one time in eight drives."
Jake Phillips had a school-record performance for William & Mary (0-1), hitting 26-of-41 passes for 433 yards and two scores. He also rushed 11 times for 29 yards. His 433 passing yards beat the mark of 426 set by Dave Corley in a 2000 game against Northeastern.
But the Tribe, though they moved the ball effectively at times, missed scoring on a pair of red-zone drives that could have made this one closer.
William & Mary piled up 542 yards of total offense, bettering Delaware's total of 483.
"There are some things we have to work on defensively," said Keeler. "We didn't get pressure (on the quarterback) at times."
Cuff rushed 14 times for 96 yards in the first half, scoring on two one-yard runs to go with his brilliant 38-yard scoring scamper. But that was just his opening act.
Every time that William & Mary seemed to be working its way back into the game, Cuff almost immediately answered.
"Delaware was a heck of a team, very strong and physical on the offensive line," said William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock. "We got behind and had to play catch-up.
"Cuff is a special player. We did everything we could think of, including some eight-man fronts and couldn't get off their blocks."
08/31 00:53:34 ET