PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nolan Henderson threw two touchdown passes, and No. 7 Delaware beat rival and 10th-ranked Villanova 27-20 on Saturday, snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Wildcats and winning the Colonial Athletic Association season title.
The Blue Hens (5-0, 4-0) clinched one of 10 automatic bids into the FCS playoffs while Villanova (2-2, 2-2) most likely ends it season. The Division I Football Championship Committee will release the 16-team playoff bracket on Sunday.
The Wildcats had possession at their 23 with 1:08 to play, but Nijuel Hill intercepted Daniel Smith’s overthrown ball on first down to seal it. Villanova had committed only one turnover this season and had gone four straight games against Delaware without one.
It was the first time since 1998 that both teams were ranked in the top 10. Villanova entered having won 12 of the last 13 “Battle of the Blue” games.
Henderson was 20-of-24 passing for 270 yards. He threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jourdan Townsend with eight seconds remaining in the first half that gave the Blue Hens a 13-7 lead. Henderson’s 18-yard TD pass to Bryce De Maille stretched it to 20-10 late in the third.
Khory Spruill’s 3-yard touchdown run made it 27-10 with 8:20 remaining. The drive included Henderson’s 45-yard pass to Thyrick Pitts, who surpassed 1,000 career yards receiving on the play. Pitts finished with five catches for 104 yards.
Smith completed 12 of 29 passes for 143 yards and threw two touchdown passes. Yet Smith, somersaulting after being tripped by linebacker Johnny Buchanan, was able to flick an awkward 1-yard TD pass to Charlie Gilroy that capped the scoring with 3:06 left.
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