The Delaware Blue Hens are set to move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and join Conference USA in 2025. Ahead of that move, the school has announced their inaugural game at the FBS level.
Delaware will open the 2025 season against the in-state rival Delaware State Hornets on Thursday, Aug. 28 at Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del.
“We are excited to continue our relationship with Delaware State,” Delaware Director of Athletics, Community, and Campus Recreation Chrissi Rawak said. “As we make this transition to FBS football, I’m grateful we can maintain our strong and important rivalry for the 302. Our regular competitions in any sport is a great way to bring the whole state together to support its two Division I programs.”
Back in 2019, Delaware and Delaware State agreed to a six-game series and the first two games were set to be hosted by Delaware State in 2024 and 2025. The Blue Hens would then host games in 2026, 2027, and 2029, with the sixth and final game of the series “…determined by the first five meetings.”
With Delaware moving up to the FBS, that contract will likely be significantly changed or superseded by a new agreement.
“As we continue to rebuild our football program, we welcome the opportunity to maintain the Route One Rivalry as it represents our shared vision for the future of Division I athletics in the State of Delaware,” said Delaware State Director of Athletics Alecia Shields-Gadson.
Delaware and Delaware State first met on the gridiron in the 2007 I-AA Playoffs and have squared off 11 times overall. Delaware won the most recent meeting, 35-9, in 2022 and now leads the overall series 11-0.