Delaware knocks off No. 10 Towson in thrilling fashion
Delaware battled back in an exciting 40-36 homecoming victory over nationally ranked CAA rival No. 10 Towson.
“We didn’t do anything right in the first half. Literally, we did not do a darn thing right,” Head Coach Danny Rocco said. “We had guys in good position who just couldn’t make a play, they were beating us to the ball.”
Delaware truly couldn’t do a darn thing right during the first half. Towson marched down and took a field goal on the first possession.
The long snapper Skyler Korinek sailed the ball over punter Nick Pritchard’s head and allowed Towson to redeem a safety. Towson sneaked in a field goal as time expired as a result of a crafty kickoff return, following a time-consuming, 13-play drive by Delaware.
The Tigers nickeled and dimed their way to an 18-6 advantage to close the first half.
Special team woes plagued the Blue Hens all day long. Two snaps over Pritchard’s head spotted Towson nine points, following a safety and a seven-yard drive for a touchdown.
The usually reliable Frank Raggo missed two extra points in a game where every point mattered. Towson’s Shane Simpson racked up 148 total kick return yards, including a long of 63 yards.
“[Special teams] was really painful. Painful to be honest,” Rocco said. “The game just got weird from that perspective. Could I trust my field goal unit? Could I trust my extra point unit? Could I punt the ball? Do we get in a situation where we go for it in fourth down?”
“At halftime, I took a hard stance. I drew a line in the dirt and just kind of said, ‘We’re underachieving. This is not who we are, I’m tired of having this type of impression of our team.’”
Delaware’s offense exploded during the second half. Kani Kane slammed Towson’s defenders for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Pat Kehoe tossed four touchdowns and 305 yards with a 56 percent completion rate.
Vinny Papale left Saturday night’s game feeling invincible. Papale not only had a career high in receptions and yards with eight catches for 142 yards, but added two scores, including the game winner.
“If you were in that huddle and you could see those guys in the huddle, you could see every guy in there knew we were gonna go down and score,” Papale said. “We didn’t want a field goal, we wanted to win the game.”
DeJoun Lee made a 47-yard return to place the offense on Towson’s 36-yard line. The offense took control with 2:01 left in the game and marched down the field.
Joe Walker had two big receptions of ten and sixteen, then Kehoe fired it to Papale in the right corner of the end zone for the game-clinching score.
Delaware snapped Towson’s five-game winning streak and broke the team’s stranglehold on the erence.
The Blue Hens are averaging 37.2 points per game during their win streak, which only acts as insurance to their highly touted defense. These Blue Hens control their own destiny entering the latter portion of the season and look to secure their first playoff berth since 2010.