Football: ‘Statement game’

After each of the College of William and Mary’s first three victories this year, the Tribe emphasized that its “real season” didn’t begin until the College faced its first CAA opponent. On Saturday, the Tribe finally opened its “real season” to a dominating result.

The College defeated Delaware 30-20 in front of a sellout crowd at Zable Stadium, improving its record to 4-0 for the first time since 1994.

Senior quarterback R.J. Archer threw for a career-high 313 yards and 2 touchdowns in the victory. On the receiving end of both of Archer’s touchdown passes was junior wide receiver Chase Hill, who led the Tribe with 6 catches for 148 yards.

“We played very well,” Head Coach Jimmye Laycock said. “At the end, we let some of the calls get to us and got a little disrupted. But other than that, it was a very good, solid effort on both sides of the ball.”

The Tribe defense was spectacular, holding the Blue Hens to -2 yards rushing — only the second time in Delaware history that the Blue Hens had been held below zero in that category. The College benefited from a suffocating defensive line, which was all over the Delaware backfield. Blue Hen quarterback Pat Devlin was sacked five times and pressured all night. Senior defensive end Adrian Tracy had two of those sacks, plus another 1.5 tackles for loss.

“The first thing we wanted to do was keep them one-dimensional,” Tracy said.

Offensively, Archer orchestrated another strong first-half performance through the air.

With 7:19 remaining in the first quarter and the ball at the Tribe nine-yard line, Archer dropped back into his own end zone, rolled right, and found Hill in stride near midfield. Hill outsprinted the Delaware defense en route to a 91-yard, untouched touchdown score.

The play was the longest pass completion in Tribe history.

Seven minutes later, Archer and Hill connected again, this time on a 20-yard score to up the lead to 14-0.

“Chase is always consistent,” Archer said. “He sees a lot of what I see out there, and he can read the coverages really well. I don’t think you can say that for a lot of receivers at other schools.”

With 1:45 left in the second quarter, Delaware mounted a brief comeback. Devlin completed a series of short, effective passes, slowly driving the ball into College territory. After receiving a sack from Tracy, Devlin got back up, stood tall in the pocket, and fired a 30-yard touchdown strike to Phillip Thaxton, putting up the first Blue Hen points of the game.

But on the first drive of the second half, the Tribe effectively squashed Delaware’s momentum with a 12-play, 70-yard touchdown drive of its own. Grimes capped the sequence with a nine-yard touchdown run, his first of the season, and the College was firmly in control.

After leading the way through the air in the first half, the College relied on the ground game throughout much of the second half, with Laycock seeking to eat up clock. Sophomore running back Jonathan Grimes turned in another strong performance, leading the College with 98 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while platooning with junior Courtland Marriner.

The two teams traded meaningless touchdowns in the latter stages of the fourth quarter, with Delaware scoring on two Devlin touchdown passes with 2:37 and 0:31 remaining.

That left the College with a perfect start to the CAA schedule, a part of their season they had been anticipating for a long time.

“It feels really good, when you put in all that effort in the offseason, and you are here all summer long,” junior linebacker Wes Steinman said. “To see it all pay off is great.”


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