Despite outgaining the Blue Hens 228-201 in total yards, the newly nationally-ranked Tribe was trounced by Delaware 24-3 on Saturday, Nov. 6, to fall to 6-3 (4-2 CAA) on the year. This leaves the Tribe into a more questionable position as far as post-season hopes are concerned.
The Tribe amassed only 105 yards rushing, which was 109 less than its season average, and this deficit allowed the Blue Hens to gain a greater degree of control over the flow of the game. The team was without ground-game pillar Donavyn Lester, who got hurt a week prior at Villanova, and the loss was noticeable. Freshman quarterback Darius Wilson threw for 123 yards but no touchdowns.
The Tribe went up 3-0 midway through the first quarter on a field goal from redshirt freshman Ethan Chang, but the Blue Hens scored two touchdowns to take a 14-3 lead at halftime. Adjustments failed the Tribe, with Delaware shutting the College out in the second half and scoring 10 more points to put the game well out of reach and lead to the 24-3 final.
Head Coach Mike London said the team was simply outgunned in this one from top to bottom.
“They out-executed us and outplayed us in a lot of scenarios that we’ve been pretty good at,” London said. “They outcoached us and just played harder. We tried to come back in the [second] half, but against a good football team like that, we had our work cut out for us.
The good thing is, there are ways for us to improve as a football team. Knowing that the next two games are home, we can finish the way these guys deserve.”
London stressed execution and buttoning up the little things for the home stretch of the 2021 campaign.
“There were a couple of times we had guys wide open but didn’t get the ball to them,” London said. “That goes back to us executing. If you’re going to play good teams and play close games, you’ve got to be able to execute those things.”
In a bit of a bizarre game stats-wise, it was miscues that sunk the Tribe ship more than a deficit in yardage. A fumbled punt on the Tribe 12-yard line led to one Blue Hen touchdown, another resulted from an interception from Wilson, and a failed fourth down attempt resulted in a third.
London stressed the importance of field position in gaining momentum in the game.
“That was huge,” London said about the difference. “It’s critical with the field position when you start a possession on the other side of the 50. You get opportunities for field goals at least.”
The Tribe will next take the gridiron in the familiar confines of Zable Stadium this Saturday, Nov. 12, for a huge game against James Madison, ranked third in the nation. This contest will have direct implications for the Tribe’s playoff hopes, with a win putting it right back in contention for the tournament and a loss making it very difficult to secure a spot. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be broadcast on FloSports and Cox. London stressed the importance of the contest and urged students to support his team’s no-quit attitude.
“Hopefully a lot of people will be there and we can celebrate the fact that this team is not going to quit,” London said. “We’re ready to move on after we get these things corrected.
You can go over and talk about the things we didn’t do… But there are plenty of opportunities to have a measured amount of success.”