Maine’s Black Bears maul Hens, 26-3
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 20:10
In the last six quarters, Delaware football allowed 60 points while only scoring seven and has lost two consecutive games.
Injuries, blocking and tackling led to the Hens demise Saturday when they lost to the Maine Black Bears 26-3, in front of a season-high crowd of 21,506 on Parents and Family Weekend. Delaware fell to 4-2 (1-2 CAA) while Maine improved to 2-3 (1-1 CAA).
“Very disappointing,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “We knew we might be a little short handed going into the game but we talked about it and next man up.”
The Hens are fighting several injuries, but none bigger than the loss of running back Andrew Pierce, who had just two carries for 10 yards in the game. Pierce tweaked his hamstring during Thursday’s practice and was just not himself, according to coach Keeler.
“He didn’t lose any strength, you could just see he was not comfortable out there,” Keeler said. “Two weeks will do wonders for him.”
Junior Julian Laing replaced Pierce and recorded 76 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 51 yards. Laing said he knew would be seeing a lot more playing time after an injury to senior running back David Hayes earlier in the season. Following the injury to Pierce Laing got his opportunity to show his teammates his ability.
“We all play to make a difference in the game and when an opportunity comes up you try to make the best of it,” Laing said.
The Black Bears took advantage of some of the losses and were able to control the game from the opening kickoff. Maine took the lead on their opening drive and never relinquished it after quarterback Marcus Wasilewski connected with wide receiver Damarr Aultman for a 22-yard touchdown. Delaware answered with a drive of their own that resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Sean Baner, but missed several opportunities to score on touchdowns on the drive.The first chance came when sophomore quarterback Trent Hurley overthrew sophomore wide receiver Michael Johnson, who was open near the goal line. A few plays later tight end sophomore Ryan Cobb dropped a pass in the end zone and the Hens had to settle for a field goal, which were the only points scored for Delaware all game.
“Some things went against us, but we needed to get seven,” Keeler said. “You can’t give those up and we did.”
Late in the first quarter Delaware defensive lineman Laith Wallschleger blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt. The block was Wallschleger’s third of the season and the fourth of his career. He is one block shy of tying the Delaware single season record for blocks in a season, which was set by Tom Parks in 2004-2005. He also tied Parks’ record for career blocks at four.
Maine extended their lead in the second quarter when senior punter Rauley Zaragoza mishandled a snap near the Hens’ goal line and kicked the ball out of the back on the end zone.
After the safety, Maine needed only three plays for a touchdown when Wasilewski and Aultman connected up again, this time for 50 yards. Going into halftime Maine controlled the game, 16-3.
Both Keeler and linebacker Paul Worrilow said Saturday’s poor performance was due to a bad practice at the end of the week.
“We had a good Tuesday, good Wednesday, an all right Thursday and that might be an indicator of how we came out and played,” Worrilow said. “It is a little bit shocking what happened today.”
After another Delaware punt, Maine took the ball and drove 89 yards in five plays to extend their lead to 23-6 after Wasilewski hit wide receiver Maurice McDonald for a 16-yard touchdown. Maine faced no third downs on the drive, which lasted just under two minutes, and gained 58 yards rushing.
The offensive line struggled as a unit letting up nine sacks and gaining only 47 yards on the ground. Maine defensive lineman Michael Cole recorded five sacks in the game. Cole led the CAA last year in sacks with 11 and is 6.5 sacks away from the Maine school record of 27.5 sacks set by Mike Denino from 1986 to 1989.
“We were confident coming into this game but something happened and it got to us a little bit,” junior offensive lineman Brandon Heath said about the poor pass protection. “It’s just execution, that’s all it is.”
Early in the third quarter, Delaware began to gain momentum as they put together a 14 play, 70-yard drive, but one again failed to capitalize.