Football improves to 4-0 with 51-21 rout of CAA foe
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 21:09
As the rain sheeted down on Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, Va., the No. 8 Delaware football team pushed through the weather and a 80-minute rain delay to win, 51-21, against William & Mary Saturday night to open its CAA campaign.
Head coach K.C. Keeler was pleased with the result. He said in his weekly press conference on Monday that to win on the road in the CAA is tough and that a score such as the one on Saturday is an anomaly.
“I told the kids going into this game that in the CAA, seven points is a blowout,” he said. “And it’s really tough to win on the road, and those things are still true, but we played really well.”
The opening points came with 6:37 left in the first quarter when junior Sean Baner kicked a 20-yard field goal to put the Hens up 3-0. With 4:00 left in the first half, junior defensive tackle Zach Kerr returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown.
When the teams went out for the second quarter, Delaware was up 10-0, but that score would change, for a touchdown by sophomore quarterback Trent Hurley from one yard out and the resulting extra point gave the Hens a lead of 17.
With 6:37 left in the second quarter, junior defensive back Travis Hawkins ran a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards for a touchdown and set a new NCAA record. Sophomore defensive end Laith Wallschleger blocked the field goal. Keeler said the defensive line has been playing well.
“Zach Kerr and Laith Wallschleger are the two kids we need to keep on getting better,” Keeler said. “Because I think they are the two best players in the country.”
Though William & Mary scored a touchdown with 3:26 left in the first half to make the score 24-7, Sean Baner put up a season-record 48-yard field goal right at the end of the second quarter to give the Hens a 20-point lead. Later on, Baner kicked his 15th straight field goal, tying the school mark set by Jon Striefsky in 2007, and he is 10 for 10 this season.
Baner kicked the field goal into the wind right as the storm was coming in. Baner credits his practice kicking into the wind as a big help.
“It’s gotten to a point this year, the whole entire summer when it was windy, I always kick into the wind,” Baner said. “I don’t kick it with the wind, because I find that I don’t even like kicking field goals with the wind, because I feel like it’s cheating.”
Delaware picked up where they left off in the third quarter, with junior running back Andrew Pierce landing into the end zone off of a 23-yard run. Pierce rushed for 111 yards on the day.
During the third quarter, the rain started to come down hard and the referees called a delay on the game. Keeler said he was worried that many players would be stiff after the storm passed, which would lead to injuries. However, only red-shirt freshman defensive linebacker David Tinsley is a question mark for this week.
“I was conscious about injuries,” Keeler said. “And that’s why I tried to get as many guys off the field when we got the 51-14 lead as possible and try to save some guys for the following week.”
Baner said the joking and the camaraderie in the locker room during the delay helped keep him loose.
“We honestly just had fun in the locker room,” Baner said. “I did a couple stretches here and there. We all just had fun in the locker room, we weren’t too serious, we weren’t joking around too much and that kept me loose.”
When the game finally restarted, Pierce ran a 4-yard touchdown with 3:26 remaining in the third, and then freshman defensive linebacker Vince Hollerman ran a 45-yard fumble recovery. Baner made both extra points to put the Hens up 48-7.
William and Mary rounded out the third quarter by scoring with 1:07 left to put the score at 48-14. Baner put away a 20-yard field goal with 10:17 left in the fourth to make the score 51-14. William & Mary scored the final touchdown of the game with 6:15 left, but the outcome had long been decided.
The team plays an away game against the University of New Hampshire on Saturday. Keeler said New Hampshire and Delaware will be a good matchup, regardless of the Wildcats’ 0-1 CAA record.
“This is a huge game coming up with New Hampshire,” Keeler said. “They’re very balanced offensively, very creative offensively. They’re very sound defensively, I think they got in a tough matchup and wore down in the fourth quarter.”