Rain delay didn’t dampen Rt. 1 rivalry
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 21:09
Nothing could stop Delaware football on Saturday: not rain, not a 50-minute delay, not the Delaware State Hornets.
The Hens beat the Hornets 38-14 at Delaware Stadium in front of a crowd of 16,898. After the delay at halftime, during which the stadium was evacuated, a few hundred fans came back to support the team despite the rain.
For the second week in a row, the defense set the tone for the offense when senior free safety Ricky Tunstall intercepted a ball that went off the hands of Hornets’ tight end Ryan Langdon and Delaware’s Tim Breaker. He then weaved his way through everyone in white and followed a pack of blue and gold into the end zone for a 91-yard interception return.
“We had five DBs out there and it was tipped,” Tunstall said. “Coach always says run to the ball, so I tried my best to run the ball. Timmy [Breaker] tipped it and I switched on my receiver mode and tried to get in the end zone.”
Head coach K.C. Keeler said he and his coaching staff had considered making Tunstall a wide receiver at one point in his career. Tunstall said as soon as he got the ball he knew he was going to score.
Sophomore quarterback Trent Hurley was also impressed with Tunstall’s moves. He said the play really got the offense ready to go.
“Ricky came up with a huge play,” Hurley said. “After that we were on the sideline and we said, ‘Hey we got a game. Let’s go. We need to put a drive together.’”
There was concern for the Hens’ success because the Hornets had driven the ball down the field twice on Delaware. Delaware State seemed like they were going to put points on the board again until Tunstall made his interception.
Tunstall’s interception was not the only big defensive play in the first quarter. On the Hornets’ first drive, senior defensive lineman Laith Wallschleger blocked Delaware State’s field goal.
The Hornets had dominated the stats in the first quarter but found themselves down 7-0.
The Hens took control from then on. They put together a four minute, 70-yard drive that was capped off by Hurley finding sophomore wideout Michael Johnson on a 14-yard slant route that ended in the end zone.
On its next drive, Delaware State punted and the Hens drove the ball down the field again. Hurley sneaked into the end zone from one yard out to make the score 21-0. The key to the drive was a fourth-down conversion by senior punter Rauley Zaragoza who took the snap and sprinted nine yards for the first down.
Keeler said he was happy overall with the team’s performance, but was not happy with the offensive line. He said the Hens are frustrated that they are unable to run the ball against teams they believe are weaker than them.
Keeler was also upset with how many hits Hurley took because of the lack of protection. Hurley, on the other hand, encouraged his line and said he said taking hits is part of football.
“It’s football, you are going to get hit,” he said. “Football is for men, you can’t be a sissy and play. The line was asking me how was protection and I was like, ‘Just keep doing your jobs, just keep doing your jobs. If I get hit I get hit.’”
In the fourth quarter, Hurley lobbed a pass to redshirt freshman Jerel Harrison for an 18-yard touchdown pass. However, Hurley did not see Harrison catch the ball because he was flat on his back after being walloped by a Delaware State lineman.
“There is a combination of five offensive linemen,” Keeler said. “We have not figured that out yet and so we will definitely look at the film and work hard at practice this week to see what direction we will go with the offensive line.”
Keeler said they are really going to look at film Sunday and Monday to figure out the right five linemen. However, Keeler said he was really impressed by Harrison’s two-touchdown performance. He was named Special Teams Player of the Week against West Chester and had the chance to play against Delaware State due to injuries to senior wide receivers Rob Jones and Nihja White.
Senior linebacker Paul Worrilow, a Delaware native, racked up 18 total tackles and was named the Nate Beasley Game Most Valuable Player. However, Worrilow said he wasn’t keeping track of how many tackles he had, but his teammates were joking with him by saying he had 20.