Blue Hens Pull Off Incredible Comeback in Final Minute, Stun Seventh-Ranked Towson, 32-31
TOWSON, Md. -- The University of Delaware put together one of the most improbable comebacks in Blue Hen football history Saturday night and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
Down by 21 points early in the final quarter, the No. 21 ranked Blue Hens scored 15 points in the final 48 seconds with quarterback Trevor Sasek (below left) throwing two touchdowns passes as well as a decisive two-point conversion toss to Rob Jones with 19 seconds left, to lead Delaware to a 32-31 Colonial Athletic Association football upset over No. 7 Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Towson (8-2, 4-2 CAA), which had a two-game win streak snapped, had scored 24 unanswered points to go up 31-17 early in the second half before Delaware (7-2, 4-1 CAA) mounted its comeback to extend its winning streak to three games. The Blue Hens moved past Towson into second place in the CAA standings.
“We are thrilled to get this win,” said Delaware head coach Dave Brock, whose squad won its second straight road game and avenged on overtime loss to the Tigers a year ago at Delaware Stadium. “It gives us a lot of confidence because we know we can beat a championship calibre team like Towson. I’m excited for those young guys in the lockerroom. They fought hard and they earned it. We can draw on this win for a long time. This victory will do Delaware football a lot of good.”
The fourth-quarter, 21-point comeback was the largest in school history, surpassing a 29-24 win over McNeese State in 1974 when Delaware trailed 24-6 early in the final stanza.
Jalen Randolph scored on a one-yard dive with 11:26 left to cut the Tigers’ margin to 31-17 and Sasek hit Michael Johnson on an 11-yard scoring toss with 48 seconds left to pull UD to within 31-24.
Delaware then converted on onside kick with Jones recovering the attempt by backup kicker Garrett Greenway at the Towson 49-yard line. Sasek, a senior who was thrust into the starting spot Thursday when Blue Hen starter Trent Hurley was scratched due to an injury suffered last week in the win at Rhode Island, went to work again. He hit Jones on a 28-yard pass and followed with a 30-yard toss to Jerel Harrison (at right). Sasek and Jones then hooked up again for a three-yard touchdown connection in the front of the end zone to cut the slim Towson margin to 31-30.
Brock and the Hens then went for the win and got what they came for. After Towson called a timeout, Delaware lined up for the conversion and won the game as Sasek hit Jones once again in the front of the end zone, setting off a wild celebration by the Blue Hens. Towson returned the ensuing kickoff but after several laterals, could not advance to the ball.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said Sasek, who reached career-highs by completing 34 of 46 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. “I was confident at the end because I looked at the guys around me and saw that they had no doubt. We had so much energy and I knew we were going to down and try to win the game.”
The Blue Hens downed the Tigers for the sixth time in the last seven meetings and posted their highest win over a ranked team on the road since a 13-10 victory at No. 3 ranked James Madison on Oct. 2, 2010. In that game, Sasek, then a sophomore, took over for injured All-American Pat Devlin on the first series of the game and led the Blue Hens to a last second victory.
Delaware receivers had a huge night as Harrison caught a career-high 12 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, Johnson hauled in six passes for 71 yards and a score, and Jones gathered in five passes for 74 yards and his decisive touchdown.
The win spoiled another stellar outing by Towson All-American running back Terrance West, who carried 29 times for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He posted his third 200-yard effort of the season and the fifth of his career and upped his NCAA-leading rushing touchdown total to 26 this season. Towson quarterback Peter Athens threw for 160 yard and a touchdown.
Delaware jumped out to a 10-7 lead on a 20-yard field goal by Sean Baner and a 16-yard scoring pass from Sasek to Harrison in the first quarter, but Towson took a 21-10 lead into halftime as Darius Victor ran for a 22-yard score in the opening stanza and West scored on two short runs in the second quarter.
Towson upped the lead to 28-10 when the Tigers drove 79 yards on the first possession of the second half with Athens hitting Emmanuel Holder on a five-yard score. Drew Evangelista, whose 33-yard field goal attempt with 4:19 left in the third quarter hit the left upright, then upped the Towson lead to 31-10 when he converted a 25-yard field goal with 14:31 left to play. That field goal was set up when Towson’s Tye Smith intercepted Sasek.
Delaware will look to keep the momentum alive next week when the Blue Hens return home to Delaware Stadium for the first time since Oct. 12 to host William & Mary at 3 p.m.
• Towson, the CAA’s top scoring team with an average of 41.3 points per game, was held to a season-low 31 points
• Andrew Pierce rushed for 55 yards and is now just 31 yards shy of second place on the all-time UD rushing list and No. 9 on the all-time CAA list
• Delaware was 4 for 4 on fourth down conversions, including one by Pierce on 4th and 1 that continued the drive in which Johnson scored on the 11-yard touchdown in the final minute of play
• DT Zach Kerr (above left) and LB Patrick Callaway each recorded a team-high eight tackles for the game