The No. 16 Blue Hens (4-2, 1-2 CAA), who were limited to only a first quarter Sean Baner field goal, lost their second straight game heading into next week's bye week.
Delaware, which had a four-game home streak snapped and lost for just the third time in the last 21 games at Delaware Stadium, was held without a touchdown for the first time since a 20-8 setback to James Madison at Delaware Stadium back in 2009.
A bright spot on the day for the Blue Hens was junior running back Julian Laing (above right), who carried 18 times for a team-high 74 yards and caught five passes for 51 yards in his first career start. Laing, the Hens' No. 3 back, saw extensive action with All-American Andrew Pierce limited due to a hamstring injury and top back David Hayes out indefinitely with a foot injury. Pierce was injured in practice on Thursday and carried the ball just twice for 10 yards.
Maine sacked Delaware quarterback Trent Hurley nine times, tying the all-time UD mark for sacks allowed in a game set by Villanova in 2009. Maine defensive end Michael Cole collected five of them for 41 yards before leaving the game late with an injury. Linebacker Donte Dennis added a team-high 11 tackles and recovered two fumbles for Maine.
“I think it all came down to the first drive of the game when Maine drove the ball with the wind in their face, took a lot of time off the clock, and scored,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler, whose team had not allowed a first quarter point all season in outscoring foes 41-0. “Obviously they did a lot better job of blocking and tackling today. Even though we have lost some guys, taking some steps backwards over the last two weeks is disappointing. We can’t let something like this happen again. We are a young team, but we have to do a better job of fighting through adversity.”
Maine (2-3, 1-1 CAA), which had lost two straight games coming in, including a 35-14 setback to Villanova last week, gained just 331 total yards but made the most of them. The Black Bears also forced four fumbles, including two which they recovered inside their own 10-yard line.
Black Bear quarterback Marcus Wasilewski completed 12 of 18 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Damarr Aultman, who hauled in scoring strikes of 50 and 22 yards in the first half. David Hood picked up 103 yards on the ground.
Delaware linebacker Jeff Williams recorded a team-high 11 tackles while Paul Worrilow (above left) and Tim Breaker each made six stops with Worrilow adding a sack. Hurley hit on 22 of 35 passes for 177 yards with Mike Milburn hauling in a career-high six passes for 60 yards in his first career start.
Baner accounted for the Blue Hens' only points as he capped a 65-yard drive in the first half with a 27-yard field goal to cut the Maine lead to 7-3 after one stanza. The Black Bears went on to lead 16-3 at the break and added a 16-yard scoring pass from Wasilewski to Maurice McDonald and a 34-yard field goal by Sean Decloux in the second half.
Maine, which defeated the Hens for the second straight year but won for just the fifth time in 18 visits to Delaware Stadium, struck early as they took the opening kickoff and moved 75 yards on eight plays and went up 7-0 when Wasilewski hit Aultman in the flat and the sophomore receiver broke a tackle to score from 22 yards out.
Delaware came right back to get on the board as the Hens moved 65 yards on 12 plays with Baner capping the drive with a 27-yard field goal. Baner, who entered the game leading the nation in field goals made, converted his 11th field goal in 12 tries this season.
The Hens later blocked a field goal attempt by Decloux late in the first quarter with Laith Wallschleger knocking down his third kick of the season. But the Hens could not capitalize as their next drive stalled. Maine upped the lead to 9-3 midway through the second quarter thanks to a bad punt snap by the Hens. Delaware punter Rauley Zaragoza had to chase down the errant snap and was forced to to throw the ball out of the end zone for a Black Bear safety.
Maine then got possession right back and scored immediately to go up 16-3, marching 61 yards in just 49 seconds with Aultman taking a short pass from Wasilewski across the middle and outrunning a host of Delaware defenders down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.
The Black Bears upped the lead to 23-3 early in the third quarter as Wasilewski fired his third touchdown pass of the game with a 16-yard scoring toss to Maurice McDonald. Maine drove 89 yards in just under two minutes for the score. Maine then tacked on a 34-yard field goal by Decloux to go up 26-3 with 6:32 left to play.
Delaware fumbled away two great scoring opportunities in the second half which would have kept the Hens in the game. Third-string quarterback Trevor Sasek, a former starter in 2011 who was slowed in pre-season after off-season knee surgery, saw his first action of the year after the Hens drove down inside the Maine five-yard line. Sasek gained two yards to the Maine one-yard line on his first place but fumbled on the next play while trying to hand off to Laing. Dennis recovered for the Black Bears.
The Hens were driving again later in the final quarter when Hurley had a nice scramble down to the Maine 17-yard linewith 3:47 left. The sophomore quarterback was flipped over after a hard hit by Kendall James and fumbled. Dennis picked up the loose ball and rambled all the way down to the Delaware 30-yard line to end the UD scoring threat.
The Blue Hens will be off this week before returning home to host Rhode Island Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. for Homecoming.