No. 9 Delaware Can't Climb Out of First Quarter Hole as Blue Hens Fall to Massachusetts, 21-10
October 15, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware’s largest first quarter deficit in over 30 years proved to be insurmountable Saturday afternoon as the No. 9 ranked Blue Hens allowed three first quarter touchdowns and dropped a 21-10 football decision to Massachusetts at Delaware Stadium.
Massachusetts (4-2), a former Colonial Athletic Association member who is headed to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level next year as a member of the Mid-American Conference, scored on its first three drives of the day.
UMass, which won its second straight game, got short scoring runs from Jonathan Hernandez and Julian Talley and a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kellen Pagel to Emil Igwenagu, all in the opening 13 minutes of action, and never looked back.
Delaware (4-3, 2-2 CAA), coming off a solid 21-0 victory over then No. 9 William & Mary a week earlier, lost the shutout in the first two minutes of the game this time and could never put together enough offense to catch up.
The 21-0 deficit was the largest margin the Hens have trailed by in the opening stanza since falling behind Temple 24-0 on the way to a 45-0 loss in 1975. Coming into the game, the Hens had allowed just 17 total first half points in four home contests this season.
The Blue Hens had six more first downs and just 13 less yards than the Minutemen, but were pinned back in their own territory almost the entire game and were hurt by three turnovers. All 15 of the Blue Hens’ drives started inside their own territory, and thanks to well-placed punts by Massachusetts, had one drive start on the one-yard line and another on the two-yard line.
“You just can’t spot a team 21 points and think it will come out okay,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler. “Mentally we were not as sharp as we needed to be and they took advantage of the wind (25 miles per hour at their back) in that first quarter. They made some big plays and kept us off-balance.”
Pagel completed 20 of 39 passes for 245 yards and one touchdown while Hernandez rushed for a team-high 69 yards on 15 carries. The UMass defense, led by 2010 CAA Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Holmes at linebacker, recorded five sacks, broke up eight passes, collected two interceptions, and forced two fumbles. Holmes recorded a team-high 10 tackles while Darren Thellen had five tackles and intercepted two passes for the second straight week.
Delaware’ seven-game win streak, the fourth longest current home win streak in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, came to an end as the Hens lost for the first time since a 28-21 overtime setback to CAA foe Villanova last Nov. 20. Delaware lost for just the second time in its last 16 home games dating back to 2009 and fell for just the fourth time in 16 meetings all-time vs. UMass in Newark.
Blue Hen quarterback Tim Donnelly completed 14 of 30 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions and was sacked twice. Nihja White (above left) caught six passes for 85 yards while running back Andrew Pierce picked up 85 yards on 23 carries.
Delaware put up its only points of the day in the second quarter as Donnelly connected with freshman tight end Nick Boyle (above right) on a 14-yard scoring toss - Boyle’s first career touchdown - and Sean Baner converted a 27-yard field goal just a minute before halftime.
Neither team could muster much offense the entire second half. Massachusetts gained just 97 yards in the second half and never got closer than the Delaware 28-yard line. The Blue Hens managed just 170 yards in the second half and never got closer than the UMass 13-yard line and that came on the final play of the game.
“I thought the whole first half we played hesitant and had some poor tackling,” said Delaware junior linebacker Paul Worrilow, who posted nine tackles. “You just can’t put your offense in that kind of hole. We played better after that first quarter but we still din’t cause any turnovers. You can’t put that much pressure on your offense.”
Delaware lost 11 yards on its first possession of the day and paid dearly for it. Massachusetts, starting on its own 47-yard line, struck quickly as Pagel hit Jesse Julmiste on a 41-yard toss on the first play of the drive and three plays later Hernandez found a hole on the right side and burst into the end zone from six yards out just three minutes into the game.
The Hens could muster just 22 yards on its next drive and UMass took advantage again on its next possession, driving 82 yards on 10 plays capped by Pagel’s six-yard toss to Igwenagu with 4:53 left in the stanza. A 39-yard run by Hernandez and three third down conversions highlighted the drive.
The score increased to 21-0 just over three minutes later when Thellen intercepted a pass by Donnelly to set up a 51-yard drive that resulted in a three-yard touchdown by Talley on a sweep with 1:21 left.
Delaware came right back on its next possession to finally get on the board as the Blue Hens drove 59 yards on 11 plays and converted when Donnelly hit Boyle all alone in the left side of the end zone for a 14-yard pass play with 9:34 left in the half.
Boyle, a true freshman who saw extensive playing time after All-CAA starter Colin Naugle suffered a game-ending knee injury in the first quarter, scored on just his second career reception. Baner then cut the UMass lead to 21-10 when he converted his eighth field goal of the season, a 27-yarder, with 58 seconds left in the half. The kick capped a 74-yard drive that saw Donnelly complete 6 of 10 passes for 42 yards.
Delaware will play three of its final four games on the road beginning with a trip north to CAA foe Rhode Island next Saturday, Oct. 22, in Kingston, R.I.
Book Drive a Success
University of Delaware football fans answered the call for new and used books and donated nearly 3,000 items Saturday as part of the first annual Children's Book Drive.
Participants received a free game ticket voucher to a future regular season football game, men's basketball, or women's basketball game as well as a 25% off coupon good for a general reading book at the UD Bookstore, courtesy of Barnes & Noble.
The book drive will help benefit Success Won’t Wait, Inc. of Wilmington, Del. Success Won’t Wait was founded in 2002, and is a not for profit literacy program.
If you missed the game and wish to donate, please contact Siddiq Haynes via email at email@example.com.
UD Athletics Thanks You!