No. 23 Delaware used a balanced attack -- on offense, defense and special teams -- to build a 49-0 lead before a fourth quarter letdown led to the Tigers only points. Entering the fourth quarter, the Tigers had been outscored 106-7 in their last seven quarters at home, including a 57-7 loss two weeks ago against New Hampshire.
The Tigers trailed just 7-0 after the first quarter Saturday, but lost freshman quarterback Peter Athens to a knee injury. Athens had solidified himself as the team’s starter, and was able to move Towson into Delaware territory multiple times before leaving the game. Ambrose said his team was hurt by Athens’s departure, and not just from a physical standpoint.
“I think there was [a letdown] and naturally so,” he said. “There was a little emotional lull. We had pretty much declared Peter was going to be the guy.”
The Tigers turned to Blair Peterson (1-3, 4 yds), then Brian Potts (4-11, 46 yds, 2 INT), to replace Athens but couldn’t get anything going in a second quarter that saw Delaware score 28 points and out-gain Towson 150-58. The game turned quickly when the Blue Hens pinned the Tigers on their own 1-yard line. Three plays later, Bill Shears shanked a punt, and Delaware took over on the Towson 26. Penn State transfer Pat Devlin tossed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Mark Duncan on the very next play, putting Delaware up 14-0.
“Pat did a great job,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler said. “He’s got such great poise.”
Devlin played just one series in the second half, but finished 9-of-15 passing for 127 yards to go along with 49 yards rushing on just four carries. Devlin came into the game with just 89 yards rushing on 44 attempts for the season.
“A couple times we were dropping back to pass and [Towson] was in a real good coverage for the situation,” Devlin said. “They brought a blitz on one side, and I was able to get out and escape on the other side.”
With the rain preventing much of a passing game, Delaware kept the ball on the ground. Leon Jackson scored on short runs in each of the first three quarters, and Jerry Butler finished with 82 yards on just 13 carries.
Any hopes of a Towson comeback were dashed in a 20-minute span -- that took just 14 seconds off the game clock. On the final play of the first half, Potts’s desperation heave was picked off by Charles Graves and returned 90 yards for a touchdown. Towson kicked off to open the second half, and Butler -- who also had a kickoff return for a touchdown last year against Towson -- returned it 89 yards for the score. The two plays turned a 28-0 game into a 42-0 blowout.
Towson turned to Tommy Chroniger, who had been practicing at linebacker during the week, and was able to put 21 points on the board in the fourth quarter. Chroniger ran for 97 yards on 11 carries, including a 71-yard romp to set up a touchdown.
“I promised that we would have something worthwhile here, something we could be proud of,” Ambrose said. “That no matter how we matched up, we would not quit and we would keep fighting. I think that’s pretty much a guarantee.”
NOTES: Delaware has won 3 straight meetings with Towson, the longest streak by either team in the rivalry. The Blue Hens now lead the all-time series 7-4. ... Towson is on the road next week at Northeastern. The Tigers have lost three straight to the Huskies, and are 0-4 all-time at Northeastern. ... Ambrose said he wouldn’t have an update on Athens’s condition until after Sunday ... Dominique Booker scored his first career touchdown late in the fourth quarter. ... Ambrose was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after a verbal confrontation with an official in the second quarter. He said the official apologized to him at the start of the second half, but did not elaborate.
Postgame News Conference Audio
- Towson - 12:16, 5.9 MB
- Delaware - 11:31, 5.5 MB