4th-quarter meltdown at W&M sends Hens to 4th straight loss

Sophomore wide receiver and Indian River product Jamie Jarmon scores on a nine-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the first score of his Blue Hen career. (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

Sophomore wide receiver and Indian River product Jamie Jarmon scores on a nine-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the first score of his Blue Hen career. (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The University of Delaware suffered late-game heartbreak for the second straight week Saturday afternoon as host William & Mary scored 21 fourth-quarter points to rally for a 24-17 victory over the Blue Hens at Zable Stadium.

Delaware (2-4, 0-3 Colonial Athletic Association), which suffered its fourth straight setback, took a 14-3 lead into the final quarter after quarterback Joe Walker broke through for a 34-yard scoring run with 6:17 left in the third quarter.

But the final stanza was littered with pitfalls for the Blue Hens as William & Mary intercepted a pass in the end zone on the first play of the quarter, drove 80 yards to cut the deficit to 14-10, and then used a successful onside kick to regain possession and move 54 yards for the go-ahead score with 4:12 left.

The Tribe (3-4, 1-3 CAA), which snapped a three-game losing streak of its own, sealed the deal when Aaron Swinton intercepted his second pass of the day and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown with 1:43 remaining for a 24-14 lead.

“It kills me for these kids,” said Delaware head coach Dave Brock, whose team knocked off the Tribe 24-23 last year on a last second field goal at Delaware Stadium. “We have to find a way. There is no other way to look at it. There is no other way to explain it. We have to find a way to win these games and make one or two more plays. We haven’t done it two weeks in a row. We made a lot of plays today but we didn’t make enough. We made some critical errors at critical times.”

Walker completed 9 of 19 passes for 112 yards and also rushed for a career-high 109 yards and a touchdown to lead a 379-yard effort. Walker became the first Blue Hen quarterback to surpass the 100-yard rushing mark since Andy Hall ran for 159 vs. Hofstra during the 2003 national championship season.

Despite playing without leading rusher Wes Hills due to a lower body injury, the Hens still managed to pile up 267 yards on the ground thanks to Walker. Thomas Jefferson added 94 yards on the ground while Jalen Randolph contributed another 57 yards.

Jefferson also caught three passes for 45 yards while tight end Charles Scarff had his best day as a Blue Hen with three receptions for 51 yards.

Defensively, the Hens held William & Mary to 346 yards as Tribe running back Kendall Anderson (115 yards) and quarterback Steve Cluley (24 of 31 for 204 yards) did most of the damage. Delaware cornerback Nasir Adderley led the Hens with a career-high 10 tackles while linebacker Charles Bell added eight stops.

William & Mary drove 48 yards on its first possession and opened the scoring when Kris Hooper converted a 41-yard field goal just 4:21 into the game.

But Delaware came right back to take the lead, driving 82 yards on 11 plays over a span of 6:07 capped by sophomore wide receiver Jamie Jarmon taking a handoff from Walker and running around the right side for a nine-yard touchdown, the first score of his career.

The 11 plays tied a season-high, the 82 yards was the longest first-half drive of the season, and the 6:07 marked the second longest possession of the season.

That lead stood up into halftime and the Hens built on it midway through the third quarter when Walker found a seam on a third-and-four play and sprinted untouched 34 yards for the score to give UD a 14-3 advantage with 6:17 left.

But things went awry from there for the Hens. Delaware was driving for another likely score late in the third quarter and had the ball on the Tribe 14-yard line. But Walker’s pass to Diante Cherry in the end zone was picked off by Swinton. The Tribe then drove 80 yards on 11 plays.

“You have to look forward and have a short memory,” said Walker. “If you look too much into the past you won’t get where you want to go. We will learn from this.”

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