Hens end season in 41-10 loss against Villanova

 

NEWARK — Andy Talley left Delaware Stadium for the last time on the shoulders of his players.

All Dennis Dottin-Carter could do was walk off the field Saturday evening trying to swallow an especially-bitter defeat.

Clearly, the two coaches will have far different memories of No. 13 Vilanova’s 41-10 rout of Delaware in the Blue Hens’ football season finale at Delaware Stadium.

Perhaps, the ending was only fitting. It was a lackluster last chapter to a second-straight lackluster 4-7 season for the Hens (2-6 Colonial Athletic Association).

“I don’t think we underestimated them,” said Dottin-Carter, Delaware’s interim head coach. “We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing, certainly. But that’s a really good team in the other locker room.

Dennis Dottin-Carter

Dennis
Dottin-Carter

“My heart goes out to the seniors. We wanted this for them as bad as anybody’s wanted anything. We could not get it done. … We were prepared for a battle. (But) it was not a battle the way we thought it was going to be. They beat us up.”

The Wildcats (6-2 CAA), who expect to receive an at-large bid when the NCAA Division I FCS playoff bracket is announced today, posted their fourth straight victory in the rivalry.

But unlike, the last three meetings, which were all decided in the final couple minutes, Villanova quickly took control of the 50th meeting between the two programs.

The Wildcats scored touchdowns on their first four drives to open up a 27-3 lead in the second quarter. With the wind gusting in the second half, Villanova coasted home from there.

The Wildcats also beat the Hens, 41-10, in 2012. That’s the largest margin for any team in the series since Delaware won by 42 in 1974.

Villanova now leads the all-time series, 28-21-4.

“We were really operating on all eight cylinders today,” said Talley, the Wildcats’ 73-year-old coach who is retiring after the season. “We played extremely well on both sides of the ball.”

Troy Reeder

Troy Reeder

Talley finishes with a 16-12 record against Delaware.

Villanova outgained the Hens, 472 yards to 227, on Saturday and held a 25-14 edge in first downs. Running back Matt Gudzak, whose father, Pete, played for the Hens, ran for 121 yards and a touchdown while also catching a 54-yard scoring pass.

Linebacker Troy Reeder said nothing seemed to work for Delaware’s defense.

“There were a lot of plays where we came off the field and felt that we had fit it exactly like we had been fitting it,” he said. “But it seemed that they were doing a good job of always getting an extra blocker over there. … When you’re running the ball as successfully as they were, we have to play the run. And that’s part of why play action was successful.”

Offensively, the highlight to the Hens’ day came just before halftime. That’s when Delaware drove 63 yards on seven plays for its lone touchdown.

Quarterback Joe Walker fired a seven-yard scoring pass to tight end Owen Tyler with just 10 seconds left before halftime.

Jalen Randolph ran for a team-high 76 yards on 16 carries in his final game. But the Hens lost running back Thomas Jefferson to an injury after the starter ran for 17 yards on six carries.

Regular starter Wes Hills didn’t suit up for the game because of an injury. Walker completed 7-of-14 passes for 111 yards with the one TD and an interception.

“We didn’t finish today like we need to,” said Randolph. “We got off to a good start on a few drives and put some things together but we didn’t put it in the end zone.”

Of course, with Delaware’s season over, now the big question hanging over the program is the hiring of the Hens’ next coach.

Talley offered his opinion on Saturday, saying he thinks Delaware may have given up on fired coach Dave Brock too soon. He also said the university should hire someone who’s had head-coaching experience.

That’s for the future, however.

The main feeling from the Hens on Saturday was disappointment. Brock had talked about the Hens contending for a playoff spot this fall.

“We’re done far earlier than we expected to be done,” said Reeder. “Expectations were high. It’s a lot different than going into a season thinking this is going to be another 4-7 year.

“We feel as players that we could have been a different team than we are now, at the end of the season.”

The 11 seniors who were honored before Saturday’s game can only watch what happens next. Their chance to help turn the program around ended on Saturday.

“I don’t think our record is indicative of the team that we are,” said Randolph. “I think that anybody we played this year will tell you that.

“But it is what it is. The result wasn’t what we wanted but that’s life.”

Extra points

Linebacker Charles Bell collected a game-high 13 tackles. … Former Delaware coach Tubby Raymond was the honorary captain, posing for a photo with Talley at midfield before the game. … Talley was also made an honorary Blue Hen and given a small statue of a Hen. Not bad for a coach who was once named one of the most hated sports figures in Delaware. “I think I’ve done a good job of improving my status,” he joked. … Jamie Jarmon pulled in a 50-yard pass from Walker. … Delaware’s other points came on a 35-yard field goal from Frank Raggo.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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