Hens stumble again on road, get blanked 19-0 at Towson

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Delaware cornerback Nasir Adderley flips Towson receiver Even Greenwood after a catch in Saturday’s game. (Delaware sports information photo)

 

TOWSON, Md. — There was never any question Delaware was going to have some growing pains this season.

But nobody said that they were going to be, well, this painful.

For the second straight road game, the Blue Hens left Newark and laid an egg, falling to Towson, 19-0, in a Colonial Association football game at Unitas Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Coupled with Delaware’s 20-0 loss at Rhode Island three weeks ago, the Hens (2-3 CAA, 3-5 overall) have now gotten shut out twice in the same season for the first time since 1964. They managed just six first downs and 102 yards of offense — the sixth-lowest total on the program record books.

It was that bad.

Coach Dave Brock didn’t try to mince any words, either.

“Obviously it was an extremely disappointing result,” he said. “Embarrassing. Offensively we weren’t really able to do anything. Whether we tried to run or throw it, it didn’t really matter.

“Ultimately that’s my responsibility — to put the players in better situations and create better opportunities so they can have success no matter what the situation is. We certainly failed miserably today at that.”

In losing its fifth straight road game, Delaware also almost assured itself of a losing season. The Hens would now have to win their final three games to avoid their first losing campaign since going 5-6 in 2012, K.C. Keeler’s last season as Delaware’s coach.

In the kind of stats that has belonged to the Hens’ lately, Towson (3-2, 5-3) finished with commanding advantages of 38:04-21:56 in time of possession, 25-6 in first downs, 75-40 in offensive plays and 410-102 in total yards.

Tiger quarterback Connor Frazier had a career day, completing 25-of-34 passes for 284 yards with the two interceptions.

Delaware’s defense did make some plays, forcing the Tigers to kick four field goals and intercepting a pair of passes.

The game’s only touchdown came in the second quarter when Towson’s Darius Victor scored on a fourth-and-goal from the one. Victor looked like he might have been stopped just short of the goal line but, after a moment, the official finally ruled that he had broken the plane.

“I’ll be anxious to see if the ball actually got in the end zone,” said Brock. “I’m fairly certain it didn’t. But that’s the way it goes. Sometimes you get a call, sometimes you don’t.

“I thought the kids battled and really, really played hard on defense.”

The Hens’ passing game was all but non-existent again. Quarterback Joe Walker completed just 3-of-9 passes for 14 yards with an interception and a fumble as he tried to scramble out of the pocket.

The difference on Saturday, though, was that Delaware’s running game managed just 88 yards, far under it’s average of 249.7 yards. That average ranked the Hens’ 11th nationally in Division I FCS.

“We blocked things poorly, we targeted things incorrectly a couple times that I saw,” said Brock. “I imagine when I watch the film, we probably blocked things incorrectly more often than we didn’t — which is disappointing. I didn’t think we ran the ball particularly well in terms of the opportunities we had. We didn’t break any tackles.”

Trailing 13-0 at halftime, Delaware did have a chance to get back in the game midway through the third quarter. Safety Simba Gwashavanhu intercepted a pass at the Towson 45 before the Hens ran for eight yards on first down.

But, on the next play, Walker was stripped of the ball as he tried to scramble out of the pocket. The Tigers recovered the fumble and drove 12 plays for another field goal that made it 16-0.

Brock said he never really considered replacing Walker at quarterback with junior Blake Rankin. Walker has taken all the QB snaps in the last five games.

“I don’t know that that would do anything necessarily,” said Brock. “I don’t think it jump-starts anything. In the situation that we were in, you felt all the way up until they had that last field goal, it’s a two-score game.

“You’ve got to get it to a one-score game and then play. I felt like we’d stop them if we could get a score. We weren’t able to do it.”

Of course, there were a lot of things Delaware wasn’t able to accomplish in the contest.

For the young Hens, it was just another back-to-the-blackboard kind of days. All Brock could promise is that Delaware would go back to work and try to fix the problems.

“Right now we’re hit or miss with way too much miss,” said Brock. “We’re like a rollercoaster — up and down. That’s a really bad way to play football and certainly a really bad way to play offensive football, where you need consistency and balance and things like that.”

Extra points

Saturday’s 102-yard output marked only the seventh time the Hens have been held under 150 yards by an FCS team. … Delaware still hasn’t won back-to-back games in three tries this season. … Before Saturday, the road team had won the last four meetings in the series. … Thomas Jefferson had a team-high 46 yards on 13 carries. … The Hens host Albany on Saturday at noon for homecoming. … Cornerback Nasir Adderley and linebacker Charles Bell both had a team-high 11 tackles.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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