By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report’s Owner/Sr. Writer
NEWARK, DE – Delaware dropped a painful loss at home.
Delaware had to battle back all game. And they had the ball with the chance to tie the game in overtime, but a fumble ended the game.
As a result, the No. 15 Villanova Wildcats were able to defeat the No. 1 Delaware Blue Hens, 28-21, at Delaware Stadium on The Comcast Network.
“The Villanova football team gave everything that it had (yesterday). I’m not sure we could have played better. I am happy with the way that our team played,” said Villanova head coach Andy Talley.
It is the 5th straight loss that Delaware has lost to Villanova. It is the second-longest win streak in the series. From 1966 to 1970, Villanova also had a 5 game win streak against Delaware. But from 1990 to 1995, Delaware had its longest win streak against Villanova at 6 games.
Delaware has not beat the Wildcats since the 2005 season when they won 38-13 at Villanova. Delaware’s last win at home in the series came in 2004, when they were able to beat Villanova 41-35.
“Well, the big thing is that after losing two in a row, everybody started to question this team has the preseason No. 1,” said Talley. “So, really we were unfulfilled and we haven’t fulfilled our destiny. To loss (yesterday), we all would have looked back on it and said, ‘Wow! How did we let that slip away?'”
What makes this loss more painful than the previous loss this season to William & Mary, it knocks Delaware out of the No. 1 spot, which they had for only three weeks, and it gives them a lesser seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
The loss also gives Villanova some new life in which they hope is good enough to make the playoffs. It also means that Delaware was not able to get their 10th 10-win season in school history.
Delaware was trailing 28-21 when they got the ball in their half of overtime. Delaware senior quarterback Pat Devlin completed three straight passes to get the ball to the Villanova 3 yard line.
Delaware asked Andrew Pierce to rush the ball on the following play. He advanced 1 yard to the Villanova 2 yard line, before fumbling the ball. Villanova defender Martel Moody recovered the ball, thus ending the game.
“We brought a pretty good blitz,” said Moody. “Pierce was surround by defenders, then I saw the ball come out. There was a lot of grabbing and clawing going on. I just wanted to hold on once I got it.”
Villanova got the ball first in overtime. Chris Whitney, Villanova’s senior quarterback, rushed for 9 yards to make it to the Delaware 16.
Aaron Ball rushed 2 yards to the Delaware 14. Whitney followed up with a 7 yard rush to move the ball to the Delaware 7. Ball followed with a 1 yard rush to the Delaware 6.
Whitney rushed again for 2 more yards to the Delaware 4. Angelo Babbaro rushed 1 yard to the Delaware 3. After a timeout and a 2 yard rush by Ball to move the ball to the Delaware 1, Ball completed the drive with a 1 yard rush into the end zone.
Yako’s extra point was good to make it 28-21.
Delaware had the last long drive of the regulation session, which nearly took up 7 minutes to do, in order to tie the game at 21-21 each to go into overtime. Delaware advanced 77 yards on 16 plays to score the game-tying touchdown. After 11 plays of the drive, which started at the Delaware 23, Pierce rushed 4 yards to the Villanova 2 yard line. Devlin then had an incomplete pass.
Pierce had a 1 yard rush to the 1 yard line, followed by a no gain on the very next play. Devlin connected with Pierce for the 1-yard touchdown to make it 21-20. Mike Perry connected on the extra point to make it 21-21.
“I just had to make a play,” said Pierce. “God gave me the talent to help this team win, so I had the ball game in my hands.”
Several minutes into the fourth quarter, Villanova took the lead again. Villanova advanced 77 yards on 15 plays in 7 minutes and 51 seconds to go up 7 points. After 12 plays of the drive, Whitney completed a pass to Norman White for 8 yards to the Delaware 9.
Ball rushed to the Delaware 8 on the following play. After a timeout, Whitney rushed for an 8 yard touchdown to make the score 20-14. Yako connected on the extra point to make it 21-14.
Right before halftime, Villanova had a 53 yard drive on 6 plays. Villanova was able to advance to the Delaware 10, before an intentional grounding with 3 seconds left. Delaware called a timeout to jinx the kicker, right before the play actual happened.
Yako had to wait a few seconds longer in order to attempt his 27 yard field goal attempt. Yako kicked the ball in the air . . . and it hits the right upright to end the half tied at 14 each.
After a Villanova punt, Delaware received the ball at 6:50 of the second quarter. Delaware advanced 80 yards on 13 plays to tie the game at 14 each. After 10 plays of the drive, Devlin connected with Rob Jones for a 15 yard reception to move the ball to the Villanova 12 yard line.
Pierce rushed for 3 yards to the Villanova 9 yard line. The very next play, Devlin connected with Jones again for a 9 yard touchdown reception to make it 14-13. Perry connected on the extra point to make it 14 each.
A Villanova turnover on downs gave Delaware the ball with 17 seconds left in the first. After a 6 yard rush by Pierce and a 15 yard face mask penalty on Villanova on the 5th play of the drive, Devlin had an incomplete pass.
Pierce had no gain on the following play. Devlin, then hit White for an 18 yard touchdown reception to make it 14-6. Perry connected on the extra point to make it 14-7.
After a 3-and-0 by Delaware on their first drive of the game, Villanova got the ball again. It only took the Wildcats 7 plays to go up 7 more points to make it 14-0. Ball rushed to the Villanova 49, preceded by a Villanova timeout.
Matt Szczur rushed 19 yards to the Delaware 32, but a false start after the Szczur rush moved the ball back to the Delaware 37. Whitney connected with White for an 18 yard reception to the Delaware 19.
Ball rushed for 2 yards to the Delaware 17. Whitney then hit White again for an 11 yard reception to the Delaware 6. Whitney then rushed for 2 yards to the Delaware 4.
Whitney then connected with Lawrence Doss for a 4 yard touchdown reception to make it 13-0. Yako connected on the extra point to make it 14-0.
“Angelo (Babbaro) threw it to Chris (Whitney), before Chris throw it to Doss,” said Talley. “It was a great play. They were in man (defense), and Doss got past the Delaware defenders. It was a great call.”
After the kickoff by Delaware, Babbaro returned the kickoff for an 85 yard touchdown to make it 6-0. Yako connected for the extra point to make it 7-0.
“Angelo has been on the cusp of breaking one all year,” said Talley. “Before Matt (Szczur) was our kick returner, Angelo was a pretty good, young kick returner. He has great speed, and hit a seem, then cut it to the left, before deciding to out run everybody.”
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