Delaware tops Towson in fourth quarter comeback
A new chapter was written in the Towson/Delaware rivalry on Saturday, as Towson blew a 31-10 fourth quarter lead, allowing Delaware to claw back and win 32-31 in the game’s final minute at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Blue Hens converted on a game-winning two-point conversion with 19 seconds left, completing a 22-0 run that took place during the game’s last 14 minutes. Quarterback Trevor Sasek found wide receiver Rob Jones in the front of the end zone for the conversion.
“In my opinion, Towson will be a force to be reckoned with at the end. Depending on what we do in November, you’ll see how important this win was,” Delaware Head Coach Dave Brock said. “I think the players were excited about playing this game. This is the type of game, on either side, that creates a rivalry.”
The final drive was set up by an onside kick recovery by Delaware. The ball passed the first line of the Towson receiving team and hit junior Brian Dowling, bouncing into the hands of a Delaware player with 45 seconds remaining.
Sasek, who was starting in place of injured mainstay Trent Hurley, led the Blue Hens 51 yards in 27 seconds to give the Blue Hens the late lead. He found Jones for the touchdown, which set up the decisive two-point conversion.
Sasek threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Despite junior running back Terrance West’s third 200-yard game, Delaware had 170 more total yards than Towson.
“I don’t think we got home enough and gave [Saseka] enough time to do what he did,” Towson’s Head Coach Rob Ambrose said. “I give that man a lot of credit; to be able to come in here in one week after not starting for a while. He is a perfect quarterback for their system.”
Delaware received the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards in 11 plays to the Towson one-yard line. However, the Towson defense forced an incomplete pass on third down, leading to a field goal that put Delaware up 3-0 early.
The Tigers countered on the next drive, going 82 yards on seven plays, ending with a freshman running back Darius Victor 22-yard touchdown run. West ran for 33 of his 206 yards on the drive.
“I thought Terrance did what Terrance usually does,” Ambrose said. “There’s a goal that we had in mind and that was to get nine wins and he probably wanted as much as anyone else and he proved it with the way he played today.”
The ensuing kickoff was returned 66 yards by Blue Hen wide receiver Michael Johnson. Sasek capped the 34-yard drive with a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Jerel Harrison for the touchdown.
After the teams traded punts, Towson seized the lead again after West punched the ball in for his 25th touchdown of the season. The drive was highlighted by a 34-yard pass from senior quarterback Peter Athens to senior wide receiver Leon Kinnard.
Delaware took the next drive 32 yards, but senior linebacker Monte Gaddis stripped running back Andrew Pierce and Towson recovered the ball at its own 39-yard line.
The Tigers got West involved early in the drive, handing it to him for a 23-yard carry on the first play. West capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, giving the Tigers a 21-10 lead with 26
seconds remaining in the half.
Towson kept its momentum going on the first play from scrimmage in the second half when Athens completed a 60-yard pass to Kinnard. The connection highlighted a drive that finished with a sophomore fullback Emmanuel Holder five-yard touchdown reception.
After the score, the Tigers forced another Blue Hen punt and took the next drive 65 yards in just under seven minutes. The drive resulted in a graduate kicker Drew Evangelista 33-yard field goal
attempt, which hit the left upright, keeping the score at 28-10.
Delaware looked to cut the Towson lead after the missed field goal, but another turnover halted the attempt. Junior cornerback Tye Smith caught an errant pass by Sasek, who was pressured by the Towson defense.
The Tigers took possession and went 69 yards in 2:27, reaching the Blue Hen eight-yard line. However, the Blue Hen defense forced fourth down, where Evangelista’s 25-yard field goal was good to increase the lead to 31-10.
Sasek led Delaware with 50 yards passing on the next drive, which went 56 yards in just over three minutes. Running back Jalen Randolph crossed the end line from one yard out to cut the Towson lead to 31-17.
Both defenses held strong for the next seven minutes, but the Blue Hens orchestrated another scoring drive with four minutes remaining in the game. Sasek threw for 77 of the drive’s 80 yards, leading to an 11-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with 48 seconds left.
The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Blue Hens, and Sasek helped them drive over half the field to score the game-winning touchdown.
Delaware led Towson in fourth quarter yards, 215-61, and outscored them 22-3 in the frame.
“If we keep running the ball and running it well, that offense doesn’t show up at the end of the game,” Ambrose said. “In hindsight, we didn’t run the ball enough.”
Towson will look to bounce back when it travels to Williamsburg, Va. to play the William & Mary Tribe on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The game is set to start at 1:30 p.m.