WILMINGTON, De – Omar Cuff did not score seven touchdowns Saturday night against the West Chester University Golden Rams. He didn’t have to, as The Blue Hens downed the Golden Rams 41-14. Cuff, who made headlines across the country by scoring seven touchdowns in Delaware’s season opener against the College of William and Mary a week ago, played just one half Saturday night and managed 88 yards and four touchdowns against West Chester.
“What did he do?” Head Coach Bill Zwaan asked rhetorically “Run for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns? He was a blur, what are we [supposed to do]?”
West Chester failed to establish any momentum on offense early in the game, tallying just 43 yards of total offense in the first quarter, converting on just one of six third down conversions. All told, the Golden Rams racked up 255 yards of total offense and averaged a meager 3.9 yards for play, to Delaware’s 9.2. That’s not quite the ball control offense Head Coach Bill Zwaan was hoping for.
Delaware dominated the time of possession all night long, controlling the ball for 28 minutes and 30 seconds, and held a 17:16 to 12:44 advantage in the first half.
“It’s just frustrating,” Zwaan said. “They’re such a good team and we knew offensively that we had to keep our defense off the field and we weren’t able to do it, we just couldn’t do it. I’m frustrated and I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t help the defense out.”
Defensively, the secondary was the Golden Rams’ ultimate downfall in this one. Rashad Grimsley and Tyler Downs had a rough go of it against Delaware’s faster, more athletic receivers all night long. Mark Duncan had an impressive night catching five passes for 121 yards against the Golden Rams. He did it in just one half.
On the bright side, second year linebacker Mike Dell continues to impress. Dell notched 10 tackles and a highlight reel interception in the third quarter.
“That’s just one of those things off the scouting report, and you get a feel for it throughout the game,” Dell said. “I was able to get a good read on the ball and that was it.”
Dell’s pick led to the one bright spot for the Golden Rams’ offense. Lee Hopkins caught a Bill Zwaan Jr. screen pass and turned up field for a 28-yard touchdown with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter. Unfortunately, for West Chester, that only made the score, just 34-7 at the time.
Zwaan Jr. struggled against heavy pressure from Delaware’s harassing front seven all night long. The fourth year starter managed just 148 yards passing, one touchdown and three interceptions in three quarters of work.
As if to add injury to insult, Osagie Osunde limped off the field with an ankle sprain in the second quarter.
Also, backup quarterback Joe Wright also suffered what appears to be a serious knee injury, his status for the remainder of the season is unknown.
Meanwhile, fullback Brandon Hargrose is set to return in the home opener this week, after initially anticipating missing six to eight weeks with a knee injury.
Following Saturday’s loss, West Chester dropped to 1-1 (1-0 in the PSAC). The Golden Rams return home to take on Clarion (0-2) in the home opener at Farrell Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. and can be heard exclusively on 91.7 FM WCUR and online at www.redzonemedia.com.
Matt Lombardo is a third-year Communications student. He can be reached at ML606516@wcupa.edu.