In a game in which No. 23 West Chester University (1-2) has not fared too well, the same old happened on Saturday as the No. 5 University of Delaware Blue Hens defeated the Golden Rams 48-20. West Chester showed heart all night but was not able to overcome the athletic ability of the Blue Hens. Delaware has now won 15 consecutive games against West Chester.
“It’s fun coming back home and playing in front of 23,000 people,” quarterback Joe Wright said. “I had a lot of friends in the stands and a lot of family.”
West Chester came out in the first quarter anxious and ready to give all that they had. Receiving the ball to begin the game, the Golden Rams were able to maneuver their way down the field to take some time off the clock.
After a couple of first downs, West Chester setup to punt but the snap was well over the head of Alex Walsh who retrieved the ball and tried to quickly punt it but it was blocked and set Delaware up in great field position at the West Chester 7-yard line.
The defense for the Golden Rams, which has played hot and cold for the first couple games of the season against California (Pa.) and Lock Haven, did well against the Blue Hens offense their first time on the field with the end zone at the backs until Jonathan Smith scored from one yard out on fourth down.
“We got put in a tough situation,” tri-captain and senior Mike Walter said about the first defensive possession. “I think we stuffed him, I was right there and I think we had him. [The refs] said he broke the plane but he got hit in the backfield and we kept pushing. If we stopped him there that would have been a great momentum changer. As a team we did a great job there of stepping up and answering the call. Unfortunately they got in.”
West Chester’s next offensive possession didn’t fare as well as the first as Wright was picked off by cornerback Anthony Walters on a pass intended for Steve Miller down the field.
West Chester’s defense did a better job on the next defensive possession as the front seven of the Golden Rams defense put an immense amount of pressure on quarterback Robby Schoenhoft to force a three and out. Walter, Travis Ford-Bey, and Sam Scott each were able to get their hands on Schoenhoft to force a sack and a punt back to the Golden Rams.
“I studied film a lot this week and it definitely paid off,” Walter said. “Just kind of how they set their techniques and exposed what they were doing wrong and it really worked the first half but they were up so much in the second half that they stuck to the running game. It was tough to make a move in the second half. We learned a lot as a defense this game being put into tough situations and fighting our way out of it.”
The Golden Ram’s offense struggled to move the ball against the strong Blue Hens defense. After a Walsh punt pinned the Blue Hens inside their own 10-yard line, West Chester’s defense was put into a position to give their offense good field position and a chance to tie the game.
But the Delaware offense put together a ten play, 92-yard drive to go ahead 14-0 over the Golden Rams. The drive finished when Schoenhoft found tight end Robbie Agnone for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
The West Chester offense began to find a little rhythm. Wright was able to find receiver Darrell Canty for a 59 yard pass and catch to put the Golden Rams into position to score. Two plays later, Wright found receiver Steve Miller for a 16-yard touchdown pass to cut into the Delaware lead. Following a block of Walsh’s extra point the score stood at 14-6.
Delaware would waste little time increasing their lead. On the first play of their next possession, Smith broke a Mike Dell tackle in the backfield and scampered 62-yards to the end zone to give the Blue Hens a 15-point advantage.
West Chester’s offense could not generate anything on the next series as they were forced into a three and out. But Delaware did not disappoint as they registered a 12 play, 65 yard drive resulting in Smith’s third touchdown on the night, his second on a fourth and goal from the one yard line.
Wright would throw his second interception of the day as safety Charles Graves jumped in front of a pass intended for Mike Washington.
Delaware would add a couple more field goals to end the scoring in the first half and go in at the half up 34-6.
After a first half that lasted about one hour and 45 minutes, the second half went much faster as both teams turned to the run to get through this game without injury.
“We made some positive plays,” Wright said. “We have to watch film [Sunday] and see how it goes. Take the positives out of it, work on the negatives and try to get them to positives.”
Scott Schiavo got the start in place of injured nose guard James Thorpe who could be returning to the starting lineup next week against the Millersville University Marauders.
“He stepped up great,” Walter said. “That kid is a true warrior. He kept fighting through everything and he played well for us.”
Jared Jorgenson entered his second consecutive game in the second half and through his first two touchdown passes of his collegiate career. A 55-yard pass to Canty and a short 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Taylor.
Delaware would add two more touchdowns via a Schoenhoft touchdown pass to Kervin Michaud and a Jerry Butler 53-yard touchdown run.
“It is tough competing with a team at a different level,” Walter said. “They are so deep at every position. We only have so many guys we can put on the field and compete with them. They definitely wore us down. I think that’s part of their strategy. If we could play a half of football I think we would beat them every half.”
Wright, who injured his knee in last year’s game against the Blue Hens, finished the game 11-23 for 163 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“I took it as any other game,” Wright said of Delaware. “These guys are fast, they are big, and they are strong. I wasn’t really worried about what happened here last year; I was worried about coming out here and getting a win. It’s hard to beat these guys when you make mistakes.”
Delaware leads the all-time series 43-6-1 . Mike Washington was held to one catch for zero yards on the night . Coach Zwaan is 0-6 in his coaching career against his alma-mater . Scott Schiavo started in place of the injured James Thorpe … West Chester ran 17 times for only 16 yards, while Delaware was able to establish the run game rushing 52 times for a total of 308 yards
LJ Harrell is a third-year student majoring in business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.