Speechless. We at William and Mary Sports Blog are absolutely speechless.
The University of Delaware, a team full of wide-eyed freshmen and sophomores, knocked off favored WIlliam and Mary on a last-second field goal. The kick gave the Blue Hens a 24-23 win on national television, dropping W&M to 2-2, 1-1 CAA. The Tribe’s offense (and defense) didn’t get the job done in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarters, as the offense looked especially sluggish throughout the contest.
Game Summary: The Blue Hens jumped on the Tribe early, marching down the field early on a 14 play, 75 yard drive that netted a touchdown. William and Mary would then explode with an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by who other than DeVonte Dedmon, stealing the momentum from the home team.
The next possession saw the Blue Hens stall on a 4th and two from the Tribe 27, when Blue Hens’ running back Thomas Jefferson was stopped short of the line to gain. Unfortunately, the Tribe were forced to punt on its next drive. On the play, W&M’s Hunter Windmuller saw his punt blocked and returned for a touchdown that took the air out of the Tribe’s sails. Neither team would score in the second quarter, as both teams stalled on offense.
After WIlliam and Mary entered halftime down 14-7, the Green and Gold broke out for 13 points in the third quarter. Kicker Nick Dorka tacked on a couple field goals (one of which for 47 yards), and quarterback Steve Cluley hit DeVonte Dedmon on a short pass that he would take to the house on a 57 yard catch and run. The Tribe defense looked strong, and held Delaware scoreless in the third. Things were looking up, and the Tribe entered the fourth quarter with a 20-14 lead. This would be the only quarter that W&M would absolutely dominate, having scored 13 unanswered points.
Dorka would even tack on another field goal in the fourth, putting the Tribe up 11. It was over, right? Then, all hell broke loose. The W&M offense couldn’t get anything going–stalling drive after drive. Delaware responded with a 12-play, 88 yard drive capped by a passing touchdown to bring the score to 23-21 in favor of the Tribe. The Tribe offense again collapsed, letting Delaware get the ball back with the chance to win. This time, the defense collapsed. The Blue Hens drive methodically down the field to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired. The final drive ate up over five minutes of clock, giving William and Mary no chance to answer the kick. Game over.
The Good: Running back Kendell Anderson followed up his strong showing against Stony Brook a week ago with another 100-yard rushing performance. On 23 carries, Anderson rushed for 101 yards, all with runs at or below 11 yards. While the receptions were fairly spread out, Daniel Kuzjack led the team with three catches, gaining 50 yards for the Tribe.
Defensively, the team was able to hold Delaware twice on fourth down conversions. The game may have been put away much earlier had William and Mary not stopped Thomas Jefferson at the Tribe 27. The unit also kept the Blue Hen gains to a minimum, and didn’t allow too many big plays.
The Bad: The Blue Hen rushing attack ended up breaking the back of the Tribe defense. Thomas Jefferson and Kareem Williams totaled 280 yards, and allowed Delaware to extend drives. The Blue Hens ate up a great deal of clock, and the Tribe offense punted quite a bit. The offense looked out of sync the whole game, minus the third quarter. Drives weren’t sustained, and chunk-yardage plays weren’t broken, minus the one Dedmon play. At times and in certain quarters,the offense looked decent and moved the ball on Delaware. However, against an inferior opponent, the College ought to have more sustained success. Steve Cluley finished with a completion rate below 50%, going 8 for 20 and 168 yards.
Top Performers [Photos via tribeathletics.com]
Injury Update: Starting running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor did not play, apparently hobbled by a lower body injury sustained in the Stony Brook game. Linebackers Zach Fetters and Ian Haislip were both out again, as both were injured in the UVA game. And CB Aaron Swinton‘s season looks bleak, as he missed yet another game. Punter Hunter Windmuller was injured in the game vs. Delaware; kicker Nick Dorka picked up punting duties in his stead.
Around the CAA: Richmond blew out Maine, JMU man-handled Stony Brook, and UNH toppled Elon. Not much to note here, despite two out of conference losses for Albany and Rhode Island, the CAA again looks to be very strong. The Tribe’s future games against JMU, Richmond, and UNH loom large–especially with this week’s loss. There’s no more room for error.
CAA Standings: With the in-conference loss, W&M joins a slew of CAA teams sitting with a 1-1 conference record. In total, there are currently 6 teams sitting with a 1-1 record in the conference. The JMU Dukes and Richmond Spiders sit atop as the leaders, along with Villanova, as the teams to beat in this year’s CAA. Whether or not that is the case at the end of the season is yet to be seen. There’s still a lot of football left to be played.
Look Ahead: Following last week’s dismantling of Stony Brook, this week’s loss is even tougher to swallow. It’s a head scratcher for sure, but one the Tribe will need to get over very soon if the team is to avoid any more hiccups this season. The slate doesn’t get much easier with Villanova and Hampton in the coming weeks. We believe the Tribe can do it, don’t you? LET’S GO TRIBE.