Tigers suffer Hens' revenge

Delaware shoots to typical early lead

Tigers stumble in their chase

Delaware 27

Towson 7

September 23, 2007|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Reporter

Payback was sweet and complete for Delaware last night.

A year after the No. 11 Blue Hens were punished for 49 points in a loss to Towson University, they roughed up quarterback Sean Schaefer and throttled the Tigers, 27-7, before a record crowd of 10,856 at Unitas Stadium.

Tailback Omar Cuff rushed for three touchdowns and quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 274 yards as Delaware improved to 4-0 and 3-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The loss left Towson (2-2, 0-2) with a long road to the playoffs in a season of great expectations. Coach Gordy Combs pulled Schaefer on the Tigers' final drive of the night and the quarterback limped to the sideline with just 136 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Towson trailed 17-0 at halftime and got back in the game briefly early in the third quarter when Schaefer hit Paul Perry for a 45-yard touchdown pass.

But Cuff's third touchdown run of the night and a 20-yard field goal by Jon Striefsky finished off the Tigers.

Cuff had 109 rushing yards, the 14th 100-yard game of his career. Flacco went over 200 yards passing for the ninth straight time, a Delaware record.

Towson squandered two early scoring opportunities and Delaware capitalized for a 17-0 first half lead. In four games, the Blue Hens have outscored their opponent in the second quarter by a whopping 58-0, and 93-5 in the first half.

Flacco's first pass of the game? on the first play ? was deflected by nose guard John Sutherland and intercepted by strong safety DrewMack at midfield.

The Tigers drove to Delaware's 17, but Schaefer was sacked on consecutive plays to snuff the threat.

Towson's next possession had potential, too, but splint end Paul Perry dropped a deep ball inside the Delaware 15 and had a third-down pass stripped on the goal line.

That series ended when Mark Bencivengo was wide left on a 44-yard field goal.

Flacco completed his next eight passes after the interception, into the second quarter. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound senior found wide receiver Jon Heydt for a 30-yard completion on third-and-21 in Delaware's first touchdown drive. That pass came one play after he was sacked by linebacker Brian Bradford.

After a false start penalty, Delaware ran Cuff three straight times. He went in from the 1 to finish the 67-yard drive.

Delaware drove to the Towson 9 on its next possession and settled for a 26-yard field goal by Jon Striefsky and a 10-0 lead.

On the next series, the Blue Hens lost a 32-yard touchdown pass when receiver Aaron Love was flagged for pass interference in the end zone. But Flacco and Love teamed up moments later on a 27 yard pass to the Towson 20 when Bradford and linebacker Maurice Wilkins collided as Love made the catch.

Cuff finished off a 76-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown run with 3:28 left in the half.

[ Schaefer was under pressure most of the first half as Towson had pass protection issues. He was sacked four times and completed just six passes. The Tigers juggled their offensive line as the start of the game and juggled some more in the first quarter.

Left guard Jeremy Williams didn't start because of a slight hamstring injury, but came into the game in the first quarter.

Flacco finished the half with 12 completions for 161 yards, and Cuff rushed 14 times for 65 yards.

Delaware had 254 total yards to Towson's 54.

ken.murray@baltsun.com

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