The home team lost a game it should have won, and it lost because it tackled poorly and couldn’t protect its quarterback and turned the ball over and got flagged for too many penalties and couldn’t convert in the red zone and couldn’t get off the field on third down and gave up too many big plays and, in general, made bad decisions and played sloppy football.
It got so bad, the disgusted fans started filing out of the stadium midway through the fourth quarter, wondering what went wrong with their team and how it could have played so poorly with so much talent on its roster.
No, it’s not the Eagles, but a fowl of a different feather. The University of Delaware Blue Hens stumbled and fumbled their way to 21-10 loss to Massachusetts on Saturday at Delaware Stadium, and it was an ugly loss. The Hens didn’t get fooled by a fourth-down hard count, but that’s probably only because UMass never tried one.
And it didn’t take the Hens long to look bad, as UMass jumped to a 21-0 point lead in the first quarter. To put that into perspective: The last time Delaware trailed in the first quarter of a game by 21 points or more was back in 1975, when Temple scored 24 points en route to a 45-0 victory.
“We had poor tackling and we gave up too many big plays. We can’t put our offense in a hole like we did today,” Delaware linebacker Paul Worrilow said, sounding an awful lot like Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney.
“You can’t lose the turnover battle 3-0, and a lot of that falls on me as the quarterback. I have to take better care of the ball,’’ Delaware quarterback Tim Donnelly said, sounding an awful lot like Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
“You can’t spot any team 21 points and think everything is going to come out OK,’’ Delaware coach K.C. Keeler said, sounding an awful lot like Eagles coach Andy Reid (and thank goodness he didn’t say anything about putting his players in better position to make plays).
Of course, it would be easy for Delaware to shrug this one off as just one of those games. The CAA is like the NFL in that any team can beat any other team and the Hens (2-2 in the CAA, 4-3 overall) are still in the running for the conference championship and/or a berth in the FCS playoffs. Every team has a bad game now and again and perhaps this was just Delaware’s – except that was what their game two weeks ago was supposed to be, when they blew a big lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Maine.
But the biggest concern for Delaware’s faithful fans is what has become an unsettled quarterback situation. It’s not exactly a full-blown quarterback controversy, but it’s certainly something for Delaware fans to debate.
Just two weeks ago it seemed a sure thing that junior Tim Donnelly would be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, but two weeks later that isn’t such a sure thing anymore.
Donnelly has had some very good games and some not-so-good games, and Saturday’s was a not-so-good one. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and had two intercepted to go with one TD pass. He was also harassed almost the entire game (Michael Vick can relate) and that pressure played a part in both interceptions.
Keeler replaced him with sophomore Trevor Sasek in the fourth quarter, and in case you’ve forgotten, Sasek was the starting QB before injuring his knee in the opener against Navy. Sasek brought a little life to the Hens on Saturday, although he didn’t get them any points, and now Keeler says that he’s not sure which QB will be his starter next week at Rhode Island.
Here’s one guess: Keeler will go with Sasek. He knows Donnelly runs hot and cold, but he really doesn’t know what to expect from Sasek on a consistent basis and there’s only one way to find out. And Keeler wants to find out, for this season and beyond.
Like the Eagles, the Blue Hens still have a chance to win a division/conference title and maybe even make some noise in the NFL/FCS playoffs. But, like the Eagles, the Blue Hens have some serious flaws and there’s no reason to think they’ll just disappear.