After its second lightning-delayed loss in a season beginning to unravel, it might be time for William and Mary to look to the heavens for answers.
Delaware scored in all three phases on the way to one of the most lopsided wins in the usually competitive series 51-21 Saturday at Zable Stadium.
The Tribe (0-4, 0-2 CAA) dropped its first four games of the season for the first time since 1981, head coach Jimmye Laycock’s second year.
Laycock came out of Saturday’s game encouraged about the progress of the offense under sophomore quarterback Raphael Ortiz, though Delaware capitalized on a pair of his turnovers for defensive touchdowns.
Laycock was less enthused about the Tribe defense, which had several starters nicked up that contributed to Delaware’s 225 yards rushing and a 10 1/2-minute advantage in time of possession.
“I think we did a lot of things very, very well on offense,” Laycock said. “We’re moving the ball, I thought, pretty well. I thought Ortiz was playing really well. He had a couple of fluke things, where he got the fumbles and the turnovers. That’s making a mistake at the wrong time and the wrong place. That happens.
“I didn’t think, defensively, we were sharp, by any means. We’re pretty banged up. … We didn’t get takeaways, we didn’t get the turnovers we’ve got to get. Obviously, they got them. Give them credit. They got the scores, but they were a result of some of our mistakes and just bad luck, too.”
The Tribe has had no luck with the weather this season. Saturday was the second game delayed by lightning – this time for 1 hour, 22 minutes midway through the third quarter.
William and Mary’s first three losses were by a total of seven points, and the Tribe could legitimately argue that it was only a handful of plays from being unbeaten. Not so Saturday, as Delaware (4-0, 1-0 CAA) jumped out to a 24-0 lead and wasn’t threatened.
The Tribe committed four turnovers that Delaware turned into 17 points. One was a pop-up interception in the first quarter caused when Delaware lineman Quincy Barr hit Ortiz during his release. Defensive tackle Zach Kerr alertly grabbed the ball and rumbled 47 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Ortiz fumbled on a sack by Worrilow, and defensive end Vince Hollerman scooped up the ball and ran 45 yards for a touchdown. Ortiz also fumbled one other time as he was spun around on a sack.
“I thought I made a few too many mistakes,” said Ortiz, who completed 16 of 30 passes for 262 yards before Laycock subbed in Michael Graham in the fourth quarter. “They were hitting me right at the exact time. The line was blocking great. Some of those plays, they were just teeing off. I’ve just got to get the ball out of my hands faster. That’s something we have to work on. That’s game experience, and I learned a lot from this game.”
Down 17-0, the Tribe put together a drive that might have resulted in a short Drake Kuhn field goal. But the kick was blocked, and Travis Hawkins picked up the loose ball and sped 90 yards down the left sideline for a 24-0 lead.
The Blue Hens left no doubt in the second half, after each break. They took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for a touchdown, with Andrew Pierce (112 yards) running the final 23 for a touchdown. After the lightning delay, Pierce’s four-yard touchdown run capped a 47-yard drive for a 41-7 lead.
“We made a couple mistakes throughout the course of the game,” said cornerback B.W. Webb, whose 91-yard punt return for a touchdown was one of the Tribe highlights. “Some of those were big mistakes that cost us. You could see in the score.”
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