Delaware overpowers Towson State, 55-27 Tigers finish .500, intercepted 5 times

NEWARK, DEL. — NEWARK, Del. -- There was no miracle comeback for Towson State yesterday.

The Tigers ran headlong into a Delaware team smarting from a loss to Richmond the previous week and warming up for the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs Saturday.


And before the biggest crowd it has seen all season (15,262), Towson got hammered, 55-27, at Delaware Stadium.

Delaware (9-2), the Yankee Conference champion, never left any margin for error. Starting with their second drive of the game, the Blue Hens scored touchdowns on five of the next six possessions and seven of the next nine to build an insurmountable 48-13 lead.


It was a case of awful timing for the Tigers, who could not come up with their first winning season as a Division I-AA team and their first four-game winning streak since 1986.

"Losing to Richmond was mentally draining," said Delaware All-America free safety Warren McIntire. "But when things go bad, we don't slide under a rock. This was a much-needed win."

McIntire was responsible for three of Delaware's five interceptions, topping by one his total for the previous 10 games. He was the mainspring of a defense that thwarted the Tigers (5-5) in the first half.

"At halftime, we didn't have enough points," said Tigers quarterback Danny Crowley. "And I knew we were in big trouble when we got more than 30 points down early in the fourth quarter."

Crowley said the Blue Hens secondary as a unit was "on a different level." Wide receiver Kevin Howard added that the Towson offense "just came out a little flat," although he finished with a six-catch day that gave him 161 receptions in his career, breaking Dale Chipps' school record.

The Delaware attack certainly wasn't flat, as quarterback Bill Vergantino and his colleagues did just about anything they wanted.

Vergantino completed all 11 of his passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns, led the team with 88 yards rushing in 10 attempts and scored twice. He enhanced his 18 school-record numbers, most of which overtook Minnesota Vikings' quarterback Rich Gannon.

Everything seemed to work for the nationally 10th-ranked Blue Hens, who will host their first-round tourney game against an opponent to be named today.


"I knew we had had a great week of practice," said Vergantino. "Everyone was really focused and aware that we had to win this game."

The Tigers' Buddy Dunn was wide on a 42-yard field-goal attempt to end the team's first scoring opportunity. But a 67-yard touchdown drive abetted by a personal foul and a pass interference penalty against Delaware kept Towson within 12-7.

But a 79-yard touchdown drive in 10 plays, Scott Acker's interception of Crowley and his 51-yard return to the Tigers' 7 and a 1-yard scoring plunge by Daryl Brown with 16 seconds left in the first half restored order for Delaware.

Vergantino broke loose on a 48-yard -- on the second play from scrimmage in the second half, setting up his 5-yard touchdown, and shortly thereafter, Delaware made first downs on six consecutive plays during a 90-yard march to the score that made it 41-7.

Much of the second half deteriorated into an exchange of errors that included two changes of possession on the same play.

"They have a tremendous ball-control offense and Vergantino adds a great dimension to it," said Combs. "It's difficult to defend the middle and the perimeter.."