NEWARK, Del. -- The scoreboard at Delaware Stadium, which gives everything but the up-to-date stock quotations, let everyone know that Daryl Brown had gained 199 yards rushing with three minutes remaining in last Saturday's game against Villanova.
Up until a couple of years ago, the pile-driving fullback of the Fighting Blue Hens wouldn't have known if this was good or bad. "I wasn't much interested in football or any sports for that matter. After school, I used to go home and sleep," Daryl said.
But times were tough at Parkdale High School down in Prince George's County, 1-9 tough. "A friend talked me into coming out for the team my junior year," he recalls. At the very least, that friend should be hired on as a scout or recruiter.
Not really sure of what the game was all about, Brown charged off 1,000 yards on a 2-8 team. The next year, as a senior, he surpassed 1,000 yards as Parkdale cruised to a record of 9-1 and lost in the semifinals of the state championship playoffs.
The wonder is Daryl Brown wasn't outfitted into the line. He's 6 feet 3 and 240 pounds, and sculpted. And can he run. Long
before Delaware coach Tubby Raymond had put the junior back into the game to get his coveted 200 yards, Brown had given indication of just how fast.
It was just the fourth play of a rivalry that has lately taken on the appearance of a annual backyard brawl when Daryl took a handoff: "The play was designed to go right, but I saw they were putting a stunt on so I went back to the left. It was open."
The footrace was on. No fewer than two linebackers and three swift defensive backs grabbed their pursuit lines and took off. During the next 71 yards, no Villanova defender gained as much as a yard on the ball carrier. In fact, most lost ground.
"Oh sure, that's the play that separated the teams in this game," Villanova coach Andy Talley said after the 19-7 triumph by heavily-favored Delaware. "We didn't make 'em pay enough for that score. We knew they'd pile up lots of yardage; we just wanted to bang 'em a lot and keep the points down."
The visitors from Philadelphia "accomplished" both goals, Brown's 205 yards leading the Hens to 471 yards on the ground and 568 yards overall. The 19 points, however, were the fewest the Wing-T juggernaut tallied in a couple of seasons.
When Brown pounded over the left side for the school's first double-century in two decades, the kid was ecstatic. "I've had a bunch of 180s, but this is my first deuce," he said.
"They're kidding people, saying he weighs only 240 pounds. He's got to go 260," Talley said. "He's a big-time player in a I-AA league. Heck, he could play for Michigan, Penn State or anyone else."
Delaware snapped the ball nearly a hundred times while running its record to 5-1 and maintaining its weekly total offense at about 535 yards. Even being held to 19 points by 2-4 Villanova, the
Hens still average 42 points and look to be headed to the Division I-AA national championship playoffs again.
Brown's day of 29 carries for 205 yards lifted him to 125 and 767 for the season, an average of six yards per rush. It's a far cry from last week when James Madison kept him well under 100 yards while upsetting Delaware, 42-38, with a touchdown in the last 12 seconds.
"We hate to say something nice about Daryl because we don't want him going soft," Raymond said, kiddingly.
No chance. After just two and one-half seasons, Brown has amassed 2,584 yards on the ground, fourth on the school's all-time rushing list.
Delaware, which plays Massachusetts and Maine before playing host to Towson State Nov. 6, lost senior quarterback Dale Fry to a broken clavicle, but jammed sophomore Keith Langan and freshman Leo Hamlett into the position. They ended up satisfying their coach, Raymond, who predicted, "There's a quarterback of the future here, maybe two."
And the beat goes on up I-95.