W&M defeats Delaware in CAA opener

  • TouchdownChase Hill races to a school record 91 yard touchdown catch and run.

    Photo by Bob Keroack '79

    Touchdown
  • Reason to celebrateTwo Tribe football players celebrate after defeating Delaware 30-20 Saturday night.

    Photo by Bob Keroack '79

    Reason to celebrate
The fifth-ranked William and Mary football team improved to 4-0 with a 30-20 victory against Delaware in its conference opener before a sold-out crowd of 12,259 at Zable Stadium on Saturday night. The Tribe's 4-0 start is the program's best record to begin a season since it posted the same mark in 1994.

Senior quarterback R.J. Archer completed 23-of-37 passes for a career-high 313 yards with two touchdowns, while junior wide receiver Chase Hill hauled in six-catches for a career-high 148 yards with two touchdowns. Through three quarters, Archer had already eclipsed his career high with 309 yards through the air. Sophomore running back Jonathan Grimes also came up big with 98 yards rushing and a pair of scores. The offensive line aided the effort with its continued solid play, as the unit did not allow a sack.

Although UD scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:37, the Tribe defensive unit was outstanding for most of the contest. W&M completely shut down the Blue Hens' rushing attack and allowed -2 yards rushing on 18 carries. Additionally, Delaware had -22 yards rushing until its final offensive drive yielded 20 yards on the ground. The rushing total was the second-fewest by the Blue Hens in school history.

Senior Defensive Tackle Sean Lissemore (Photo by Bob Keroack '79)Individually, senior All-American defensive end Adrian Tracy tallied a pair of sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss to go with his six stops, while senior defensive tackle Sean Lissemore recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss, a half sack and six tackles. As a team, W&M registered five sacks and 12 TFL.

The Green and Gold held a significant advantage in total yards, 458-300, and dominated the time of possession, 35:52-24:08. The time of possession was especially lopsided in the second half when the Tribe had the ball for 20 minutes.

W&M jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter when Archer connected with Hill on a 91-yard touchdown strike deep down the middle of the field. The electrifying play was the longest touchdown pass in the 115-year history of the program.

The Tribe increased the advantage to 14-0 on its next offensive possession when Archer found Hill on another scoring strike. Hill hauled in a short pass across the middle of the field and broke a tackle before racing into the right side of the end zone with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. Highlighting the seven-play, 77-yard drive was a 37-yard catch by junior wideout Cameron Dohse.

A 29-yard field goal from the left hash by senior Brian Pate with 1:45 left in the second quarter pushed the Tribe's lead to 17-0. It was Pate's 30th-career made field goal, and he moved into a tie for fifth on the program's all-time list with Brian Morris (1982-85).

The 17-0 lead marked the third time this season that W&M has totaled multiple scores before surrendering any points, as it led Norfolk State 27-0 and Central Connecticut State 16-0.

Delaware finally got on the scoreboard with 17 seconds remaining in the first half when quarterback Pat Devlin completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Thaxton in the back of the end zone. Prior to the nine-play, 75-yard drive, the Tribe had limited the Blue Hens to just 52 yards of total offense.

W&M dominated the first half with 283 yards of total offense, while holding UD to just 127. Individually, Archer completed 15-of-21 passes for 253 yards with two touchdowns, while Hill's stat line included four catches for 134 yards with a pair of scores through two quarters.

The Tribe opened the second half with a 12-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a hard-fought 9-yard scamper by Grimes to extend the margin to 23-7. Grimes totaled 19 yards on three carries during the drive, while junior running back Courtland Marriner rushed for 21 yards on two carries to help set up the score.

In what was a defensive battle for much of the second half, neither team scored again until Devlin completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Rob Jones with 2:37 remaining in the contest. Thirty of the drive's 71 yards came via a pair of Tribe penalties.

After recovering a UD onside kick attempt, the Tribe quickly answered with a touchdown of its own to push the margin to 30-13. After an 18-yard run by Grimes moved the ball inside the 5-yard line, the Palmyra, N.J., native found the end zone from four yards out on the following play.

Although Delaware's Nihja White hauled in a 2-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining, the Blue Hens were unable to recover its ensuing onside kick as the College registered the 10-point win.

The Tribe will return to action again next Saturday when it plays at No. 2 Villanova before a nationally televised audience on Versus. W&M will be looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1992.