Hills runs for 242 yards, but late fum­ble costs Blue Hens

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— With the score tied and un­der a minute left in the game, Delaware gave the ball to the player that had in­di­vid­u­ally ac­counted for more than half of its to­tal of­fense.

Run­ning back Wes Hills had bolted for a 61-yard touch­down just over four min­utes ear­lier to tie the score at 21 – his sec­ond rush­ing touch­down of the game. But on a sec­ond-and-5 carry from the Maine 40-yard line, Hills was stripped by a Black Bears de­fender. Maine line­backer Austin Brown scooped the loose ball up and re­turned it 62 yards to the end zone, se­cur­ing a 28-21vic­tory for the vis­i­tors Satur­day at a rainy Delaware Sta­dium.

“Some­one got their hand in there. I didn’t have it high and tight, and you guys know the out­come,” Hills said. “First things

NE­WARK, DEL.

first, I’m tak­ing full re­spon­si­bil­ity for this loss. It’s my fault, I’m putting it all on me. It’s not on the coaches … I prom­ise it won’t hap­pen again.”

The Blue Hens recorded 393 yards of to­tal of­fense. Hills ran for 242 of those, the fourth most yards rush­ing in school his­tory, and caught for 14 more.

“To be hon­est, the num­bers to me don’t mat­ter,” Hills said. “We got the loss, and I couldn’t care less about the num­bers. All I want is to win, and that’s not what we did tonight.”

Head coach Dave Brock ref­er­enced sev­eral other ar­eas Delaware strug­gled in lead­ing to the loss.

“I think he had a great game. The ball came out and it turns into a cat­a­strophic play, there’s no other way to frame it,” Brock said. “We should’ve done a lot of dif­fer­ent things. We had many, many op­por­tu­ni­ties. No game is de­fined by one play … We didn’t make enough plays on of­fense, we didn’t make enough plays on de­fense, we didn’t cre­ate enough plays on spe­cial teams, that’s why we lost the game. We didn’t coach well enough, that’s why we lost the game.

“Wes is a stand-up guy. I think you get a lit­tle bit of a glimpse into the type of per­son he is and the type of char­ac­ter he has. He’s an ex­cep­tional player and a bet­ter per­son, but he didn’t lose that game.”

Delaware’s most glar­ing weak­ness Satur­day was an in­abil­ity to throw the foot­ball. Sopho­more quar­ter­back Joe Walker com­pleted to wide re­ceiver Vinny Pa­pale for a gain of 11 yards with 12:17 left in the game for Delaware’s first pos­i­tive pass­ing yards of the game. Walker fin­ished with 74 yards pass­ing, com­plet­ing six of 16 pass at­tempts.

“We cer­tainly don’t throw the ball well enough. That’s an un­der­state­ment,” Brock said. “We prob­a­bly have to look at do­ing things a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent … We’ve got to do a bet­ter job, there’s no ques­tion about it. If you can’t throw the ball, you’re go­ing to strug­gle to win, it won’t mat­ter what the rush­ing statis­tics are.”

The Hens’ de­fense con­sis­tently strug­gled to stop Maine quar­ter­back Dan Collins, who threw for 307 yards and three touch­downs. Delaware held the Black Bears to just 68 yards on the ground.

“That’s kind of the in­verse of what we did,” Brock said. “You prob­a­bly shouldn’t be able to win if all you can do is throw, and they found a way to do it.”

Delaware (2-3 over­all, 0-2 CAA) be­gan the 2016 cam­paign with play­off ex­pec­ta­tions, but those hopes took a dras­tic hit with a third-straight loss. The Hens likely have to win their six re­main­ing games to make their pre­sea­son goal a re­al­ity, in­clud­ing three con­tests against Top 25 op­po­nents.

“The re­al­ity is you make the play­offs if you win eight games and you have a shot if you win seven. I think that’s the re­al­ity of FCS foot­ball for ev­ery­body,” Brock said. “That cer­tainly is still the ex­pec­ta­tion. I don’t think that changes. Math­e­mat­i­cally, at some point it could, but I don’t feel that way right now. I feel like we’ve got to come in to­mor­row and get back to work.”

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Elk­ton ju­nior run­ning back Raiquon Estep scored five first-half touch­downs dur­ing his team’s 55-21 win over host Har­ford Tech in Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion foot­ball ac­tion on Fri­day.

COUR­TESY: MARK CAMP­BELL, UNIVER­SITY OF DELAWARE

Wes Hills ran for a ca­reer-best 242 yards and two touch­downs in Satur­day’s 28-21 loss to Maine.

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