DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — Tenth-ranked Delaware Valley College
held No. 20 Washington & Jefferson College without a first down
for nearly three full quarters and allowed just 67 yards of total
offense as the Aggies cruised to a 27-0, non-conference
The game was part of the inaugural PAC-MAC Challenge Series with teams from the Presidents' Athletic Conference and the Middle Atlantic Conference meeting on the gridiron. It was billed as the headliner of the Challenge Series as both teams reached the NCAA Division III playoffs last year (Delaware Valley won its conference title and advanced to the second round, Washington & Jefferson earned an at-large bid and was knocked out in the opening round), but it quickly turned into a one-sided affair.
One reason why was the Delaware Valley defense. The unit held the Presidents to minus-11 yards runshing and just 78 yards in the air. They racked up more sacks (6) and forced more punt (8) than W&J had first downs (5) and did not allow a third-down conversion in 10 attempts. The first time the Presidents moved the chains came with 5:42 left in the third quarter and they didn't cross midfield until two minutes later.
Meanwhile, a balanced Aggie offense racked up 446 total yards (221 rushing, 245 passing) and 27 first downs. They were 10-for-16 on third-down conversions and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes (39:53).
Delaware Valley took the opening kickoff and promptly went on a seven-play, 70-yard scoring drive. Senior quarterback Mark Hatty was 3-for-3 on the drive, including a 23-yard scoring toss to fellow senior Joe Gionfriddo on a third-and-seven play. Jake Sobchak added the extra-point for a quick, 7-0 lead with 11:46 left in the first quarter.
After a three-and-out, the Aggies came right back down the field and eventually reached the W&J 17-yard line. A penalty moved the ball back 10 yards and Hatty's next pass was intercepted by Matthew Gal near the goal line to end the threat.
After the teams combined for three punts, Delaware Valley began a drive on its own 47-yard line. Hatty was sacked on the first play, but back-to-back completions to fullback Vincent Lochetto moved the chains. The Aggies later faced a fourth-and-12 from the President 31, but Hatty drilled a pas to Chris Ruiz for 16 yards and a first down. Senior tailback Matt Cook took care of the final 15 yards with four straight carries, the last a five-yard plunge into the end zone. The score was the record-breaking 34th of Cook's career (32 rushing 2 receiving) as he passed 2006 graduate Steve Cook (no relation) on the Aggie all-time list. Sobchak's point-after made it a 14-0 ballgame with 6:31 left before the intermission.
Delaware Valley began another drive on its 47, this one with 2:42 left in the half. It needed just two plays and 26 seconds to find the end one this time as Hatty completed a 23-yard strike to Dan Heiland and, on a broken play, followed with a 30-yard touchdown run. Sobchak's extra-point upped the advantage to 21-0.
The Aggies' final touchdown of the day came with 4:26 to go in the third quarter as Hatty and Gionfriddo teamed up again, this time for a 34-yard score to cap a two-play, 37-yard drive. The short field was set up as safety Ryan McCullough forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Jim DiLisio. Sobchak's extra-point attempt clanked off the left upright to keep the score at 27-0.
Hatty completed 22 of 30 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns while rushing five times for 34 yards and a score. He also caught a 10-yard pass. Gionfriddo hauled in four passes for 67 yards and the two touchdowns. Cook carried the ball 27 times and one touchdown.
All-American linebacker Kyle Gesswein notched seven tackles and 1.5 sacks as he continued to add to his all-time sacks record (32.5). Garrett Wooters had two sacks while Amadeus Hall and Mike Jaskowski had one apiece. Ken Fowlkes tied Gesswein for top honors with seven stops.
W&J starting quarterback Gino Rometo completed 7 of 12 passes for 40 yards while backup Andrew Cappucci came in for the final drive of the game and was 5-for-7 for 38 yards. Jordan Roycroft caught six of passes for 30 yards. Tim McNerney was the leading rusher with six carries for just 15 yards. Defensively, Ian Hennessy and Matthew Gal paced the Presidents with 13 and 12 tackles respectively.