GLASSBORO (NJ) – The Rowan University defense turned a pair of Delaware Valley College turnovers into 14 points and that proved to be the difference as the Profs upset the ninth-ranked Aggies, 27-13, as part of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC)-New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Challenge.
It was the first season-opening loss since 2008 for Delaware Valley, which went 11-1 (10-0 regular season), with its fourth consecutive MAC title and third straight NCAA playoff bid last year. The Aggies have now lost all six career meetings with Rowan, including when the teams met in the 2004 and 2005 NCAA Division III quarterfinals.
After a scoreless first quarter, Delaware Valley went up 6-0 just 59 seconds into the second as an eight-play, 41-yard dirve was capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Aaron Wilmer to junior wideout Lewis Vincent. The two picked up where they left off from last year as they combined for seven touchdowns in 2011. The extra-point attempt was blocked by Rowan's Patrick Ruley.
The Profs responded on the ensuing drive as they went 66 yards on eight plays, including a 17-yard scoring strike from Louie Bianchini to Ed Eisenhart. One play before that touchdown, Delaware Valley was called for a pass interference penalty on a fourth-and-five play. Mike Burke booted the extra point for a 7-6 Rowan advantage.
Two plays into the next drive, Wilmer had a pass intercepted by Casey Dillon and Dillon returned it 33 yards to the Aggie 20. A personal foul penalty at the end of the drive moved the ball up 10 yards. The Profs moved the ball to the five-yard line on a pair of runs and, on third down, Bianchi hit Chris Garcia in the end zone for a touchdown. Burke's kick made it a 14-6 contest with 8:54 remaining in the first half.
Late in the half, Delaware Valley drove to the Rowan 18-yard line, but Wilmer was sacked for a loss of four and the Aggies burned their last timeout. An incomplete pass put the clock under 20 seconds and Wilmer followed with a completion to fullback Christian Brooks to the 12-yard line. They tried to get the field goal unit on the field, but the clock ran out to end the half before the ball was snapped.
Rowan threatened deep in Aggie territory early in the third quarter, but safety John Robinson intercepted a pass at the one-yard line and returned in 24 yards. Delaware Valley had to punt and the Profs then turned the ball over on downs at the Aggie 33. Delaware Valley then faced a third-and-five from its 38 when Wilmer hit Chris Ruiz with a pass at the line of scrimmage. Ruiz was stripped of the ball by Tyler Jenkins and Kurt Kingett returned the fumble 38 yards for a touchdown. It was the final play of the third quarter and it gave Rowan a 21-6 lead.
Delaware Valley reached the Profs' 14-yard line on its next drive but an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-six gave the ball back to the home team. Rowan then drove down to the Aggie 21-yard line, but a 38-yard field goal attempt sailed wide to the left and kept Delaware Valley in the contest with 7:31 to go.
The Aggies then made things interested as they needed just 10 plays and 2:32 to go the distance and reach the end zone. On the drive, a 26-yard pass from Wilmer to tailback Kyle Schuberth put the ball at the one and Wilmer then snuck in for the touchdown. Brandon Snyder hit the extra-point to make it an eight-point game, 21-13 with 5:04 remaining.
The Delaware Valley defense stopped Rowan on its next drive and the Aggies took over at their own 36-yard line with 3:20 on the clock. Wilmer then hit Rasheed Bailey and Schuberth for passes of 10 and 14 yards to put the ball in Prof territory. On a third-and-10, Wilmer and Bailey teamed up again, this time for 13 yards and a first down at the 27. A pair of incomplete passes sandwiched a five-yard completion to Vincent and left the Aggies with a fourth-and-five. Wilmer's pass to Chris Ruiz fell incomplete and Rowan took over with 1:31 to go.
Delaware Valley used its final two timeouts on Rowan's first two plays, leaving the Profs with a third-and-three from its 29. Matt Dortch then ripped off a 71-yard touchdown to seal the win.
Delaware Valley finished 367 yards of total offense, but turned the ball over three times. Wilmer was 29-for-49 for 255 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked five times Ruiz and Schuberth caught seven passes each while Vincent had six grabs for 78 yards and a score. Schuberth netted 86 yards on 16 carries.
Defensively, the Aggies held Rowan to 280 yards with 71 coming on the last play. Linebacker John Marcelline had a career afternoon with 16 tackles and one sack. Robinson added seven tackles to his interception.
Bianchini completed 15 of 24 passes for just 97 yards. He threw two touchdowns and had two passed intercepted. Dortch finished with 158 yards and the clinching score on 22 carries. Darren Dungee paced the defense with 11 tackles.