September 9, 2018

No. 23 Delaware Valley University 52, Univ. of Massachusetts Dartmouth 21

DARTMOUTH (MA) – Delaware Valley University senior quarterback Dashawn Darden threw four touchdowns passes as the No. 23 Aggies bounced backed from a rare season-opening loss to defeat host University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 52-21.

DelVal, an NCAA quarterfinalist a season ago, dropped a 34-10 decision at No. 9 Wesley College on August 31. Eight days later, the team’s first trip to Massachusetts was a triumphant one as the Aggies scored on their first three drives of the game for a 17-0 lead and never looked back. They led 31-7 at halftime and upped the advantage to 45-7 before the Corsairs (1-1) scored two of the three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Darden completed 11 of 20 passes for 207 yards and scoring strikes of 29, 47, 7 and 25 yards. In the process, he moved into fourth place on the school’s all-time list with 5,313 passing yards and upped his passing touchdown total to 60 (one shy of tying for third).

DelVal took the opening kickoff and quickly went 75 yards on just three plays. Following a one-yard run on first down, Donte Simmons took a handoff and sprinted 45 yards to the UMass Dartmouth 29. On the next play, Darden found tight end Dan Allen for the touchdown. Nick Restaino added the extra-point for the 7-0 lead just 80 seconds in.

The Corsairs went three-and-out and the Aggies took over at midfield. They drove to the 17-yard line and Restaino booted a 34-yard field goal for a 10-0 advantage with 10:19 left in the quarter. Three minutes later, it was 17-0 thanks to an eight-yard touchdown run by Simmons.

DelVal turned the ball over on an interception on the last play of the opening quarter and the Corsairs took over at the Aggie 30. Six plays later, they got on the scoreboard with a nine-yard touchdown from Stephen Gaciouch to Jacen Hudson on a fourth-and-four.

DelVal responded with a six-play, 69-yard scoring drive that took just over two minutes. The final 47 yards came on a big connection from Darden to Allen for the touchdown and a 24-7 lead. The Aggies then quickly got the ball back as Vincent DiLeo forced a fumble and Marquis Ellis recovered it at the their own 49-yard line. Twelve plays later, they were back in the end zone as Darden hit John Graham from eight yards out.

DelVal upped their advantage to 45-7 with back-to-back scoring drives in the third quarter. Darden threw his fourth and final touchdown pass of the day with a 25-yarder to Aaron Nelson with 10:26 on the clock. Five minutes later, Quadir Strothers completed a 55-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown.

Gaciouch and Jace Pena had one-yard scoring runs for the Corsairs in the fourth. The Aggies’ final score was sandwiched in-between as Wavell Wint found the end zone from three yards out.

DelVal finished the day with 465 yards of total offense, including 258 on the ground. Allen finished with four catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns while Nelson had three grabs for 40 yards and a score. Simmons carried the ball 10 times for 95 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, DiLeo notched nine tackles and forced fumble. Anthony Tedesco had eight stops and a forced fumble while Aaron Mayers had an interception that he returned for 34 yards.

For UMass Dartmouth, Gaciouch was just 7-for-14 for 103 yards and a touchdown. Steffan Gravely ran for 85 yards on 15 attempts. Samuel Ejiasi led the defense with seven tackles while Jacob Burkhead had two interceptions.

DelVal will begin defense of its Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championship when it welcomes Wilkes University to Doylestown for the home opener on Saturday, September 15 (1 p.m.).

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