3 & Out: Yarns, Blue Hens make quick work of Towson, turn to Elon with quarterback questions

BY DANIEL STEENKAMER
Managing Sports Editor

Ryan Carty just could not help it. 

The second-year Delaware head football coach and playcaller had a play drawn up that had yet to see game action when the Blue Hens kicked off their contest at Towson University on Saturday.

Despite drilling it in practice, the call had stayed on Carty’s sheet for several weeks.

When he dialed it up as Delaware’s first play from scrimmage at Towson, the result was the tone-setter in the Hens’ 51-13 spanking of the Tigers.

Senior quarterback Zach Marker hit senior running back Marcus Yarns on a screen pass that Yarns took 75 yards for a touchdown, the first of five total by Yarns on the afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

“I felt like getting it off my call sheet, if we’re being honest,” Carty said postgame with a smile. “I was kinda over it staying on there. I didn’t wanna practice it another week.”   

Delaware reaped the benefits of its repetitions, with Carty calling the screen “fairly safe, but possible for an ‘X’ play always.”

Larissa Veronica Heather/THE REVIEW

The “X” play is Carty’s shorthand for any explosive play of 15-to-20 yards or more. The Blue Hens generated those almost at will in the first quarter at Towson, as by its end, Delaware led 28-0.

Yarns’ early dominance that decimated the Tigers headlines this week’s edition of 3 & Out.

High five: Yarns piles up points 

Yarns both keyed and took full advantage of Delaware’s offensive control in the first 15 minutes of the game, scoring on touchdown runs of eight, three and five yards to add to his game-opening catch-and-run.

With his five-yard touchdown rush in the third quarter, Yarns tied Delaware’s No. 2 program mark for single-game total touchdowns (five).

“Oh yeah, I love it,” Yarns said postgame about his rushing alleys out of direct-snap formation. “Keep going, keep going.” 

With his prolific performance at a rapid pace, Yarns placed himself beside a Delaware great in former running back Omar Cuff, who was the last Hen to record four rushing scores in one game (2007 NCAA Division I-AA opening round versus Delaware State).

Marker leaves a mark on Towson, lands in injury tent

Larissa Veronica Heather/THE REVIEW

While Yarns made the end zone his second residence Saturday, Marker was equally sharp, firing his first 16 passes for completions. In all, Marker racked up 307 yards passing on 16-of-18 in just the first half.

That half ended with Marker getting sacked for a loss of three yards to the Towson 12, which set up junior kicker Nate Reed’s 29-yard field goal that put the Blue Hens up 38-0 before halftime. After the sack and with the special teams unit hitting the field, Marker appeared to get himself attention on a shoulder, which was the site of his injury from the Hens’ loss at Penn State.

“I think OK,” Carty said postgame when asked about Marker’s status. “I honestly haven’t gotten an update.”

Unlike the scenario at Penn State, which ended with Marker in a sling, the quarterback was free of any apparatus on the upper body when on the sideline in the second half at Towson. Marker’s day was done regardless with Delaware in command.

“It looked like” it was Marker’s shoulder again giving him trouble, Carty said when prompted about the specificity of the injury.

Junior quarterback Ryan O’Connor, who missed the trip to Hampton University with his own upper body injury after winning the starting job, did not play at Towson.

Marker and O’Connor’s health seem to-be-determined entering this Saturday’s clash with Elon University, though it is possible that Carty is maximizing uncertainty of any defensive game plan that the Phoenix will bring north to Newark.

In back-to-back road starts, Marker’s speed has added a layer to Delaware’s surging offense.

“He’s one of the fastest players on our team,” Carty said. “We’re excited that he gives you that element. It’s one of the reasons we recruited him. He was able to do a lot of the things that you like in a quarterback in our offense.”

Marker’s acceleration to the tune of nine carries for 44 net yards gave Towson another pain point on defense. Delaware finished with 619 yards of total offense in 38:26 of possession.

“I thought their quarterback played extremely well,” Towson Head Football Coach Pete Shinnick said of Marker in his postgame press conference. “When some of our best tacklers are having trouble tackling him, hats off to him because I thought he did a great job. I thought we had a couple sack opportunities that he evaded.”

Whether Marker evaded another injury that could sideline him remains to be seen — or revealed. Freshman quarterback Nick Minicucci played the second half for the Blue Hens, finishing Towson off with 79 yards passing on 6-of-8, plus 59 rushing yards on five attempts.

Larissa Veronica Heather/THE REVIEW

Elon enters Delaware Stadium with its own path to playoffs on the line

The Elon Phoenix (4-4, 4-1 in conference) ventures to Delaware this week after taking its regular-season bye on Saturday.

With his team off, Elon head coach Tony Trisciani had the opportunity to scout the Blue Hens with a head start, including watching portions of their win at Towson live.

“I’m glad I wasn’t sitting at my device watching the beginning of it live,” Trisciani joked during Monday’s Coastal Athletic Association media teleconference. “That would have ruined the rest of the afternoon, right?”

While Delaware certainly made an impression with its opening-quarter blasting of the Tigers, Elon figures to be unfazed by the prospect of playing at the fifth-ranked Hens. The Phoenix has attained CAA Football wins over the College of William & Mary and Campbell University this fall. With its one league loss entering its bout versus Delaware, Elon has a path to the conference’s automatic Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth despite holding a .500 overall record.

That path runs right through Delaware and Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. kickoff on 91.3 FM WVUD. Live pregame coverage from atop the Whitney Athletic Center begins at 12:45 p.m.

Follow @udreview on Instagram for gameday scenes and updates.

Larissa Veronica Heather/THE REVIEW

Originally posted 2023-10-30 20:59:54.


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