Delaware, unlike all three games on day one, came out of the gate hot against Life in the first Cup Quarterfinal Sunday, but couldn't hold on, as Life scored 12-unanswered points for the 12-7 victory.
The Blue Hens had the better intensity and focus, and it resulted in great field position. For the better part of two minutes they repeated phases inside Life's 22.
The Running Eagles were pinged with a few penalties during the defensive stand, culminating Colton Cariaga being yellow-carded. Just after the card was give, Delaware’s Jimmy Kowalski finally broke the Life goal line for a try in the third minute.
Life waited out the rest of the two minutes remaining in Cariaga’s time out and penetrated Delaware’s defense with a series of inside offloads. Tyler Salamon threatened the try line but was thrust into touch.
Delaware worked the ball all the way back into Life’s 22 before Cariaga stole possession. Life worked the ball from right to left and left to right, and Cornelius Dirksen took the corner, escaped an ankle-tap tackle and put Life on the board. Cariaga converted, putting the Running Eagles up 7-5 at the half.
Life opened the second half with a try after throwing the ball into touch and stealing the ensuing lineout. The Running Eagles swung the ball across the field and brought it back to Cam Dolan, who ran untouched for the score. The conversion attempt was missed, leaving Delaware just one converted try down.
Delaware’s Pat Goldring then orchestrated a promising attack, knifing through a hole and cleverly waiting for support. But inside the 22 he made the curious decision to grubber, giving Life the ball back.
During Life’s next possession Goldring was binned for an extracurricular tussle while the ball was dead.
Delaware regained possession and held it when the final hooter sounded, but Mitch Vannoy kicked the ball away, and Joe Cowley gladly scooped it up and cleared it to touch to end the game.
Life showed good poise to not fold under the early pressure from Delaware, as they nearly did against Penn State in the first game of the tournament.
"It really comes down to six, nine months ago. We have all the tools we need to execute and do what we need to do. Somebody might make mistakes, but they’re Etch-a-Sketch moments, shake it off, erase it, and go forward," Tyler Salamon said.
"We’ve been playing half by half. We zone out by ourselves and get focused. We do half by half and on Sunday it’s more like play by play," Jake McFadden added.
The Running Eagles await the winner of Arizona and Navy.