December 5 bluehens.com:
NEWARK, Del. — While the brisk temperatures and strong winds lowered the wind chill near freezing, the No. 5 ranked University of Delaware rode the red-hot throwing arm of quarterback Pat Devlin and used 28 unanswered points to wear down Lehigh and advance in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a 42-20 second round victory Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.
Devlin, the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year and a top 10 finalist for the Johnny Unitas Gold Arm Award, posted his fourth straight 200-yard passing effort as the threw for 256 yards and connected for touchdowns with four different receivers. His four touchdowns matched a career-high set vs. Massachusetts each of the past two seasons and upped his total to 11 over the last three games.
The Blue Hens (10-2) now advance to the NCAA quarterfinals where they will take on CAA foe New Hampshire (8-4) either next Friday or Saturday. New Hampshire, which didn’t play the Blue Hens during the regular season, advanced with a 45-20 victory at Bethune-Cookman Saturday afternoon. The dates and games times for all four quarterfinal games will be announced Sunday afternoon.
Delaware rolled up 450 total yards against a No. 19/18 ranked Lehigh squad that had entered the game ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense (17.2 points per game) and was riding an eight-game win streak – the longest among the 20 teams in the NCAA tournament field. The Patriot League champion Mountain Hawks ended their season with a 10-2 mark despite a big effort from quarterback Chris Lum, who had a career day as he connected on 35 of 58 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted twice.
“Lehigh gave us everything we thought they were going to give us,” said Delaware head coach Keeler, who improved to 9-2 all-time in NCAA FCS playoff action and stayed unbeaten at home in six playoff games at Delaware Stadium. “We always say that the CAA prepares us for tournament play and I think that was certainly true today. I don’t think Lehigh saw a passing game like ours in the regular season this season. Pat is the best quarterback in the country and does such a great job reading the field. The offensive line did a great job protecting him today like they have all season.”
Delaware, the 2003 national champion and the NCAA runner-up in 2007, has now advanced to the quarterfinals four times in nine seasons under Keeler.
Delaware connected for touchdowns with four different receivers on the afternoon, hitting Mark Schenauer (at right) on a 29-yard scoring strike and Chris Campbell on a one-yard toss in the second quarter and hooking up with Tommy Crosby from 38 yards out and with Nihja White on a 20-yard scoring play as part of a 21-point third quarter. After Lehigh took a 14-13 lead midway through the second stanza, the Hens reeled off 28 straight points to take command.
Schenauer, a junior, enjoyed his best career game as he hauled in five passes for a career-high 113 yards with his touchdown catch the first of his career. Crosby finished with three receptions for 69 yards while White caught three balls for 39 yards. The Hens showed their balance as they also piled up 194 yards on the ground as CAA Rookie of the Year Andrew Pierce rung up 88 yards and scored on a five-yard run on the Hens’ first possession of the game while David Hayes added 74 yards on the ground and scored on a 16-yard burst in the third quarter to up the lead to 35-13.
“I have confidence in all the wideouts and Shenny (Schenauer) has such great hands,” said Devlin, who also reached milestones of 400 completions and 5,000 career passing yards at Delaware during the victory. “We had four touchdowns with four different guys today and that just shows you what kind of receiver core we have. Lehigh plays an unorthodox defense and that was a challenge for our offensive line but they were able to do a great job in protection and gave me and wide receivers the chance to do our jobs.”
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