December 18 bluehens.com:
NEWARK, Del. — The University of Delaware can once again give thanks to the Blue Hen defense. And this time the reward is a trip to Frisco, Tex. and a chance at yet another national football championship.
The fifth-ranked Blue Hens took advantage of four Georgia Southern turnovers, including one at UD’s own goal-line in the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the day, as Delaware rode that momentum to a 27-10 NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision semifinal victory Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.
Delaware (12-2), the tournament’s No. 3 seed, posted its third straight victory and earned the right to take on No. 1 ranked and fifth-seeded Eastern Washington (13-2) in the national championship game Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Tex. The Hens, owners of six national titles, won the FCS national title in 2003 and advanced to the title game in 2007.
The loss ended a storybook post-season for the 20th-ranked Eagles (10-5), who earned at-large berth in the tournament and knocked off South Carolina State, No. 2 seed William & Mary, and Wofford in succession before having a six-game win streak snapped vs. the Blue Hens.
“It took a great team effort to get this win today,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler, who improved to 11-2 in NCAA playoff action in his nine seasons at Delaware and remained undefeated at home in the post-season with a mark of 8-0. “We did a phenomenal job getting ready for this game. The big difference today was that we made some big plays and they didn’t. It was really good to get some seven-pointers (touchdowns) when we were down close. Getting turnovers was something we really focused on this week and we thought we would have some chances. It was a big boost for our defense to keep them out of the end zone.”
Keeler, who coached for nine seasons at NCAA Division III Rowan (N.J.) University before returning to his alma mater, ranks No. 2 among all collegiate head coaches with 10 trips to the NCAA semifinals. He is headed to the NCAA championship game for the eighth time in his career, including his third as mentor of the Blue Hens.
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