FCS Championship Game blog
FRISCO, Texas -- Delaware and Eastern Washington are vying for the FCS championship at Pizza Hut Park. NCAA.com's Duane Cross and Jerry Trickie share their insights from the game:
... Game clock ticks down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- Eagles fans begin streaming onto the field. ... Eastern Washington wins the 2011 FCS Championship Game.
... Eastern Washington QB Bo Levi Mitchell takes a knee. And again.
... First-and-10 from the 31-yard line with 47 seconds remaining.
... Championship on the line: Devlin takes the snap -- pick up of 9 yards by Mark Schenauer; Blue Hens fall 1 yard short. Eastern Washington takes over on downs.
... Third-and-1 from the 35-yard line -- and QB Pat Devlin scrambles and gets a new set of downs. Completion to Tommy Crosby for 13 yards. Devlin rumbles for 12 yards. Incompletion. Devlin sacked by EWU's Zach Johnson for a loss of 9 yards. Third-and-19, completion to Rob Jones. UD calls its second timeout facing fourth-and-10 from the EWU 39-yard line.
... Delaware, trailing for the first time, starts the drive with 2:38 remaining to play.
... EWU QB Bo Levi Mitchell throws down the left sideline -- and Zack Gehring is alone in space ... and drops it. Mitchell complete for 11 yards to Nicholas Edwards. ... Mitchell completes and 11-yard pass to Brandon Kaufman -- touchdown, EWU. The kick is good -- EWU leads 20-19.
... And we're back; no TO charged to Delaware.
... There is 3:29 showing on the clock. Timeout, Delaware. ... And the officials are again huddled and on the headset taking with the eyes in the sky.
... Officials decide to re-spot the ball, based on video. After moving the ball back a few inches, the measurement still gives EWU a first down at the UD 22.
... First-and-10 from the UD 22-yard line. ... And the spot is under review.
... Bo Levi Mitchell and Nicholas Edwards hook up on first down for a 31-yard completion to the UD 32-yard line. Mitchell scrambles, no gain. Completion to Mario Brown for 4 yards. Completion to Kaufman for 5 yards. Fourth-and 1 -- Mario Brown gets it by the length of the football.
... Eastern Washington takes over, first-and-10 from its 37-yard line with 6:18 remaining to play. Will QB Bo Levi Mitchell rally the Eagles for the comeback victory in his return to Texas?
... 13,027 is the announced attendance.
... Delaware takes possession with 8:10 on the clock. EWU has made it a one-possession game. On third-and-5, UD QB Pat Devlin is sacked for a loss of 1. Punt. And here comes the Eagles ...
... Eastern Washington's 89-yard scoring drive is the longest yielded by Delaware this season.
... Second-and-2 at the 9-yard line -- Bo Levi Mitchell to Nicholas Edwards, touchdown. The PAT is good; Delaware 19, Eastern Washington 13 with 8:16 left to play.
... Catch of the night: Brandon Kaufman lays out for a 15-yard pickup to the UD 29. ... Now EWU faces fourth-and-8 from the 27-yard line ... Bo Levi Mitchell to Nicholas Edwards for a first down to keep the drive alive.
... The Eagles are back on the clock with 12:15 remaining: Incomplete. Completion. Incomplete. Completion. Completion -- and a measurement: first down, EWU, at the Delaware 44-yard line.
... Eastern Washington again comes out throwing: Completion. Completion. Second-and-6 from the EWU 38. Timeout, Delaware.
... On third-and-12 from the EWU 44, UD WR Mark Schenauer drops the pass (with a lot of real estate in front of him). ... Delaware punts; EWU takes over at its own 11-yard line with 13:02 to play.
... UD begins the fourth quarter facing third-and-3 from its own 48-yard line. The Blue Hens are 4 of 9 on third-down conversions thus far. ... Pat Devlin passes to Tommy Crosby for 10 yards and a first down.
... With a 12-point lead -- and the ball -- the Blue Hens seem content to churn the yardage, work the clock with time winding down in the third quarter.
... Delaware comes out in the spread formation. Pat Devlin's pass is almost intercepted by Eastern Washington's J.C. Sherritt, the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award winner as the FCS defensive player of the year.
... The Eagles again come out throwing the ball. Incomplete. Scramble and completion. Completion. ... Handoff for minus-1. ... Pass complete, 22 yards to Brandon Kaufman, who stretches of the end zone -- touchdown, EWU. The 2-point conversion is ... timeout, Eagles. Four receivers, one back; pass to the back of the end zone -- incomplete. Five plays, 80 yards, 1:30 off the clock. Delaware leads 19-6 with 1:48 glowing on the end zone clocks.
... Delaware holds on fourth-and-6, forcing a change of possession. ... Eastern Washington forces three-and-out; Delaware punts and EWU takes over first-and-10 at its 20-yard line with 3:18 to play in the third quarter.
... EWU QB Bo Levi Mitchell comes out slinging: 11-yard pass to Brandon Kaufman ... 8-yard completion to Kaufman ... first-down run by Mario Brown. The Eagles are running a no-huddle offense in an attempt to turn up th wick.
... Eastern Washington's collective backs are against the wall. With about 22 minutes of football to play, there is no time -- no drive -- to waste. The Eagles' offense must score a touchdown on this possession if it hopes to make it a ballgame.
... During the TV timeout the stadium PA blared "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio. ... Cool!
... Delaware again is in the red zone -- first-and-goal at the 5-yard line. ... Pat Devlin completes a 4-yard pass to Andrew Pierce; second-and-goal at the 1. ... David Hayes takes the 1-yard plunge to cap the 10-play, 60-yard drive that took 4:43. The PAT is good; Blue Hens lead 19-0 with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter.
... The Blue Hens are methodical, that's the best way to describe the team's offensive gameplan. On the flip side, Eastern Washington's defense continues to keep the Eagles in the game. Question is: How much longer can EWU bend without breaking?
... Turnabout is fair play: The ball goes through EWU WR Greg Herd's hands and UD's Darryl Jones hauls it in for a pick, the second turnover of the game. First-and-10 Delaware at its own 40-yard line.
... And just when you say that, the ball goes through UD WR Mark Schenauer's hands and EWU's Allen Brown snares it for an intercpetion, the first turnover of the game.
... Delaware continues to stick to its tried-and-true formula: leaning on the men in the trenches, running the football, throwing the ball underneath, controlling the clock. It's not the Fun 'n' Gun or the Run 'n' Shoot, but it as been equally as effective.
... EWU tees up the ball, the kick is away ... touchback; Delaware takes possession at its 20-yard line.
... There is 2:30 remaining until the second-half kickoff.
... A quick look at the halftime stats: Delaware has 41 plays for 230 yards (116 rushing, 114 passing); Eastern Washington has 25 plays for 62 yards (26 rushing, 36 passing). ... UD's Andrew Pierce has 74 yards on 13 carries. ... UD's Pat Devlin is 11 of 17 for 114 yards. ... UD's Nihja White has five catches for 73 yards. ... EWU's Mario Brown has 21 yards on nine carries. ... EWU's Bo Levi Mitchell is 6 of 11 for 36 yards. ... EWU's Greg Herd has two catches for 20 yards. ... Defensively, UD's Anthony Bratton has six tackles. ... EWU's Zach Johnson has 10 tackles. ... UD leads in time of possession -- 17:41 to 12:19 and is 3-for-3 in the red zone (one touchdown, two field goals).
... The Blue Hens have outscored their opponents 34-3 in the third quarter through three playoff games.
... Delaware drove the ball wherever it wanted in the first half. The O-line for Eastern Washington is not holding up under pressure, which is affecting QB Bo Levi Mitchell. One great defensive play has kept this game from being a blowout. UD had two opportunites and only got field goals; could be up by three touchdowns instead of 12-0.
... At halftime, Delaware leads 12-0 -- the first time Eastern Washington has been shut out in the first half this season. This is the third time this season that EWU has trailed entering the locker room; the Eagles are 1-2 in those games.
... A 63-yard punt from Cameron Zuber made possible by a big-time hustle play by EWU's Darriell Beaumonte, who sprinted down and kept the ball from rolling into the end zone. It was the second-longest punt of Zuber's career and the 10th-longest in school history.
... There may not be NFL-caliber talent along the Delaware defensive line, but these big bodies have a future as billboards along I-95.
... For all of the talk about Eatern Washington's offense, the Eagles' defense is more than carrying its share of the load. Three-and-out and UD punts for the first time. ... EWU takes over at its own 30 with 2:56 left to play in the second quarter.
... Delaware forces another punt after sacking EWU QB Bo Levi Mitchell. The Bue Hens take over at their own 31-yard line with 4:09 remaining until halftime -- when the Eagles hope to make adjustments for the second half to climb back into this game.
... There's a patch of red turf on the EWU sideline, brought to Frisco by the team as a reminder of its home-field advantage at Roos Field. The patch is probably 18 inches wide, four feet long. You can only imagine what a football field full of that turf looks like. An "inferno," indeed.
... EWU takes possession at its 34-yard line with 6:42 remaining in the first half.
... Midway through the second quarter, Delaware is again inside the red zone and looking to pad its 9-0 lead. Now eyeing third-and-11 at the 16-yard line, Pat Devlin completes a pass to Nihja White -- but he's out of bounds at the front corner of the end zone. Now the 33-yard field-goal attempt is ... good: 12-0 Blue Hens, and Eastern Washington remains within striking distance after UD's 10-play, 49-yard drive that takes 3:27 off the clock.
... Eastern Washington is struggling on the underneath drag routes; UD QB Pat Devlin is feasting on the short passing game.
... This is an important possession for Eastern Washington. The offense needs to get into a groove, grind out some yardage and eat some clock. However, on third-and-4 the Blue Hens sack QB Bo Levi Mitchell for a loss of 3; fourth-and-7 and the Eagles are punting for the third time.
... UD's wide bodies in the trenches continue to set the tone along the line of scrimmage -- but the Eagles' defense has dug in its heels, forcing a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-goal from the 4. ... The snap, the hold, the kick -- good, from 21 yards: 9-0, Delaware. The driver: 13 plays, 76 yards, 5:16 time of possession.
... Turning point? EWU is flagged for being offsides on a play that seemed to be an interception on a hard hit that dislodged the ball from the UD receiver.
... Delaware begins the second quarter with a second-and-7 situation and holding a 6-0 lead.
... Pat Devlin continues to throw with on-the-numbers accuracy. He's living up to the hype and showing no signs of nerves through one quarter of play.
... EWU punts (snap was low, nice job by Cameron Zuber to corral and get off the kick), and a 51-yard boot has the Blue Hens taking control at their own 20 with 2:45 showing on the first-quarter clock.
... There's been chatter about east vs. west, in terms of how the game is played on the respective coasts. One thing is certain: They're well-fed at Delaware; no doubt the Blue Hends have a size advantage.
... Eastern Washington's Bo Levi Mitchell is easy to spot; the red tape on his shoes is ... bright.
... Delaware scores first for the 12th time this season; the Blue Hens are 11-0 when doing so.
... With 5:14 remaning in the first quarter, Andrew Pierce draws first blood with his 14th rushing touchdown of the season, a 3-yard dive. The PAT is blocked. Delaware leads 6-0, with a 14-play drive covering 80 yards in 6:09.
... Andrew Pierce bulls for a gain of 3; first-and-10, Delaware. ... Win-win decision for UD head coach K.C. Keeler; shows confidence in the offense from the get-go.
... There is 7:12 remaining in the first quarter, fourth-and-1 at the 30 -- and the Blue Hens are going for it. ... And now call time out.
... Delaware's offense is hitting on all cylinders on its first drive. QB Pat Devlin has been pinpoint with his throws; Nihja White now has a catch in 23 consecutive games.
... 6: 16 p.m. -- Andrew Pierce picks up the Blue Hens' initial first down, 2-yard run off tackle right.
... 6:15 p.m. -- Delaware's offense is on the field for its first series.
... 6:12 p.m. -- On third-and-8, incomplete pass. We'll have our first punt of the night. ... Forty-six-yard punt; touchback.
... 6:10 p.m. -- Facing second-and-14, EWU gains 16 on a completion from Bo Levi Mitchell to Greg Herd for its initial first down.
... 6:03 p.m. -- Team captains meet at midfield for the coin toss. EWU will receive.
... 5:48 p.m. -- A second parachute dude nails the landing at the 50. Again, the crowd goes wild ...
... 5:47 p.m. -- Parachute dude lands on the 50-yard line, barrel-rolls and jumps back to his feet. The crowd goes wild ...
... 5:45 p.m. -- We're moments away from the national anthem. Eastern Washington was last off the field, 25:30 before kickoff.