NEWARK, Del. — Pat Devlin threw two touchdown passes and Delaware’s defense forced five turnovers as the Blue Hens beat Georgia Southern 27-10 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals Saturday.
Delaware (12-2) advances to the FCS national championship game, where it will face Eastern Washington on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Tex. Eastern Washington beat defending champion Villanova 41-31 in the other semifinal on Friday night.
Devlin completed 14 of 20 passes for 137 yards and freshman Andrew Pierce ran for 186 yards on 26 carries to help Delaware reach the FCS title game for the third time since 2003.
The Eagles pulled to 17-10 on Robert Brown’s six-yard touchdown run with 7:37 remaining. The TD came on a fourth-and-goal with Brown taking a pitch around right end. It finished off a 16-play, 64-yard drive that took 8:27 off the clock.
But the Hens answered right back, going 60 yards on just three running plays to stretch the lead to 24-10. Pierce carried the ball twice for 52 yards on the drive before David Hayes scored on a seven-yard run up the middle with 6:05 remaining.
Delaware added a 20-yard field goal by Mike Perry with 3:32 remaining to account for the game’s final points.
The Hens pushed their advantage to 17-3 late in the third quarter when Phillip Thaxton scored on a 24-yard pass from Devlin. With Georgia Southern blitzing, Thaxton got an initial block after catching a screen pass and went the rest of the distance untouched.
The Hens took a 10-0 lead into halftime after Perry kicked a 21-yard field with 2:06 remaining. The kick capped off a seven-play, 66-yard march.
Georgia Southern got a 40-yard field goal from Adrian Mora on the first possession of the second half. A 53-yard run by Jerick McKinnon set up the kick.
Delaware used a 16-play, 85-yard drive to score the game’s first touchdown. Devlin found Mark Schenauer in the back of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown pass with 13:29 left in the second quarter.
The drive was aided by a personal foul penalty on Georgia Southern after a third-down incompletion at the Eagles’ 24.
Georgia Southern drove 71 yards to the Delaware 1 on its first drive of the day. But Blue Hens’ defensive end Chris Morales recovered a fumble to end the drive.
The Eagles also fumbled at the end of the first half after reaching the Delaware 18. Three of Georgia Southern’s fumbles came inside the Hens’ 40.