NEWARK, Del. – When Pat Devlin left Penn State for Delaware two years ago, this is the kind of moment he envisioned.
The senior threw two touchdown passes and Delaware forced five turnovers to beat Georgia Southern 27-10 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals Saturday.
“It’s why I came here,” said Devlin, who completed 14 of 20 passes for 137 yards. “I came here to play in big games, I came here to play for championships. I’m just so excited that we’re able to get there.”
Delaware (12-2) advanced to the championship game, where it will face Eastern Washington on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas. Eastern Washington beat 2009 champion Villanova 41-31 in the other semifinal on Friday night.
Delaware freshman Andrew Pierce ran for 186 yards on 26 carries to help the Blue Hens reach the title game for the third time since 2003.
Georgia Southern (10-5) couldn’t overcome four lost fumbles, three of which came inside the Delaware 40.
The Eagles, who had a six-game win streak snapped, pulled to 17-10 on Robert Brown’s 6-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 to stretch the lead to 24-10. Pierce carried the ball twice for 52 yards on the drive before David Hayes scored on a 7-yard run with 6:05 remaining.
Delaware added a 20-yard field goal by Mike Perry to account for the game’s final points.