HOW THEY DID IT: NCAA Playoff Recaps
_ Delta State 24, N. C. Central 17
CIAA champion, Southeast Region top-seed and BCSP No. 1 North Carolina Central had its chances but could not make the plays it needed in falling to Delta State in a second round NCAA Div. II playoff game at home Saturday afternoon. The Eagles (11-1) were plagued by dropped passes, six in all, and an inability to run the ball, garnering just 36 rushing yards in 21 attempts. They also struggled to convert third-down opportunities, making just four of 14 on the afternoon. Delta State (11-2) was able to keep the Eagles out of the end zone for most of the game after giving up an early score to go down 7-0. DSU senior QB Scott Eyster was picked off by NCCU DB Tyrone Williams at the DSU 48 on the game's opening possession. Williams' return to the DSU 9 led to a nine-yard scoring pass from QB Stadford Brown to Wayne Blackwell. Eyster (23-34-264-1) had two second-quarter scoring passes to put the Statesmen up 14-7. DSU would add a ten-yard run by Steven Davis that capped an 11-play, 96-yard drive to lead 21-7 late in the first half. The Eagles drove for a 40-yard Brandon Gilbert field goal at the halftime horn to trail 24-10 at the break. DSU cashed in again on a 26-yard Halliday field goal to lead 24-10 less than four minutes into the second half. NCCU pulled within 24-17 on Brown's 12-yard pass to Daunte' Fields with 10:15 to play. After holding DSU on downs and getting the ball on their own 44, Brown led the Eagles back into the redzone. His 12-yard completion to Kenneth Broadway on fourth-and-5 at the DSU 19 got the Eagles to the 7. But his first-and-goal pass to the right side of the end zone intended for Futrell was picked off by DSU defensive back Monterio James to end the threat. DSU got the ball at its own 20 with 4:19 left and was able to run 12 plays to run out the clock. Brown completed 22 of a season-high 44 passes for 255 yards and just the one interception. WR Charles Futrell had a career-high nine receptions for 131 yards but had two critical drops, including one in the back of the end zone in the first quarter. The defense surrendered a season-high 391 yards but played well enough to keep the Eagles in the game.
_ New Hampshire 41, Hampton 38
MEAC champion and eighth-ranked Hampton, the No. 2 team in the BCSP rankings, was within 4 minutes and 40 seconds of securing its first ever NCAA Championship Division playoff win but a fourth down TD pass by UNH QB Ricky Santos (27-40-315-1) spoiled the celebration. Santos' 16-yard TD connection with WR Ricky Kackert represented the only points of the second half for the Wildcats and enabled them to recapture a lead they had surrendered as the Pirates (10-2) roared back from a 34-21 halftime deficit. Prior to UNH's fourth-quarter scoring pass, Hampton had pitched a shutout in the second half while getting a six-yard TD run by QB Princeton Shepherd. a six-yard TD pass from Shepherd to McDaniel to take a 35-34 lead in the third quarter and a 40-yard field goal by Andrew Paterini to lead 38-34 with just under nine minutes left in the game. UNH's winning drive covered 72 yards in 12 plays and consumed 4 minutes and 6 seconds. Hampton got the ball back one final time and penetrated to its own 49 before a holding penalty and a sack pushed them back. Hampton scored 21 first-quarter points on Marquay McDaniels' four-yard run, a 65-yard TD scamper by Alonzo Coleman and Kevin Beverly's four-yard jaunt, but Santos surpassed those scores by throwing four first-half TDs, two to all-American WR David Ball in the second quarter. Hampton meanwhile was shutout in the second quarter. The 'Cats added a two-yard scoring run following a muffed punt just before the half to lead by 13, 34-21 at the break. Coleman, Hampton and the MEAC's career rushing leader, had 143 rushing yards in 21 carries in his final game for the Pirates. Shepherd was excellent, completing 24 of 32 passes for 186 yards and 2 TDs without an interception. WR Onrea Jones had 8 receptions for 77 yards while McDaniel had six for 59. On defense, Hampton had five sacks of Santos, two by Marcus Dixon and a Derius Swinton interception. LB Justin Durant led the Pirates with nine tackles, five of them solos.
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