The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on December 7, 1997 · Page 56
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 56

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Sunday, December 7, 1997
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CoOSecge Football I D6 SUNDAY NEWS JOURNAL DEC. 7, 1997 reshman steps up to lead Hens JL Ml. F MS REM OFFENSIVE STAR: HB Craig Cummings, who carried 19 times for 75 yards, including a 10-yard TD run and five runs for first downs. DEFENSIVE STAR: LB Ralph D'Angelo, who made a season-high 1 9 tackles, one of themto stop Georgia South-em's Greg Hill on fourth-and-1 at UD 2-yard line. SPECIAL CITATION: QB Matt Nagy, given a late starting assignment, showed significant poise in his second varsity start. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 125 yards and guided a 70-yard fourth-quarter TD to ice the game. TURNING POINT: CB Jamie Belle's interception of a Greg Hill pass after Georgia Southern had moved to the Delaware 26. Four minutes later, Sean Leach's 28-yard field goal gave Delaware a 9-0 third-quarter lead. KEY STATISTIC: Georgia Southern converted only two of 12 third-down conversions. QUOTE: "Give Delaware the credit, it had nothing to do with the weather. They would have won today if it had been 80 degrees, because they made the plays and we didn't." Georgia Southern coach Paul Johnson. Delaware Game Details Ga.Southern 0 0 0 7 7 Delaware 0 6 3 716 Second Quarter Del FG Leach 36, 12:46. Del FG Leach 21, 5:30. Third Quarter Del FG Leach 28, :14. Fourth Quarter GS Russell 12 run (Meng kick), 11:58. Del Cummings 10 run (Leach kick), 4:40. A 11,203. How they scored SECOND QUARTER Nagy's 8-yard pass to Batts on third-and-8 from UD 43. Leach PAT. FINAL: DELAWARE 16, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 7. TEAM STATISTICS GS Del First downs 17 19 Rushes-yards 50-246 48-184 Passing 50 125 Comp-Att-Int 5-8-1 9-15-0 Return Yards 7 20 Punts-Avg. 3-36.0 2-41.0 Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-2 Penalties-Yards 0-0 4-31 DELAWARE: Sean Leach, 36-yard field goal with 12:46 left in the half. DRIVE: 13 plays, 53 yards, 6:17 Elapsed. KEY PLAY: QB Matt Nagy's 10-yard pass to WR Courtney Batts on third-and-4fromGSU37. Delaware reached GSU 17, first-and-10, but lost a yard in three plays and Leach came in. DELAWARE 3, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 0. DELAWARE: Leach, 21 -yard field goal with 5:06 left in the half. DRIVE: 12 plays, 51 yards, 5:06 elapsed. KEY PLAY: HB Craig Cummings' 5-yard run on third-and-3. Delaware had first-and-goal at GSU 5, but Batts lost 8 yards on end-around and Hens were forced to take field goal. DELAWARE 6, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 0. THIRD QUARTER Time of Possession 26:18 33:42 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING Ga.Southern, Russell 21-97, Joyner 6-43, Hill 16-35, Freeman 2-29, Steverson 3-28, Cunningham 1-7, Sullivan 1-7. Delaware, Cummings 19-75, Thompson 12-57, McGraw 7-41, Ricco 1-25, Nagy 8-(minus 6), Batts 1 -(minus 8). PASSING Ga.Southern, Hill 5-8-1-50. Delaware, Nagy 9-15-0-125. RECEIVING Ga.Southern, Russell 3-15, Joyner 1-24, Johnson 1-11. Delaware, Batts 5-64, VanKerkhoven 1-37, Russell 1-16, Cummings 1-8, Thompson 1-0. First Round DELAWARE: Leach, 28-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the period. DRIVE: 8 plays, 78 yards, 4:04 elapsed. KEY PLAY: Nagy's 37-yard pass to TE Jason Vankerkhoven midway through drive. Delaware had first-and-10 at 19, but faced with fourth-and-2 at 13 chose to take field goal. DELAWARE 9, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 0. FOURTH QUARTER GEORGIA SOUTHERN: FB Rod Russell, 12-yard run off pitch with 11:38 left in the game. DRIVE: 9 plays, 79 yards, 3:16 elapsed. KEY PLAY: SB Corey Joyner broke loose for 24-yard run. Eric Meng PAT. DELAWARE 9, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 7. DELAWARE: HB Craig Cummings, 10-yard run with 4:40 left in the game. DRIVE: 12 plays, 70 yards, 7:18 elapsed. KEY PLAY: Delaware 24, Hofstra 14 Villanova 49, Colgate 28 Youngstown State 28, Hampton 13 Georgia Southern 52, Florida A&M 37 Western Kentucky 42, Eastern Kentucky 14 Western Illinois 31 , Jackson State 24 Eastern Washington 40, Northwest-em State, La. 10 McNeese State 19, Montana 14 Saturday's scores Quarterfinals Delaware 16, Georgia Southern 7 Youngstown State 37, Villanova 34 McNeese State 14, Western Illinois 12 Eastern Washington 38, Western Kentucky 21 Saturday, Dec. 13 Semifinals McNeese State (12-1) at Delaware (12-1) Youngstown State (11-2) at Eastern Washington (12-1) Saturday, Dec. 20 Championship At Tennessee Centennial Stadium Chattanooga, Tenn. Semifinal winners, 2 p.m. First dawns Third dawns D Played n Converted 17 8 Hens G.S. Hens G.S. 61 16 Turnovers Hens (2) G.S. (2) Tims of possession 1 G.S. 26:18 Y2T(S gS&iSd OHens Georgia Southern 309 296 Passing 50 Rushing 246 I SI 111 HI 211 251 III 1SI 411 451 Sll S5I 4 The News Journal Cummings scores lone TD for Delaware By JOHN N. MITCHELL Staff reporter NEWARK With Delaware getting closer to its first NCAA Division I-AA championship game since 1982, the pressure to produce figures to be felt most by the least experienced players. Unless you are talking about halfback Craig Cummings. Cummings, a whirling, churning, emerging redshirt freshman, scored the Blue Hens' only touchdown in Saturday's 16-7 quarterfinal victory over Georgia Southern at Delaware Stadium. His 10-yard run, which saw him pinball his way off Eagles defenders, came with 4 minutes, 40 seconds left in the game and accounted for the final margin. Confusion reigned on the play, and the Blue Hens got off the snap just in time to avoid a delay-of-game penalty. "We were trying to milk the clock, and I think we had the wrong formation," Cummings said. "When we got to the line of scrimmage, there were just five seconds left on the play clock. We were lucky to get the play off." Cummings, 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, loomed large against the Eagles' stingy defense. He gained a season-high 75 yards on 19 carries, giving him 643 yards this season. His effort enabled him to break broke Daryl Brown's six-year-old freshman rushing record of 592 yards. "I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't aware of it, because I was," Cummings said. "But I was most concerned about driving the team down and scoring a touchdown late in the game. I didn't care if I got it. I just wanted to win and keep on playing." Cummings and his offensive mates owe the Delaware defense a measure of thanks for extending the season. The Blue Hens twice turned away the Eagles from inside the Hens: Defense comes up big FROM PAGE D1 who started in place of the injured Brian Ginn. "That takes a lot of pressure off the offense. "We drove it up and down the field a lot today and ended up taking the field goals, which kind of disappointed me. But when you have the opportunity to get points in a playoff game, you take them." Nagy completed 9 of 15 passes for 125 yards, didn't throw an interception and demonstrated none of the nervousness one might expect from a redshirt freshman making his second varsity start and first in a playoff game. Georgia Southern had five first-half possessions Saturday, and went three-plays-and-out on the first two. The Eagles had scored on their first possession in nine games this season. The Blue Hens also got the ball back on downs at the Georgia Southern 40 and later produced a turnover, a fumble forced by strong safety Dorrell Green and recovered by free safety Mike Furline. Delaware, often stymied by triple-option offenses in the past, allowed the Eagles only 49 yards in the first half as it took a 6-0 lead. Georgia Southern hadn't been shut out in the first half for 24 games, going back to the 1995 season. "As pleased as I was with the running of Cummings, fullback Andre Thompson and halfback Greg McGraw, I was pleased with the way the offensive line seemed to take command and create holes," Delaware coach Tubby Raymond said. The Blue Hens moved inside the Georgia Southern 20 twice in the first half, but had to settle for Leach field goals of 36 and 21 yards. Georgia Southern appeared to grab momentum on its first offensive series in the second half, moving from its 19 to the Blue Hens 2 in 12 plays. But the drive was stopped at the Delaware 1 when Furline, a redshirt freshman, stopped quarterback Greg Hill for no gain on fourth down. Delaware was forced to punt on its first se- ; aw i X V "' - & '? Special to The News Journal ROBERT CRAIG Halfback Craig Cummings scores the Hens' only touchdown on this 10-yard run in the fourth quarter. Delaware 2-yard line. The Blue Hens offense did its part against a Georgia Southern defense known for its ability to stuff the run. In 12 previous games, the Eagles allowed opponents an average of 105 yards on the ground. Led by Cummings, Delaware rushed for 184 yards. And the Hens did it with an ease that surprised Georgia Southern coach Paul Johnson. "They rushed the ball on us as well as anybody did this year," Johnson said. "You don't dominate time of possession the way they did without moving the ball. They did that against us. And that little back back there Cummings, he really hurt us." Cummings' performance wasn't a surprise to mm ( Special to The News Journal ROBERT CRAIG Delaware cornerback Jamie Belle breaks up a pass intended for Georgia Southern's Titus Johnson during Saturday's game. ries of the second half, but Hens cornerback Jamie Belle followed with an interception of Hill's pass from the Delaware 26. Leach kicked a 28-yard field goal after an eight-play drive for a 9-0 lead. "I know that I have been criticized by not using him in certain situations. People said I was destroying his confidence," Raymond said of Leach, a senior. "But when we needed him, there he was. What he did for us today was huge." Georgia Southern answered with a nine-play, 79-yard drive, with fullback Roderick Russell scoring on a 12-yard run to make it 9-7 with 11:58 left in the game. Nagy responded by directing a 12-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Cummings' TD with 4:40 to play. The Eagles then drove to the Delaware 2, where the UD defense staged another goal-line stand. "I thought that we had a good game plan going in and was pleased with our first-half play," senior linebacker Ralph D'Angelo said, "but there's no reason we shouldn't have done the same thing in the second half." Still, the Blue Hens defense had one of the best performances in the program's history. Delaware coach Tubby Raymond. "We knew he was going to be this kind of player for us," Raymond said. "He beat out some pretty good backs to get into the lineup, and he hasn't disappointed us." Cummings said his familiarity with the offense has grown as the season has progressed. He'll get another opportunity to demonstrate that next Saturday when the Blue Hens play host to McNeese State in the semifinals. "I'm getting more and more comfortable in the offense," Cummings said. "I feel like we're jelling at the right time, that the offensive line is getting better each week. I feel like there is less pressure on me to perform than there was at the start of the season." Nagy does the job as late replacement By TOM TOMASHEK Staff reporter NEWARK Matt Nagy received his first indication Monday that he might start Delaware's NCAA Division I-AA playoff game Saturday against Georgia Southern. Blue Hens coach Tubby Raymond told the redshirt freshman that he should approach the week of practice as if he would be the No. 1 quarterback because of Brian Ginn's injured shoulder. But nothing was decided until just before Saturday's game, when Raymond was convinced that Ginn's throwing ability was impeded. "I guess I found out about an hour before the game," Nagy said after the 16-7 quarterfinal victory. "Before the game, I was a little nervous and we had some problems early that we don't usually have in practice. "Things finally seemed to get squared away, then after Georgia Southern scored that touchdown we knew we really had to get things together, and we moved the ball." Nagy didn't seem to have Ginn's passing touch. He definitely didn't run the option with the flair Ginn has shown throughout the season. But Nagy's passes had some impressive zip, and he ran well enough to help sustain four scoring drives. Nagy completed 9 of 15 passes for 125 yards and did not throw an interception. His 35-yard completion to wide receiver Courtney Batts, which carried to the Georgia Southern 5-yard line, was negated by a procedure penalty. But Nagy didn't have to handle the quarterback chores alone. "Brian was great," Nagy said. "He was there all the time on the sidelines with me, letting me know some of the little things that would help me, give me a little edge." So, whom will the Hens call on for next Saturday's semifinal game against McNeese State? Raymond 6aid that Ginn will probably return as the starter if his shoulder improves and he's ready for game competition. Nagy has no complaints with that. "Brian is the quarterback," he said. "Heck, he's 10 and 1 this season. And if he's back, I'll be there, ready to step in if anything happens." Big plays lift McNeese over Western Illinois FmCAA Division I-AA Fcatbsil Clnnipisnsiilp Home teams in bold. First round Quarterfinals Saturday The Associated Press Jerod Jones' 69-yard interception return for a touchdown and Donnie Ashley's punt return for another score was all McNeese State needed to defeat Western Illinois 14-12 Saturday in Macomb, 111., in the NCAA Division I-AA playoff quarterfinals. Jones' TD came when he intercepted Jeff Hecklinski'8 pass with 3:38 left in the first quarter. The Cowboys (12-2) never lost the lead, scoring again on Ashley's 39-yard punt return with 3:34 left in the third quarter. McNeese State will play Delaware next Saturday at Delaware Stadium in the semifinals. Western Illinois (11-2), the No. 2 playoff seed, got two field goals from Keith Jones and a 3-yard touchdown run from Aaron Stecker. The two-point conversion attempt failed after Stecker's touchdown. YOUNGSTOWN STATE 37, VILLANOVA 34: Mark Griffith kicked a 28-yard field goal to break a fourth-quarter tie as o. 9 seed Youngstown State (11-fcJ stunned No. 1 seed Villanova (12-1), the top- I-AA Roundup ranked team in I-AA, at Villanova. Trailing 28-14, the Penguins tied the score with two touchdowns in an 18-second span late in third quarter. Demetrius Harris scored on a 5-yard run, and on the Wildcats' next possession, Jauron Dailey ran back a fumble 9 yards. After Griffith's field goal, Youngstown State's Jake An-dreadis scored on a 20-yard run with 7:45 left for a 37-28 lead. Villanova took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter as quarterback Chris Boden threw two of his four touchdown passes. Youngstown State, a three-time national champion, last won the title in 1994. EASTERN WASHINGTON 38, WESTERN KENTUCKY 21: Mike MacKenzie rushed for 163 yards and Rex Prescott for 124, with each scoring two TDs, as No. 3 seed Eastern Washington (12-1) beat No. 5 seed Western Kentucky (10-2) at Spokane, Wash. Eastern Washington gaified 405 yards, 100 yards below its Reason averaga 1 Villanova 49 16 Colgate 28 Villanova 34 8 Hampton 13 9 Youngstown State 28 Youngstown State 37 Youngstown State (11-2) 3 Eastern Washington 40 14 Northwestern State 10 Eastern Washington 38 5 Western Kentucky 42 12 Eastern Kentucky 14 Western Kentucky 21 Semifinals Dec. 13 E.Washington (12-1) 2 Western Illinois 31 15 Jackson State 24 Western Illinois 12 6 McNeese State 19 11 Montana 14 McNeese State 14 Championship Dec. 20 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chattanooga, Tenn. McNeese State (12-1) 4 Delaware 24 13 Hofstra 14 Delaware 16 7 Georgia Southern 52 10 Florida A&M 37 Gmrgia Southern 7 Semifinals Dec.13 Delaware (12-1) Quarterfinal and semifinal games will be played at on-campus sites

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