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Colgate's Branch sets three NCAA records

NEWARK, Del. -- Delaware pulled away from Wofford in the
second half behind the running of Germaine Bennett and earned a
berth in the Division I-AA championship game with a 24-9 victory
Saturday.

Bennett amassed a career-high 186 yards on 31 carries and scored
three touchdowns, all in the second half. He also set a school
single-season record for yards rushing (1,583).

The Blue Hens (14-1) will play for the title Friday night in
Chattanooga, Tenn., against Colgate, which beat Florida Atlantic
36-24 in Saturday's other semifinal game.

Delaware, which set a school record for wins in a season, is
seeking its first I-AA title. The second-seeded Blue Hens have
outscored the opposition 109-23 in their three playoff games, all
at home.

Wofford (12-2), participating in the I-AA playoffs for the first
time, had a 12-game winning streak snapped.

Despite receiving another outstanding performance from its
defense, Delaware was locked in a 3-all tie until Bennett scored on
2-yard run late in the third quarter.

The senior running back made it 17-3 with 6:41 left, capping an
89-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, then clinched the
victory by scoring from the 15 with 2:42 remaining.

Delaware fans stormed the field with three seconds left, then
were herded together on the sideline before Wofford scored on the
final play.

The fans then returned to begin working on toppling the goal
post, and the game was called before a conversion could be
attempted.

It was Wofford's first loss since a 49-0 defeat at Air Force on
Aug. 30. The Terriers won two straight playoff games at home before
flying to Delaware -- only the sixth time in the 114-year history of
the program that Wofford traveled by air to a game.

The flight back to South Carolina was likely a quiet one.

The Terriers made a game of it for three quarters with their
defense. The Blue Hens reached Wofford territory on each of their
first five possessions but could manage only a field goal.

Delaware finally ended the trend in the third quarter, when
Bennett accounted for all but 15 yards in a 52-yard drive that
ended with the first of his two touchdowns.

In Fort Lauderdale, Jamaal Branch set three NCAA season records and Chris Brown threw for
207 yards and three touchdowns, leading Colgate to a 36-24 victory
over Florida Atlantic on Saturday in a Division I-AA semifinal game.

The win extended the Raiders' (15-0) winning streak to 21 games
and sent them to their first national title game.

Branch, who rushed 45 times for 130 yards and one touchdown,
eclipsed and NCAA record for carries in a season (430), and I-AA touchdowns (29) and rushing yards in a season (2,271).

"I was glad to get on a dry surface," said Branch, a finalist
for I-AA's top honor, the Walter Payton Award. "The past two weeks
I've been playing on the ice."

In snowy playoff wins over Massachusetts and Western Illinois,
Colgate averaged just 47 yards on the ground. But the Raiders ran
for 205 yards as a team and held the ball for nearly 43 of the
game's 60 minutes Saturday, with Branch getting most of the credit.

"He's a great player," Colgate coach Dick Biddle said. "Our
kids love blocking for him because they like him so much. He's
phenomenal player and a phenomenal person. I don't know what else
to say."

The loss snapped Florida Atlantic's 10-game win streak and ended
a surprising playoff run by the third-year program, led by former
Miami and Louisville coach Howard Schnellenberger.