Delaware, Southern Illinois advance in FCS playoffs

Updated: December 1, 2007, 10:34 PM ET
Associated Press

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Joe Flacco passed for 312 yards and two touchdowns and Erik Johnson returned a fumble 55 yards for a score, sending Delaware past top-seeded Northern Iowa.

Omar Cuff added 102 yards rushing and a TD for the Blue Hens (10-3), who won the national championship in 2003 and will face Southern Illinois for the right to play for another title.

Northern Iowa (12-1), which had been the last unbeaten team, got 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Corey Lewis and sacked Flacco five times. But the Panthers struggled after jumping to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and their defense couldn't make enough stops.

Delaware led 32-27 with under 2 minutes left and the ball at the Northern Iowa goal line when Flacco appeared to mishandle a snap.

The Panthers pounced on the ball and an official initially signaled it was their ball, but the play was negated by an offsides penalty.

The Blue Hens kept possession and Flacco ran it in for the clinching score.

Eric Sanders completed 26 of 38 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. Lewis finished with 1,513 yards rushing to break the school single-season record of 1,383 set by Adam Benge in 2001.

Flacco finished 25-of-45 with no interceptions and 7-yard touchdown passes to Mark Duncan and Robbie Agnone. Duncan ended up with eight catches for 112 yards.

Southern Illinois 34, Massachusetts 27

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Nick Hill threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns, pacing Southern Illinois past Massachusetts and into the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.

All of Hill's TD tosses came in the first half as Southern Illinois (12-1) rolled to a 27-13 halftime lead, then held on against the Minutemen (10-3) and quarterback Liam Coen, who threw for a school-record 421 yards and three TDs.

The Salukis, into the semifinals for the first time since winning the national championship in 1983, will play Delaware on Friday.

The last of Coen's touchdown passes was a 4-yarder to Brad Listorti that pulled the Minutemen - champions of the Colonial Athletic Association and last season's national runner-up -- to within 34-27 with four minutes left.

The Salukis got three more first downs and managed to run out the clock.

Hill became the first player in school history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season. John Randle added 86 yards on the ground, and Larry Warner had a 64-yard touchdown run that put the Salukis up 34-13.

Richmond 21, Wofford 10

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Tim Hightower rushed for two second-half touchdowns to lead Richmond over Wofford and to its first berth in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.

The Spiders (11-2) set a school mark for wins this season, and will get two-time defending champion Appalachian State in the next round.

Hightower had an 18-yard run to the Wofford 1, then followed with his first touchdown to put Richmond ahead 14-10 with 11:55 to play. The Spiders got the ball back 3 minutes later when safety Michael Ireland picked up a botched punt attempt --- the only one tried by either team -- and ran it back to the Terriers' 1. Hightower scored one play later.

Wofford (9-4) had beaten Appalachian State in September, three games after that stunning victory at Michigan. The Terriers had hoped to face their Southern Conference rivals again with a spot in the national championship on the line.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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