CALIFORNIA, Pa. (AP) -- Maurice Leggett's end zone interception
with less than a minute left preserved Valdosta State's 28-24
victory over previously unbeaten California University of
Pennsylvania in an NCAA Division II semifinal Saturday.
No. 8 Blazers (12-1) will play the winner of Saturday night's
Grand Valley State-Northwest Missouri game for the national
championship Dec. 15 at Florence, Ala.
The No. 6 Vulcans (13-1), who led 21-7 in the third quarter,
ended the regular season undefeated for the first time since going
8-0 in 1958.
Valdosta State scored first early in the second quarter when
Clay Callaway caught a 14-yard pass from quarterback Willie
California quarterback Joe Ruggiero threw for the next three
touchdowns: a 13-yard pass to Nate Forse, a 2-yard toss to Cory
Garver to make it 14-7 at the half, and a 3-yard throw to Garver
early in the third quarter.
Valdosta State made it 21-14 when Copeland rushed for a 3-yard
touchdown, and then tied the score a Copeland's 3-yard pass to Josh
Tyler Lorenz's 46-yard field goal made it 24-21 for the Vulcans.
They kept the lead until the Blazers capped off a five-play,
60-yard drive with Copeland's 13-yard touchdown pass to Zach Parker
with 3:13 remaining in the game.
Leggett picked off Ruggiero on a second-and-goal to seal the
Copeland completed 25 of 44 passes for 203 yards. Ruggiero was
23-of-36 for 230 yards. He was sacked three times.
The Vulcans, who totaled 624 yards on the ground in their
previous two games, were held to 86 yards rushing by the Blazers.