11:00 AM ET, December 8, 2007
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 Copeland.
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 Rayam.
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 win.
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.