Friday, December 14, 2007

Peck 'Em Hens - FCS Championship Game Blog - Delaware vs Appalachian State

Appalachian State football fans celebrate their team's third straight FCS championship, this time with a convincing 49-21 win over the University of Delaware. (photo by Billy Weeks/Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Hens Pecked! Appalachian State Mountaineers take third straight FCS crown with 49-21 win over Delaware

11:13 p.m. I bailed out on Delaware to watch a bizarre episode of "House" (he hallucinated almost the entire show) with my daughter. No matter, the Hens went down by the same 28-point deficit I left them with, albeit a slightly different score - 49-21. Great job by the quicker and better prepared Mountaineers. Congrats to ASU's players, coaches and fans. My Blue Hens were no match.

10:00 p.m. Flacco scrambles for seven and a first down on 4th and 6! Cuff gets 5. Game clock at 12 minutes. Flacco sacked back to 14--couldn't find an open receiver. 3rd down. Two more plays. Incomplete to tight end. Good coverage. Another fourth. Need 11 this time. Good rush by Mountaineers. Flacco fires, but pass is blocked at the line. ASU takes over on downs. Nice job by Mountaineers defending their big lead in the red zone. Richardson scampers for 31 on their first offensive play. Big night for him. Richardson takes handoff and slips down. Moore slips through line to take a pass and get a first down. 19-yard gain. Richardson runs for 9. Clock approaching nine minutes. Short run by Moore. ASU calls time to avoid delay of game penalty. Nice catch by #82 for first down inside Hen 20. Richardson barrels ahead for 8. Edwards keeps for the first at the 7. 1st and goal. Richardson romps in for the score. 41-14, ASU. Maybe I'll check back in tomorrow for the final score. 6:02 to go. ASU 42 Delaware 14. Mountaineers just too good. Congratulations, Appalachian State!

9:48 p.m. Mountaineers have to punt. Two fouls on Hens on return. They start on the 6. Catch and drop called a catch. May be reviewed. Now incomplete. Next pass complete to Duncan for first down. Clock under 14 minutes. Completion to tight end. Another first down. Announcers talk about Flacco resemblance to Ben Rothlisberger. Long pass gets past Mountaineer defenders to #1. 42-yard gain to ASU 25. Next pass incomplete. Next pass behind tight end. 3rd down. Short completion to Love brings up 4th down. Time out Hens.

9:40 p.m. Third quarter ends. Hens need huge finish just to get to OT.

9:25 p.m. Hens' errors too much to overcome. Moving the ball now as the third quarter ticks down. First and goal at the four. Missed some plays there as I read my daughter's new short story. Cuff gets near the 1. 1:20 left in third quarter. Cuff stuffs it in the end zone. Touchdown! Run over right guard. PAT good. 35-14, ASU.

9:13 p.m. Keeper by Edwards gets seven. Hard tackle. Hens offside. First down for Mountaineers. Option pitch to Richardson gets a couple. Deep throw broken up by #24. Pass slightly underthrown. Hens blitz. ASU picks it up. Completes pass for 18. 30 catches on season for sprinter Jackson. 23 yards per reception with 8 TDs. Six yards on next play. Ball inside Hen 30. Incomplete pass. 3rd and 4. Richardson carries for a first. Short gain by Richardson. #20 carries for 3. 3rd and 4. Eight minutes left in 3rd quarter. QB draw. Johnson brings down Edwards in open field--a yard short of first. ASU going for it on 4th down. Richardson gets it. Hens had good push but Richardson ran behind the pile. Another short run by Richardson. Hens corral Edwards near left sideline. 3rd and 5. 14th play of drive. Edwards throws to uncovered Richardson for easy TD. Flag for excessive celebration. 35-7, Mountaineers. 6:48 left in third.

9:03 p.m. Short kickoff returned to 39 by ASU upback. Pass to wide-open Kevin Richardson is a yard overthrown. Only six passes by Edwards in first half, but four completions for 132 yards. Fake to Richardson; Johnson trips up Edwards short of the first. Whew! 294 total yards for ASU in first half. Way too many. Punt and fair catch at 16 yard line. Short run by Cuff. First down pass to Love. Sideline pass to Duncan broken up. Throw away toward Love almost picked off. Flacco keeps for 9. Fourth and one. Punt to 33 yard line. Punting not at 1-A level.

8:35 p.m. Hen KO return to 27. 0:39 left with three TOs. Flacco can throw deep. Sacked back to 19. TO by someone. 2nd and 17. Another pass over the middle to tight end. Gain of 47. Toss to Duncan. First down and out of bounds. Still need about 10-15 yards. Completion to Love at 29. Time out with 0:08. Hens running another play. Big scramble by Flacco. Fires to Love who drops ball at the 2. Fitting end to half. 28-7, ASU over Delaware.

8:31 p.m. Just 1:10 left in first half. Kickoff return to 28. Pass completion to 40. Edwards elude the rush. Long pass downfield. #2 (Jackson) catches and runs away from defender. No inside help. 60-yard TD pass. 28-7, ASU. Delaware TD negated in 26 seconds. 0:44 left for Hen response.

8:19 p.m. More bad news. TD pass to Love called back for offensive pass interference. Another long pass. Flag for interference on ASU. Catch may have been out of bounds. Review upcoming. Replay looks like a touchdown. Touchdown! Great catch by #21 (Duncan) and proper call, eventually. PAT good. Deficit down to 7-21.

8:12 p.m. Hens need to strike here. First play gains 1. Next one loses 5. Someone needs to get open. Direct snap to halfback on that one. Pass misses. Good coverage. 4th and 14. Hens must punt back. Hens offensive lineman has broken angle. Cuff getting treatment on sideline. Good coverage on punt puts Mountaineers back to the 10.

Richardson stopped for no gain. Erik Johnson, Hens' middle LB, playing pretty well. Johnson rips ball away from Edwards, but he was down. 3rd and 6. Mountaineers playing more conservatively with the lead. Another keeper by Edwards is stopped. ASU will punt. Penalty on Mountaineers return coverage for interference. Good field position for Hens.

8:05 p.m. Still waiting for Hens to do something good so I can get a beer. Mountaineers averaging 9.6 yards per play so far. Edwards runs for a first, but play may come back. Illegal procedure. 2nd and 14. Edwards penned in for short gain. Dangerous play next, 3rd and 11. Pass blocked at line. First punt coming up, I hope. Hens will take over on App. St side of 50. Beer time.

7:59 p.m. - Hens moving the ball OK, but doing nothing on defense. Something has to change. More Yikes, Mountaineers are back-to-back defending champions of this division. Next victim! Kickoff returns come out to the 29. Best yet. Flacco throws to Love in double coverage. Pass broken up. Short pass to Cuff for a first. Cuff run down on sweep. Gain of 2. Another short gain. 6 or 7 left for a first. Pass to Love broken up. Punt coming. Fielded on 20. Penalty tacked on for interference with fair catch. What's next for Hens? I didn't see fair catch signal. Now saying catch and good tackle. No flag.

7:46 p.m. - App St. is 12-2 on year. They were co-champs of Southern Conference along with Wofford. Richardson gets another first. Then four more yards. App St. QB Amanti Edwards had 495 yards of total offense in last game. Pass out of bounds after chase of QB. Edwards slips between tacklers and scampers to 25. 36-yard run. Yuk! #11 reached for Hens and got a handful of nothing. Another first down for Edwards at the 10. Ran over a tackler that time. He weighs 175 lb. Ran for 313 yards in last game. NCAA record for QB in a game. App St record for any back. Hens chase down wide play for loss of 6. 3rd and 15. Find Edwards! Pass thru back of end zone, but flag thrown. Pass seemed uncatchable. Pass interference. 15 yards and first down at the one. Richardson stopped at the 2. Ball fumbled into end zone. Big pileup. Recovered by App St. #84. Touchdown, 20-0! PAT good. This is getting ridiculous. 21-0 Mountaineers with 10 minutes left in second quarter.

7:36 - App St 99-yard drive took 1:26. Yikes! Good kickoff to 1. Return man stopped at 17. Screen pass to Cuff. Sidesteps a tackle for 18 yards. Nice running. Wingback around #1 (Rashad) gets 11 for another first. Screen pass to Rashad gets ball across midfield. Hard tackle. Cuff squirms ahead for three. 3rd and 1. Easy first on next play as Cuff goes for seven. Another sweet run by Cuff to the 21. Short pass for 5. Next pass loses 5. Good tackle by #9. FG attempt. Wide left. UGH! Only 3rd miss of year. Fire up, defense! Hens have moved ball twice with nothing to show for it.

Mountaineers take over on downs at 28. One play then end of 1st quarter. App St 14 Delaware 0.

7:30 - State starts from the 1. Edwards brings it out to the 5. Run up middle by Richardson to the 28. He scored the App TD earlier. Face mask penalty adds 15. Game getting away from Hens. Another first down run by Richardson across midfield. #20 now racing untouched into end zone. 46-yard run for TD. 99-yard drive seemed almost effortless. This could be a long game. Hens are chasing Mountaineers on almost every play. 14-0, App St.

7:25 p.m. - Quick break for dinner, but as we come back the Hens complete a beautiful drive with a 4-yard run by RB Omar Cuff, his 35th rushing touchdown of the season. WR Aaron Love made a great catch and another good catch-and-run on the drive. Replay shows that Cuff's elbow may have contacted the field before he got to the end zone. Could be, is, 3rd and inches. Cuff stopped on 3rd down. Fourth down pass is long. Rats! Points taken off the board don't come back.

December 14 7:00 p.m. - Game time is any minute and supper's coming soon after that. I'll see what I can come up with quickly about tonites FCS Championship Game between Delaware and Appalachian State.

The Hens last won the then-Division I-AA in 2003 with a 40-0 trouncing of Colgate. The Mountaineers are playing this one close to home in Chattanooga, TN.

The Hens are coached by alum K.C. Keeler, who played on the 1979 I-AA champs.

Opening kickoff comes to the Hens. Run back to the 21. First pass from QB Joe Flacco goes sailing OB. Flacco passed for a school-record 3,922 yards. Star RB Omar Cuff gets seven on second and 10. Third down pass broken up. Hens have to punt. Short punt dies at App St 43.

Sack on first snap for Mountaineers! Loss of 10. QB draw. Gain of seven. Pass and run for long yardage. First down inside the Hens' 25. App St players are quick. Illegal procedure sets them back 5 to 25. No gain on a run. 2nd and 15 or 16. Edwards gets loose back to original line. 3rd and 10. Hens are in white. Mountaineers in black with gold numerals. Short pass. Missed tackle both at 10 and goal line. Touchdown! Being reviewed, but sure looked like a score. Receiver is #28. Good hit at goal line but ball carrier kept moving forward. PAT good, 7-0.

This picture of Delaware Blue Hen receiver Aaron Love is from an early season win over Rhode Island. The Hens take an 11-3 record into Friday night's championship game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. (photo from UDaily)

My alma mater, the University of Delaware, won its way into the former Division 1-AA (now called the something-something (Football Championship, it turns out) subdivision) final football game in Chattanooga, TN by beating the Southern Illinois Salukis 20-17 on the Salukis' home field. What was that, you say? A playoff to decide a championship? What a novel idea!

The Fighting Blue Hens (shortened usually to just Hens) survived an unexpected defensive struggle on cold and foggy afternoon in Carbondale, IL. Over 3-1/2 quarters, they wormed out a 17-10 lead, only to see it disappear in about 15 seconds and six missed tackles on a kickoff return touchdown that tied the game at 17 for SIU. To their credit, the Hens responded with a methodical drive led by QB Joe Flacco that set up a 24-yard field goal for the 20-17 lead. Between the FG and the end, the defense held high-scoring SIU on downs and intercepted a pass that allowed the Hens to run out the clock.

Life doesn't get any easier for 13th ranked Delaware, even after beating #1 Northern Iowa and #4 SIU on the road on consecutive weekends (today's game was pushed back a day because of problems with Delaware's travel to Carbondale). Their opponent in the championship game on Friday, December 14 is none other than the Michigan Wolverine-killing Appalachian State Mountaineers.

Live blogging may be in order for this momentous game. Delaware last won the division in 1979 (actually 2003, how soon they forget). When I was in school, they played Central Michigan in this game and lost 54-14. I hope that can be avoided. Peck 'em Hens!


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