Delta State overcame an early 14-7 deficit to knock the University of North Alabama out of the 2011 NCAA Division II playoffs with a convincing 42-14 victory. The Statesmen, 10-2, had defeated the Lions 30-24 in overtime in the regular season but didn't need any late game heroics in this one.
After falling behind 7-0, UNA seized a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter but was then outscored 35-0 over the final three periods. It was the widest margin of victory for the Statesmen in the 55 all-time meetings between the schools.
DSU advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals to meet North Greenville, while UNA ends its season at 9-3. UNA"s defense gave up 466 total yards to the Statesmen, allowing 252 on the ground and 214 through the air. The Lions gained 233 yards in the first half and finished with just 298.
Delta State wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as the Statesmen found the end zone less than a minute into the game. On the third play from scrimmage, Micah Davis hit Chance Dennis with a short out-pass that he turned into a 60-yard touchdown play. Matt Dean added the extra-point and Delta State led 7-0 at the 14:02 mark of the first quarter.
North Alabama answered with a 14-play, 66-yard drive to tie the game. Lee Chapple had completions of 17 yards to Tristan Purifoy and 15 yards to Chris Coffey to move the ball deep into DSU territory. Antwan Ivey scored on a two-yard run with 8:26 left in the opening period and Josh Montgomery's kick tied the game at 7-7. It was Ivey's sixth rushing touchdown of the season.
Later in the first quarter, UNA was facing a third-and-10 call at its own 16-yard line when Chapple found Jason Smith behind the DSU defenders and tossed an 84-yard touchdown pass. Montgomery's kick gave UNA a 14-7 lead with just 39 seconds left in the half. It was the longest pass in UNA's 43-game post-season history and tied for the sixth longest pass in school history overall.
The UNA defense continued to play well until the Statesmen were able to put together two scoring drives late in the half. DSU used an 11-play, 79-yard drive to tie the game as Davis scored on a one-yard run with 6:15 to play in the half. Dean's kick made it 14-14.
Delta State followed with a seven-play, 52-yard drive to take the lead with 2:30 left in the half. Davis tossed a three-yard pass to Jacob Sesma for the score and Dean's PAT made it 21-14.
Delta State gained 254 total yards in the first half to 233 for the Lions.
North Alabama went three-and-out on its first possession of the half and Delta State followed by extending its lead to 28-14. UNA's defense couldn't slow the Statesmen as they covered 90 yards in 11 plays . Davis passed 20 yards to Avery Horn for the score and Dean's kick gave DSU a 28-14 lead at 8:31 of the third quarter.
Following a fumble by Chapple as he was attempting to throw, Delta State took over at the UNA 20 and scored six plays later. Richard Freelon ran in from 10 yards out and Dean's kick gave the Statesmen a 35-14 advantage with 5:05 left in the third.
DSU made it 42-14 on its next possession. Following a short UNA punt, the Statesmen drove 49 yards in six plays for another touchdown as Brant Botill scored on a 19-yard run. Dean's kick made it 42-14 at 13:47 of the fourth quarter.
Chapple was 20-of-38 for 238 yards for the Lions and Tristan Purifoy caught nine passes for 103 yards. Davis, for DSU, was 17-of-24 for 214 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for a touchdown.