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Culture, Lifestyle & Sports

UD plays for spot in FCS championship game

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Donna McBride
/
University of Delaware

It’s another playoff road trip for the Blue Hens.  

This time, it’s to South Dakota State University to play the top-seed Jackrabbits in the FCS semifinals.

After winning their first road playoff game since 2007 last week, the Hens look to win consecutive postseason road games for the first time since that same season.

UD has been very effective away from Newark this season with wins over archrival Villanova, in-state rival Delaware State, and last week’s quarterfinal win at Jacksonville State.

But this might be the Hens toughest trip since South Dakota State is the top seed in the FCS playoffs.

But UD head coach Danny Rocco concedes playing on the road this season is a bit less daunting.

"I think that the absence of sellout crowds does minimize the reality of the back-to-back experience a little bit," said Rocco. "There's a little more consistency in terms of what you're getting on game day, but you know we've played really well on the road this year."

UD is led by its strong defense, which has forced a turnover in every game this season and has multiple takeaways in all but one game.

Rocco says his team’s knack for making big plays in all facets of the game has also helped it stay undefeated.

"With that comes a certain element of confidence or a reality that we don't have to panic. There's opportunity around the corner, and I have said it a couple different ways. We can win games a lot of different ways, and that's evidenced here during this season."

All-time UD is 1-0 against South Dakota State, scoring a 26-3 victory in Newark in 2010. 

Kickoff between the 7-0 Hens and 7-1 Jackrabbits is set for noon, and the game will be televised on ESPN. The Hens can earn their first trip to the FCS title game since 2010 with a victory.

The winner faces the James Madison-Sam Houston State semifinal winner next week for the FCS national title. 

 

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