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Rams' playoff run ends at Delta State

December 11, 2010

CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) — Micah Davis threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns as Delta State beat Shepherd 29-17 in a rain-soaked NCAA Division II semifinal on Saturday.

Delta State (11-3) has won five straight games and advanced to its second title game in school history. The Statesmen won the 2000 national championship.

Weather was a huge factor in the game, which included a 39-minute lightning delay, howling winds and a waterlogged field. Davis threw three interceptions along with his three touchdowns, including two long throws into the wind that stalled in mid-air.

But the Statesmen overcame those miscues, with Davis hitting L.J. Castile for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2:46 remaining to seal the victory. The senior quarterback completed 14 of 22 passes.

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Trevor Deed rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries.

Shepherd (12-2) was making its first appearance in the Division II semifinals. Kevin Clancy threw for 212 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The Rams opened the game with an impressive 15-play, 77-yard drive that ended on Nate Hoyte’s 4-yard touchdown run.

But Delta State stormed back with an 11-play, 60-yard drive of its own, capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Bill Franks to tie the score at 7.

The teams traded touchdowns again in the second quarter before Matt Snyder kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give Delta State a 17-14 halftime lead.

With 8:43 remaining in the third quarter and Delta State still leading 17-14, the game was delayed by lightning and heavy rain after a band of thunderstorms swept through the area.

When play resumed, the natural grass field was completely waterlogged and standing water was everywhere.

But that didn’t stop the Statesmen’s offense. Davis found Carlton Ollie for a 65-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to push Delta State’s lead to 23-14 after the extra point was blocked.

Shepherd responded with a 31-yard field goal by Eric Dobratz to pull within 23-17, but then Delta State’s defense tightened.

Garrett Williams had two crucial fourth-quarter interceptions, and the Statesmen held the Rams to just 281 total yards.

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