Delta State stops Catawba

By Staff
Nov. 26, 2000
RED-HOT STATESMEN Delta State quarterback Josh Bright tries to break away from a West Alabama defender in this file picture. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
From Staff Reports
SALISBURY, N.C. Rico McDonald rushed for 186 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Bright had 130 yards and two touchdowns as Delta State beat Catawba 20-14 Saturday in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Delta State (12-1) won despite minus-3 yards passing. The Statesmen will advance to the national semifinals against 12-1 North Dakota State, a 43-21 winner over Nebraska-Omaha. If the Statesmen win that contest, they would play for the Division II National Championship game in Florence, Ala.
The Statesmen had 336 total yards while holding Catawba (11-1) to 172. Quarterback Josh Bright, a South Panola product, also rushed for 130 yards on 19 carries.
McDonald scored on a 32-yard run at 8:37 in the first quarter, capping a six-play 90-yard drive. It was the first touchdown Catawba had allowed in the first quarter this season.
Catawba bounced right back to draw within a point at 7-6 as Joe Hilliard scored from a yard out. But the PAT was missed to give Delta State life.
Bright scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter to cap off a 12-play, 62-yard drive.
Bright then scored again and from 2 yards out with 8:42 left in the third to put Delta State up 20-6.
LaQuane Talley blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone to pull Catawba within 20-14 with 3:52 left in the game.
Catawba held Delta State on a pair of three and outs, but the Catawba offense could not capitalize.
The Indians drove to the Statesmen 40-yard line inside the final seven minutes, but were forced to punt. Delta State picked up four first downs, including the last on a fourth down with under a minute to play to run out the clock.
Catawba's Mitch Ellis, who threw for 380 yards against West Georgia last week, hit just 4 of 13 passes for 47 yards in wet conditions.
In the contest, Delta State had 18 first downs to 10 for Catawba. The Statesmen also won the time of possession by keeping the ball 35:53 to 24:07 for Catawba.
Freshman Gary Bell led Delta State with 17 tackles, including 10 unassisted. Jamall Johnson chipped in 10 tackles for Delta State.