Delta State claims victory

By Staff
OFF AND RUNNING Delta State wideout Jason Franklin (1), a former standout at Meridian High School and East Mississippi Community College, hauls in a pass and races for yardage in Saturday's win over North Dakota State University. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000
CLEVELAND In biting cold and gusty wind, a euphoric crowd of 6,900 swarmed the field in jubilation as the Delta State Statesmen put the finishing touches on 34-16 thumping of the North Dakota State Bison here Saturday.
With the win, the 13-1 Statesmen propelled themselves into the school's first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship game next Saturday in Florence, Ala. and will face Bloomsburg, Pa. a 58-48 winner over California-Davis. Kickoff for next week's title game in Florence is slated for 1 p.m.
Bright, the junior quarterback from Batesville, rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries, including the insurance touchdown with 3:02 remaining in the contest to secure the biggest win in school history. Bright faked and rolled out on a bootleg, then tucked it under, stiff-arming NDSU's Ryan Evenson at the goal line to get in and work the crowd into a major frenzy.
He also passed for 116 yards and a pair of TDs on 4-of-8 passing.
Campbell is no stranger to playing for Division II's top prize. In 1987, He was the starting center for the Troy State Trojans, who defeated Portland State in Florence for the crown.
The Statesmen stormed out to a 20-0 lead and held off a Bison (12-2) comeback. Former Meridian High Wildcat Jason Franklin secured the highlight reel play of the day when he hauled in a 74-yard TD bomb in stride to provide the early lead.
Local security and Cleveland police kept fans who poured out of the stands from tearing down the goalposts in the Statesmen's final home game of the year.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.

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