Blue Hens to face No. 1 South Dakota State in FCS semifinals


NEWARK — After knocking off the No. 4 team in the NCAA FCS Division I playoffs, now the Delaware football team will have to try to topple No. 1.

The Blue Hens will play at top-seeded South Dakota State next Saturday after the Jackrabbits rallied to beat Southern Illinois, 31-26, in the FCS quarterfinals late Sunday night.

Delaware beat fourth-seeded Jacksonville State, 20-14, earlier in the day on Sunday to earn a spot in the FCS semifinals for the first time since 2010.

The Delaware-South Dakota State matchup will kick off at noon ET and be televised on ESPN.

The two programs have met only once before, with the Hens winning, 26-3, in Newark in 2010.

The Jackrabbits trailed, 20-7, against Southern Illinois before running off 24 unanswered points and then stopping a Southern Illinois drive at the end of the game.

Second-seeded Sam Houston State will host No. 3 James Madison in the other semifinal. The Bearkats, led by former Delaware coach K.C. Keeler, knocked off perennial FCS power South Dakota State, 24-20, in the quarterfinals while James Madison beat North Dakota, 34-21, on Sunday.

The  Sam Houston-JMU game is set for 2:30 p.m. With Delaware and JMU both advancing, the CAA has two representatitives with a shot at making the national championship game.