FRISCO, Texas — Bo Levi Mitchell led three straight late touchdown drives, the finale coming with 2:47 left, leading Eastern Washington to a 20-19 victory over Delaware and its first FCS championship.
The Eagles (13-2) trailed 19-0 and had gained only 92 yards midway through the third quarter Friday night. Facing the defense that gave up the fewest points per game in the FCS, their title hopes looked shot.
But Mitchell took them on drives of 80, 89 and 69 yards. He converted a fourth-and-8 on the second of those series and needed two video replays to uphold a fourth-and-1 conversion a few plays before the winning touchdown.
Delaware (12-3) — with Vice President Joe Biden, an alum, watching five rows behind the team's bench — had one last try, but turned the ball over on downs with 47 seconds left.
The Fighting Hens were looking for their second title in eight years. Instead, they've lost their second-straight trip to the finals; it also happened in 2007 against Appalachian State with Ravens star Joe Flacco at quarterback.
Mitchell, who started his college career at nearby SMU and is from the Houston area, was 29 of 43 for 302 yards. He truly led the way as the Eagles hardly ran the ball during their stunning comeback.
Brandon Kaufman caught nine passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. His nifty grab of an 11-yarder in the back of the end zone was the title-winner.
Nicholas Edwards had six catches for 74 yards and the other touchdown.
Delaware was in control from the start, scoring a touchdown on its first drive and following with field goals on its next two series. Mixing runs and passes, the Blue Hens had 230 yards by halftime. They led 19-0 following another touchdown early in the third quarter, following an exchange of interceptions.
Conventional wisdom was that Delaware's size would have worn down Eastern Washington. The Eagles were shut out at halftime for the first time all season and couldn't run or pass.
But the roles reversed. The Blue Hens weren't as successful running and got out of synch passing, especially with Renard Williams and David Gaylord pressuring Delaware's Pat Devlin.
Devlin finished 22 of 34 for 220 yards. He also threw just his third interception of the year. It didn't hurt, though, as Mitchell threw his only interception a few snaps later.
The Football Championship Subdivision is the highest level of college football with a playoff. Eastern Washington finished the regular season at No. 1 and Delaware was No. 5; however, the Blue Hens had been No. 1 before losing their final game of the regular season.
The game drew 13,027 fans to this suburb north of Dallas. This is the first of a three-year commitment to Frisco after 13 straight years in Chattanooga, Tenn.
NCAA President Mark Emmert attended the game. A former chancellor at LSU, he said before the game that he would resist any urge of heading to Cowboys Stadium to watch the Tigers play Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.