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After persistently nicking New Hampshire with paper cuts, Devlin connected with his top receiver, Nihja White, for a 24-yard touchdown to break a 3-3 tie midway through the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, Devlin fired a 9-yard scoring pass to Mark Schenhauer. It was his 20th scoring throw of the season, and it was more than enough for Delaware's smothering defense, which went into the game leading the country by allowing an average of 12.3 points a game.

There are 10 players on the roster from the Delaware team that advanced to the national championship game in 2007. That team lost to Appalachian State, the No. 1 seed that plays Villanova Saturday in Boone, N.C.

A rematch between heated rivals Delaware and Villanova remains a possibility for the national title game. 'Nova handed the Blue Hens one of their two defeats this season, a 28-21 overtime thriller.

With Vice President Biden among those who braved the cold, Delaware suffered through a particularly frustrating second quarter, which concluded with Mike Perry's shanked attempt at a 41-yard field goal that would have given the Blue Hens a three-point halftime lead.

After his inefficient start, Devlin found his targets repeatedly as he completed 14 of 17 passes in the second quarter. Regardless of their 126 yards in total offense in the quarter, the Blue Hens couldn't get into the end zone against New Hampshire's physical defense. Delaware appeared nearly unstoppable when it motored from its own 7-yard line to the Wildcats' 8. But the drive stalled and Perry tied the score, 3-3, with a 25-yard field goal.

The drive to set up the field goal covered 15 plays and 85 yards and consumed 6 minutes, 48 seconds off the block, but it was New Hampshire that was more pleased with the result.

Like Delaware, New Hampshire went a long way for its field goal in the first quarter. Starting from their own 20-yard line, the Wildcats had first and goal at the 10. But Blue Hen defenders Siddiq Haynes and Paul Worrilow came up with big tackles to force New Hampshire to settle for three points.

Devlin completed 16 of 22 passes for 128 yards in the first half, but none of his completions was longer than 12 yards and he was sacked three times.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.