Widener crushed in playoff quarterfinal; coach rips Chip Kelly
Widener had never lost an NCAA playoff football game at Quick Stadium. Until Saturday. And after Sam Riddle tossed five touchdowns, including four during a first-half downpour, to help Linfield College of Oregon demolish the previously undefeated Pride, 45-7, in a Division III national quarterfinal, Widener's coach had some strong words for the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Widener had never lost an NCAA playoff football game at Quick Stadium.
And after Sam Riddle tossed five touchdowns, including four during a first-half downpour, to help Linfield College of Oregon demolish the previously undefeated Pride, 45-7, in a Division III national quarterfinal, Widener's coach had some strong words for the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Make sure you put in the paper that we thank Chip Kelly and I hope the Seahawks do well tomorrow," Widener coach Mike Kelly said. "He was helping them out. Maybe somebody in Philadelphia ought to buy him a map so he knows where he lives now. But, go Seahawks."
Chip Kelly, who led Oregon to the 2011 BCS national championship game, allowed Linfield to practice at the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles' practice facility.
He also stopped by the indoor practice bubble Friday, along with Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, a former Oregon quarterback, to wish the Wildcats good luck, according to a photo and caption posted on the school's Instagram account.
"That was a neat opportunity for us," Linfield coach Joseph Smith said. "Knowing Coach Kelly from his Oregon days and the connection there, so it was great to have him let us come out there and practice. That was fantastic."
What advice did Chip Kelly give?
"Well, he really couldn't," Smith said, "because of the rules that they have with the NFL. He wasn't able to come out and talk to the team. He wanted to. He thought about coming to the game today. He might have slipped in. You never know. He's pretty sneaky with that. But he's a great coach and we couldn't have been happier to have him out there."
No. 11 Linfield (11-1), which stunned No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor last weekend to reach the quarterfinals for the third consecutive season, led Widener, 28-7, at halftime and closed the game with 31 unanswered points. The Wildcats advance to play No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater, a 37-33 winner against Wartburg, in a national semifinal Saturday, at a time and location to be determined. Linfield last reached the semis in 2009.
No. 10 Widener (12-1) was undefeated through 12 games for the third time in team history and had been 7-0 all-time in playoff games at its Quick Stadium home, including victories the last two weeks against No. 22 Muhlenberg and Christopher Newport.
Mike Kelly, in his first season at the Chester school, has more than 30 years of coaching experience, including in the NFL.
He was a scout and offensive assistant coach for the Eagles from 2001 to 2002, served on the Redskins staff from 2003 to '05, and was with the Giants in 2010.
He said he had never before crossed paths with Chip Kelly.
"One year in Sports Illustrated he was 'hot' and I was 'not,' but other than that . . ." he said with a laugh. "He was at Oregon and I was the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. . . . Obviously, I've been with the Eagles . . . and I don't know if Chip knows it or not, but his secretary's husband is a Widener grad, so he probably ought to figure out where he's living now."