Mike Dowis kicked a 20-yard field goal with 1:41 left Saturday to lift top-ranked Georgia Southern to a 37-34 victory over Stephen F. Austin for the NCAA Division I-AA championship.
It was unbeaten Georgia Southern's third national title in five years as the Eagles became the first school this century to win 15 games in a season. The Eagles also captured the championship in 1985 and 1986 and were runners-up last year.Dowis' game-winning kick was set up when Taz Dixon intercepted Stephen F. Austin quarterback Todd Hammel on the Lumberjacks 30.
Third-ranked Stephen F. Austin (12-2-1) had taken a 34-27 lead 2:28 into the final period when Hammel threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 46-yarder to Larry Centers.
Georgia Southern (15-0), which won its 37th consecutive game at their home field, Allen E. Paulson Stadium, had tied it 34-34 with 5:58 remaining on a 1-yard plunge by Ernest Thompson, capping a 51-yard drive in 6 plays.
Georgia Southern, which had not been scored upon in the third period all season, outscoring the opposition 143-0, had the streak end when Stephen F. Austin scored 10 points to take a 27-20 lead into the final period in the game.
NAIA Div. I Championship
Carson-Newman 34, Emporia St. 20
Robert Hardy rushed for 218 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the defending-champion Carson-Newman Eagles to the NAIA Division I championship over Emporia State of Kansas.
The win, which was clinched in 12-degree weather, marked Carson-Newman's third NAIA championship in four years and its fifth of the decade.
NAIA Div. II Championship
Westminster 51, Wis.-LaCrosse 30
Joe Micchia passed for four touchdowns leading Westminster to its 27th consecutive victory and second NAIA Division II national championship in a row over Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
Micchia, a 6-foot-1 senior quarterback, completed 18 of 33 passes for 219 yards and also was his team's leading rusher with 55 yards on 11 carries. His touchdown passes covered 2 and 4 yards to Dave Foley, 6 yards to Chris Osborne and 3 yards to Rob Kokar.