Note: As you read through this post, please be aware that I list the matchup of next week’s game in every other recap.
Furman (8-5) at #1 North Dakota State (11-0)
It was a slow start for the 2-time defending FCS Champions, but North Dakota State eventually pulled away for a 38-7 win over Furman. The game was scoreless until North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen hit Zach Vraa for a 52 yard touchdown. Furman responded with Marcus Anderson’s 1 yard touchdown run. Sam Ojuri made it 17-7 less than three minutes into the 3rd quarter and it was over from there.
Brock Jensen went 15 for 25 with 249 yards and 2 touchdowns passing for North Dakota State. Jensen added 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground. North Dakota State will face the winner between Coastal Carolina and #8 Montana.
Coastal Carolina (11-2) at #8 Montana (10-2)
It was cold and frigid in Missoula, Montana, but that did not stop Coastal Carolina from beating Montana 42-35. Both teams traded touchdowns in a 1st quarter that ended 14-14. The 2nd quarter is where Coastal Carolina separated themselves from Montana. Alex Ross found Nicollo Mastromatteo twice as Coastal Carolina took a 35-14 lead at halftime. Montana tried to mount a comeback by cutting the lead to 42-35. Unfortunately for Montana it would be enough as Coastal Carolina ran out the clock on their season.
As you would imagine, there were some big stats put up. Montana’s Jordan Johnson threw for 388 yards and 4 touchdowns. Montana receivers Jamaal Jones and Ellis Henderson both had over 100 yards receiving. For Coastal Carolina, Alex Ross and Lorenzo Taliaferro both had over 100 yards rushing.
Coastal Carolina will now face #1 North Dakota State in the quarterfinals next week.
New Hampshire (8-4) at #5 Maine (10-2)
A rematch between Colonial Athletic foes had the same result as in the regular season: a New Hampshire win. This time New Hampshire won 41-27. The teams traded field goals and touchdowns throughout the first half as New Hampshire held a 20-17 lead. The 3rd quarter saw New Hampshire with a touchdown via Sean Goldrich to Justin Mello to extend the lead to 27-17, but Maine got a field goal later in the quarter to make the score 27-20. In the 4th quarter, New Hampshire running back Chris Setian had two rushing touchdowns to put the game out of reach.
Sean Goldrich threw for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns for New Hampshire. Marcus Wasilewski had 299 yards and 2 touchdowns for Maine in the losing effort.
New Hampshire will face the winner of Sam Houston State and #4 Southeastern Louisiana.
Sam Houston State (9-4) at #4 Southeastern Louisiana (10-2)
The first half of this game was the tale of two quarters. Sam Houston State dominated the first quarter with 2 rushing touchdowns and an interception returned for a touchdown. They led 21-7 after the first quarter. The 2nd quarter belonged to Southeastern Louisiana as they outscored Sam Houston State 17-0 and took a 24-21 lead into halftime.
The 3rd quarter saw a measly safety recorded by Sam Houston State to cut the deficit to one point, 24-23. Early in the 4th quarter, Brian Bell scored a 2 yard rushing touchdown and Sam Houston State took a 29-24 lead after failing to convert the 2 point conversion. Southeastern Louisiana had one last chance late in the 4th quarter to get the win. With 36 seconds left Bryan Bennett hit Jeff Smiley for the 1 yard touchdown pass. Southeastern Louisiana failed on the 2 point conversion, but held on for a 30-29 victory over their Southland Conference foe.
Southeastern Louisiana will face New Hampshire in the quarterfinals.
South Dakota State (9-4) at #3 Eastern Washington (10-2)
A close contest in the first half gave way to a big Eastern Washington victory by the score of 41-17. South Dakota State took an early 7-0 lead thanks to Austin Sumner’s 14 yard touchdown pass to Reginald Gandy. Eastern Washington responded with Vernon Adams’ 22 yard touchdown pass to Zach Gehring. Both teams exchanged touchdowns in the 2nd quarter as they went to half tied at 14.
The 2nd half was dominated by Eastern Washington. Vernon Adams had 3 touchdown passes as Eastern Washington outscored South Dakota State 27-3 in the 2nd half. Vernon Adams had 217 yards passing and 5 touchdowns. Quincy Forte ran for 202 yards and touchdown on the ground for Eastern Washington. South Dakota State’s Austin Sumner threw for 315 yards in the loss.
Eastern Washington will face the winner of Jacksonville State and McNeese State.
Jacksonville State (10-3) at #6 McNeese State (10-2)
This game was dominated by Jacksonville State from the start as they upset McNeese State 31-10. DaMarcus James had two touchdowns in the 2nd quarter as Jacksonville State led 21-0 at halftime. DaMarcus James added another touchdown to give him a total of three for the game. For the game DaMarcus James had 127 yards on 24 carries along with those 3 touchdowns.
It was a very solid defensive performance by Jacksonville State. They allowed 301 yards of total defense, but only 46 rushing yards. They also held McNeese State to 1 for 16 on 3rd down conversions.
For their victory, Jacksonville State will face #3 Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals.
Fordham (12-1) at #7 Towson (10-2)
An entertaining game in the 1st half gave way to Towson domination in the 2nd half as they beat Fordham 48-28. Fordham’s quarterback Michael Nebrich threw 3 first half touchdowns. Peter Athens threw 2 first half touchdowns for Towson. In the 2nd half, Towson’s running game took over. Terrance West had 2 rushing touchdowns and Darius Victor added another for Towson.
Michael Nebrich threw 394 yards and 4 touchdowns for Fordham. Dan Light caught 13 passes for 122 yards and Sam Ajala had 8 receptions for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns, both of them in the loss. Towson quarterback Peter Athens went 13 for 15 for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Towson will play either Tennessee State or #2 Eastern Illinois next week.
Tennessee State (10-3) at #2 Eastern Illinois (11-1)
This game was decided early on as Eastern Illinois raced out to a 16-0 lead by the end of the first and then held a 37-0 lead at halftime. Eastern Illinois used their rushing attack as they amassed 313 yards on the ground. Shepard Little had 184 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns. Eastern Illinois ended up with 553 yards of total offense. Eastern Illinois held Tennessee State to 45 yards rushing.
Eastern Illinois will face #7 Towson in the quarterfinals next week.
– Coastal Carolina (12-2) at #1 North Dakota State (12-0) – This game will be played on Saturday, December 14 at 12 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN. The winner of this game will play the winner of the New Hampshire at #4 Southeastern Louisiana on December 20 or 21.
– New Hampshire (9-4) at #4 Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) – This game will be played on Saturday, December 14 at 7 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. The winner of this game will play the winner of the Coastal Carolina at #1 North Dakota State on December 20 or 21.
– Jacksonville State (11-3) at #3 Eastern Washington (11-2) – This game will be played on Saturday, December 14 at 4 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. The winner of this game will play the winner of the #7 Towson at #2 Eastern Illinois on December 20 or 21.
– #7 Towson (12-1) at #2 Eastern Illinois (12-1) – This game will be played on Friday, December 13 at 8 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN2. The winner of this game will play the winner of Jacksonville State at #3 Eastern Washington on December 20 or 21.
– Coastal Carolina (12-2) at #1 North Dakota State (12-0) – The big news for this game is that North Dakota State Head Coach Craig Bohl will take the same position at Wyoming. Bohl will stay on for the duration of the FCS Playoffs and that is great news for Bison fans. I like North Dakota State to prevail here, but it will be close. 31-28 Bison will beat Coastal Carolina to play in the semifinals.
– New Hampshire (9-4) at #4 Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) – I expect a shootout here between these teams. New Hampshire was impressive beating Maine for the 2nd time while Southeastern Louisiana needed a last minute touchdown to beat Sam Houston State. I will go with New Hampshire in a high scoring affair 45-41.
– Jacksonville State (11-3) at #3 Eastern Washington (11-2) – This game is tough for me to call. The forecast as of this writing is about 30 degrees with a chance of a snow shower. I think this game will be close throughout, but I will go with Vernon Adams and Eastern Washington here, 30-24.
– #7 Towson (12-1) at #2 Eastern Illinois (12-1) – I like Eastern Illinois here at home by a couple of touchdowns. This should be entertaining throughout on Friday Night and I like Eastern Illinois to win 48-34.
Be sure to enjoy the quarterfinals action of the FCS Playoffs. Check back next week for quarterfinals recaps and predictions for the Semifinals.