Looking back at the first playoff round of FCS football

Most of the attacks were ready for the start of the FCS playoffs: all eight teams that won first-round games scored over 30 points, and three teams lost games despite over 40 points.

sorry defense

CAA Football and Big Sky, the two conferences with the most teams in the 24-strong field of five each, claimed multiple wins. The CAA went 3-1 and the Big Sky went 2-1 after Montana closed the action with an impressive comeback win.

Here’s a recap of the first round:

Furman (10-2) 31, Elon (8-4) 6

Short Summary – Furman defeated Elon in the first round for a second time (also in 2017) and took control of their seventh straight win by scoring first-half touchdowns on consecutive possessions. Quarterback Tyler Huff had 233 yards on offense and two TDs.

cue ball – The Paladins defense takes a collective honor after conceding the fewest points in the Southern Conference program’s 35-game playoff history. It limited Elon to 77 rushing yards (the Phoenix had averaged 159 yards), sacked Matthew McKay four times with five other QB rushes, and had two fumble recoveries. Linebackers Bryce McCormick and Braden Gilby led with seven tackles each, and defensive tackle Xavier Stephens was there with 2.5 sacks.

Key Stats – The Paladins rushed for 251 yards, with Dominic Roberto hitting a game-high 98 yards and surpassing 1,000 yards for the season. In the loss, Elon’s Skyler Davis kicked 52- and 51-yard field goals to equal the FCS year-old record of seven for 50+ yards (achieved two previous times).

Next – Furman is advancing to play in the second round (2 p.m. ET on Dec. 3) at the No. 7 UIW (10-1). It will be a first meeting.

Richmond (9-3) 41, Davidson (8-4) 0

Short Summary – In their first meeting in over 49 years, Richmond scored on five of his first six possessions to overpower Davidson. Quarterback Reece Udinski was 28 of 31 for 246 yards and two touchdowns and set an FCS playoff record for completion rate (90.3) in a single game with at least 15 tries.

cue ball – Udinski, the first-team All-CAA quarterback, scored his fourth game of the season with an 80+ completion rate on 30+ tries. He threw 25- (Jakob Herres) and 30-yard TDs (Jerry Garcia Jr.) in the second quarter.

Key Stats – Davidson, who has been outscored by 138-35 points in three straight playoff games, started as the FCS leader in rushing yards per game (350.5) but finished with just 123 (the lowest of coach Scott Abell’s five seasons ) at 40 carries . Richmond converted 10 of 15 third downs compared to the Wildcats who went 2 of 12.

Next – Richmond is advancing to play in the second round (5 p.m. ET on Dec. 3) at Sacramento State (11-0). It will be a first meeting.

Delaware (8-4) 56, Saint Francis (9-3) 17

Short Summary – Nolan Henderson was involved in Delaware’s first five touchdowns and threw three points to wide receiver Chandler Harvin while the Blue Hens built a 35-3 lead en route to the most points in their 41-game playoff history. They suffered two losses to finish the regular season.

cue balls – UD’s offense and defense leaders stood out, with Henderson, who passed 266 yards and four TDs with another record on the floor, and linebacker Johnny Buchanan, who had 15 tackles (his fifth game with 15+ stops this season). game high.

Key Stats – The Blue Hens had an excellent offensive balance with 303 passing yards and 283 rushing yards. Meanwhile, Northeast Conference champion Red Flash was being held at a season-low 259 yards.

Next – Delaware is advancing to play No. 1 South Dakota (10-1) in the second round (3:00 p.m. ET on Dec. 3). UD lost 33-3 to the Jackrabbits in the Spring 2021 semifinals.

New Hampshire (9-3) 52, Fordham (9-3) 42

Short Summary – UNH never fell behind as running back Dylan Laube threw up a school-record 424 all-purpose yards and hit a career-high four touchdowns. FCS passing leader Tim DeMorat of Fordham was held in check with 330 yards and three TDs against two interceptions.

cue ball – Laube set the tone, scoring from 87 yards and running in from Max Brosmer after just over four minutes. He had 29 carries for 157 yards and three TDs, caught four passes for a career-high 127 yards and one TD, and added 119 kickoff return yards and 21 punt return yards.

Key Stats – UNH overtook the Rams 664-557 and held an 11 minute, 6 second lead in possession time. As good as DeMorat’s stats were for many quarterbacks, passing yards were his second-least of the season and TD passes were his season-low.

Next – New Hampshire is advancing to play at No. 8 Holy Cross (11-0) in the second round (12:00 p.m. ET on Dec. 3). The New England programs, who last faced each other 13-10 Crusaders on September 7, 2019, will face off in the playoffs for the first time.

Weber State (10-2) 38, North Dakota (7-5) 31

Short Summary – In a game played in rain, sleet and snow, Weber State extended a 38-17 lead through three quarters and then held it after AND’s Tommy Schuster threw two of his three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. Josh Davis (129) and Damon Bankston (122) led a 330-yard ground attack as the Wildcats recorded a double-digit overall win for the fourth time since 2017.

cue ball – The Wildcats are a better team when Davis is healthy, and that has been an issue in recent seasons. His 21 carries and two rushing touchdowns were the most since 2019, and 129 rushing yards were the most since the spring 2021 campaign.

Key Stats – The Wildcats’ rushing yards were the best in 37 games (439 vs. Northern Arizona on October 19, 2019). Their 59 carries were the most against an FCS opponent since they had 61 against Montana on October 10, 2015.

Next – Weber State advances to a rematch at 4th seed Montana State (10-1) in the second round (3pm ET on Dec. 3). The host Bobcats beat the Wildcats 43-38 on October 22.

Gardner-Webb (7-5) 52, East Kentucky (7-5) 41

Short Summary – The Runnin’ Bulldogs lived up to their nickname with 405 rushing yards in their first playoff game, and coach Tre Lamb’s side were the only away team to record a first-round win. Running back Narii Gaither led for 245 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Bailey Fisher had three scores (each over 10 yards) and threw for another.

cue ball – While Gaither came into play with 11 career games for 100+ rushing yards, he was 94 yards over his previous best when he posted career bests in carries (28) and rushing yards (245).

Key Stats – After a first-half shootout that left Gardner-Webb 31-27 up, the Big South champion had 21 unanswered points in the third quarter. It gave the Runnin’ Bulldogs a cushion against eastern Kentucky quarterback Parker McKinney (career-high 454 passing yards, five TD passes).

Next – Gardner-Webb advances to play 5th-ranked William & Mary (10-1) in the second round (2pm ET on Dec. 3). It will be a first meeting.

Southeast Louisiana (9-3) 45, Idaho (7-5) 42

Short Summary – After trailing 35-31 in the fourth quarter, Southeastern Louisiana responded with a touchdown drive capped by Carlos Washington’s one-yard run followed by Zy Alexander’s 44-yard interception return for a score a little over a minute later. Idaho’s Ricardo Chavez slipped on a potential field goal and dragged it wide to the left with six seconds left.

cue balls – SLU quarterback Cephus Johnson III avoided errors and had 277 offensive yards with two touchdown runs. Let’s add Idaho wide receiver Hayden Hatten, who caught nine passes for 209 yards and his 16th touchown of the season but also lost a fumble.

Key Stats – The Lions made no turnovers while Idaho had three, and each was costly: Hatten’s fumble in SLU territory, a Donniel Ward-Magee interception by Vandals quarterback Gevani McCoy at the Lions’ goal-line, and Alexander’s pick-six in the fourth quarter.

Next – Southeastern Louisiana is advancing to play Dec. 3 (3 p.m. ET Dec. 3) at Samford (10-1), seeded at 6th place. The Lions have won two out of three all-time meetings, most recently in 2013.

Montana (8-4) 34, Southeast Missouri (9-3) 24

Short Summary – Trailing 24-3 in the third quarter, Montana had the last 31 points, including two touchdowns against special teams within 4½ minutes of the third quarter. The comeback brought back memories of the 2009 Big Sky program team, which went 21 points behind South Dakota State in the third quarter of a first-round game and went on to have a straight 47-point win.

cue balls – Record holders played a big part in UM’s win. Malik Flowers started the comeback with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, pulling his team to 24-10 and tying the FCS mark with his seventh career kickoff return TD (Weber State’s Rashid Shaheed had from 2017- 21 also seven). Safety Robby Hauck, the son of UM coach Bobby Hauck, had 15 tackles to take his career to a Big Sky-record 474 (one more than East Washington’s Ronnie Hamlin of 2011-14).

Key Stats – Revenue margin is often mentioned when a team loses a game, but SEMO kept a +1 margin. The Redhawks have had other types of meltdowns, posted season-highs in penalties (11) and penalty meters (110) and were surpassed in rushing length at 202-87, including UM’s junior Bergen’s 58-yard punt-return touchdown that ended the game 24-24 separated .

Next – Montana is advancing to play 3rd-seeded North Dakota State (9-2) in the second round (3:30 p.m. on Dec. 3). NDSU has a 5-4 lead in the series and won the last second-round meeting in 2015, 37-6.


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