Here's a look at all the action from the First Round of the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday.
Also See: Scores and Picks
Sam Houston State ran its playoff record to 28-0 (20-0, FCS) with a 21-15 win over Monmouth, but this one almost slipped through the Bearkats' paws.
Sam Houston, the No. 2 seed, took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but trailed in virtually every statistical category. Monmouth began making a charge with a touchdown and 2-point conversion at the 13:09 mark and, after holding the Bearkats to a 3-and-out, the Hawks scored again on a 30-yard pass to tighten the score to 21-15 with 5:58 remaining. Monmouth held SHSU to another punt to get the ball back at its own 32 with 4:20 still left to play and marched to the 9, but a 4th-and-goal pass was intercepted in the end zone with just 48 seconds on the clock.
Monmouth is now 1-3 all-time in FCS playoff appearances.
The game was tight at just 14-7 until the final 40 seconds of the first half when No. 4 seed Jacksonville State scored 14 points in a 7-second span to jump out to a 28-7 advantage. A 1-yard QB keeper by Zion Webb was followed by a pooch kick that Davidson failed to recover and the Gamecocks hit pay-dirt on the very next play with a 22-yard Webb TD pass to Mike Pettway. The Gamecocks added two more scores in the 3rd to take a 42-7 lead into the final stanza and finished off the 49-14 win.
No. 3 seed James Madison amassed 305 yards on the ground and opened an 18-point lead by halftime that the Dukes carried into the 4th quarter. VMI made it look a lot more respectable by scoring with 9 seconds left, but JMU recovered the onside kick to end the threat. Jawon Hamilton (19-171) and Percy Agyei-Obese (25-110) both went over 100 yards for the Dukes and scored a TD apiece, and the Jame Madison defense picked off VMI QB Seth Morgan 3 times. Morgan finished 30-of-50 for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The top seed had no trouble advancing to the second round as they forced the Crusaders to punt on 7 of 9 possessions.
The Bison did what the Bison do - won another FCS playoff game. This time, North Dakota State limped in to the playoffs on the heels of a two-loss season, but was able to put together one of their best games of the year in Fargo Dome victory over the Eagles. It's the 13th straight playoff win for the Bison. EWU's last FCS playoff game was the 2018 championship loss, 38-24, to the Bison.
The Salukis went on the road and upset Weber State on Stone Labanowitz' 8-yard TD pass to Branson Combs with 51 seconds left in the game. The Wildcats had just reclaimed the lead on the previous possession on QB Bronson Barron's 3-yard run with 5:25 to play. Weber State jumped out to an early lead of 14-0 with a pair of touchdowns sandwiched around an SIU interception. But SIU closed to within 21-17 at halftime and took its first lead at 24-21 late in the 3rd quarter. The team exchanged field goals leading up to the exciting finish.
As the scores indicates, this one belonged to the Fighting Hawks from start to finish. It was 14-3 after the first quarter, 24-3 at the half and 37-3 heading in to the final quarter. This is North Dakota's first FCS playoff win (1-2) while the Bears dropped to 1-3 in such games.
The two teams generated a combined total of only 435 yards as the Blue Hens won the defensive struggle. Delaware was playing in only ts 3rd FCS playoff game since falling to Eastern Washington in the 2010 championship game, and picked up its first FCS playoff win since downing Georgia Southern in the 2010 semifinals. Delaware is now 23-15 all-time in these games while Sacred Heart dropped to 0-3.
Southern Illinois at No. 1 South Dakota State
Delaware at No. 4 Jacksonville State
North Dakota at No. 3 James Madison
North Dakota State at No. 2 Sam Houston State
|Holy Cross (3-1) 3
|#1 SDSU (6-1) 31
|So. Illinois (6-3) 34
|Weber State (5-1) 31
|4/24, 7 p.m.|
|Sacred Hart (3-2) 10
|Delaware (6-0) 19
|Davidson (4-3) 14
|#4 J'ville St. (10-2) 49
|VMI (6-2) 24|
|#3 JMU (6-0) 31
|Missouri State (5-5) 10
|North Dakota (5-1) 44
|E. Washington (5-2) 20
|NDSU (7-2) 42
|Monmouth (3-1) 15
|#2 SHSU (7-0) 21