Late touchdown muzzles Salukis

Updated: November 27, 2004, 11:25 PM ET
Associated Press

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Erik Meyer threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Eric Kimble with 1:49 left to help Eastern Washington beat top-ranked Southern Illinois 35-31 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

Eastern Washington (9-3) will face Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals. Sam Houston routed Western Kentucky 54-24.

Meyer, 31 of 44 for 437 yards, brought Eastern Washington back from a 17-7 halftime deficit and a 24-14 hole midway through the third quarter. His third TD pass of the game to Kimble capped a five-play, 75-yard drive that took just 42 seconds.

Kimble caught 11 passes for 195 yards.

In the other quarterfinals, Montana will entertain New Hampshire, Delaware will be at William & Mary, and James Madison will travel to Furman.

New Hampshire 27, Georgia Southern 23
STATESBORO, Ga. -- R.J. Harvey gave New Hampshire its first lead on a 52-yard run early in the fourth quarter and the Wildcats made it hold.

The Wildcats (10-2) trailed 21-6 early in the second quarter but scored the game's last three touchdowns, handing Georgia Southern (9-3) the first first-round defeat in the school's proud history. The Eagles, making their 15th playoff appearance, have won the Division I-AA championship six times.

New Hampshire joined Atlantic 10 members Delaware, William & Mary and James Madison in the quarterfinals, the first time a conference has had four teams advance that far in the Division I-AA playoffs.

Sam Houston St. 54, Western Kentucky 24
HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Former Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Long was 30 of 43 for 323 yards and four touchdowns for Sam Houston State (10-2).

Justin Haddix was 14 of 26 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Western Kentucky (9-3).

Montana 56, Northwestern St. 7
MISSOULA, Mont. -- Lex Hilliard ran for 171 yards and four touchdowns, and Craig Ochs passed for 234 yards and three more scores for Montana.

The Grizzlies (10-2) will face New Hampshire at home in the quarterfinals.

The 56 points were the most allowed by Northwestern State (8-4) since it became a I-AA school in 1977. Montana had 543 yards in total offense against the Demons, who led I-AA in total defense, allowing opponents just 250 yards per game this season.

William & Mary 42, Hampton 35
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Domininique Thompson caught two touchdown passes and returned a kickoff 92 yards in the fourth quarter to put William & Mary ahead for good.

Thompson had 118 receiving yards, Lang Campbell was 23-of-37 for 294 yards and Elijah Brooks ran for 120 yards for the Tribe (10-2).

William & Mary advanced to play Delaware.

Hampton finished the season 10-2.

Delaware 28, Lafayette 14
NEWARK, Del. -- Quarterback Sonny Riccio ran for two touchdowns, and Garron Bible returned a fumble 87 yards for a late touchdown for Delaware (9-3).

Omar Cuff ran for 109 yards for the Blue Hens.

Lafayette finished the season 8-4.

Furman 49, Jacksonville St. 7
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Former Florida starter Ingle Martin threw four touchdown passes to lead Furman to its first I-AA playoff victory in three years.

Furman, the 1988 national champs, hadn't won a playoff game since reaching the title game in 2001. The Paladins (10-2) will face James Madison in the quarterfinals.

Martin's touchdown passes gave him a school record 21 for the season, surpassing the mark of 19 set by Furman coach Bobby Lamb in 1984. He also matched Lamb's record of four touchdown throws in a playoff win over Rhode Island in 1985.

James Madison 14, Lehigh 13
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Raymond Hines ran for 193 yards and a touchdown for James Madison (10-2). Mark Borda was 23 of 36 for 215 yards for Lehigh (9-3).

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press