James Madison, Richmond among first-round winners in FCS playoffs
HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Rodney Landers passed for three touchdowns and rushed for 166 yards and another score to lead James Madison to a 38-35 victory over Wofford in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs on Saturday.
Landers scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 6-yard run with 3:21 remaining in the game after throwing scoring passes of 15, 27 and 23 yards as the Dukes (11-1) built a 28-14 halftime lead.
James Madison advanced to play Villanova (10-2) in the quarterfinals next Saturday. Villanova defeated Colgate 55-28 in the first round.
Wofford (9-3) kept pace with the Dukes behind Mike Rucker, who had 11 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown; Ben Widmyer, who rushed for 98 yards, and Dane Romero, who had 25 carries for 87 yards and four touchdowns.
Romero's fourth score -- a 1-yard run with 1:11 remaining in the third quarter -- tied the score at 28.
However, James Madison's Dave Stannard kicked a 24-yard field goal with 11:39 remaining in the game for a 31-28 lead and Landers ran for a score to build a 38-28 advantage with 3:21 left.
Rucker's touchdown cut the lead to 38-35 with 1:02 left in the game, but the Dukes recovered the onside kick to run out the clock.
James Madison rushed for 343 yards and Wofford rolled up 301 yards on the ground.
Widmyer was 8 of 14 for 94 yards.
Villanova 55, Colgate 28
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Matt Szczur returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score and added two more TDs as Villanova cruised to a victory over Colgate.
Villanova, ranked No. 6 in the FCS, will face James Madison, a 38-35 winner over Wofford, next Saturday in a quarterfinal round game.
Villanova (10-2) won its fifth straight game and picked up its first playoff victory since 2002, when it advanced to the semifinals before losing to McNeese State.
Jordan Scott scored three touchdowns for Patriot League champion Colgate (9-3), which had its eight-game winning streak snapped. It was Colgate's first loss since falling to Furman 42-21 on Sept. 13.
Szczur gave the Wildcats a quick 6-0 lead 13 seconds into the game.
Before Joe Marcoux's PAT attempt missed wide right, the game was delayed nearly 15 minutes as Villanova safety Darrel Young was carted off the field in an ambulance with a neck sprain. He was taken to University of Pennsylvania Hospital, and after the game Villanova coach Andy Talley said all tests came back negative.
Colgate eventually cut the lead to 13-7 when Scott scored on a 2-yard run with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats responded with 28 unanswered points for a commanding 41-7 halftime advantage. Four Villanova players scored in the second quarter.
Richmond 38, Eastern Kentucky 10
The Spiders (10-3), who have won six consecutive games, advanced to play at Appalachian State in the quarterfinals next Saturday. The Colonels (8-4) had a seven-game winning streak snapped and dropped their 13th straight non-conference road game.
Ward was 16 of 23, completing seven passes to Gray for 87 yards. Kevin Grayson caught five passes for 107 yards.
Richmond's Josh Vaughan rushed for 90 yards on 23 carries.
The Spiders broke a 10-10 halftime tie by scoring on their first four possessions of the second half.
After Shawn White returned a short kickoff to the Eastern Kentucky 34, a pair of catches gave the Spiders a first-and-goal on the 9, and Vaughan scored on an 11-yard run around the left side.
The next drive began on the 20 following Patrick Weldon's interception. Ward and Gray connected on a 14-yard score.
Gray's leaping, 23-yard touchdown catch pushed the Spiders' lead to 31-10 with 13:38 remaining in the game.
The Colonels failed on a fourth-and-4 from their 38 setting up the Spiders' final scoring drive. Vaughan then scored on a 17-yard run.
The Spiders finished with 412 yards, controlling the ball for 36:09, 12:35 in the fourth quarter.
Eastern Kentucky was limited to 84 yards rushing, the sixth straight game the Spiders have held their opponents to less than 100 yards rushing. Holland was 20 for 35 for 181 yards.
Northern Iowa 40, Maine 15
Derrick Law ran for two touchdowns and Corey Lewis became Northern Iowa's career rushing leader while also scoring a TD for the third-seeded Panthers (11-2), who improved to 9-0 in first-round playoff games in the UNI-Dome. They'll host New Hampshire in a quarterfinal game next Saturday.
Maine (8-5) stayed with the Panthers until UNI scored 16 points in just 5 minutes late in the first half to break a 7-7 tie.
Grace finished 15-of-24 for 229 yards and one interception and added 54 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Lewis carried 14 times for 75 yards and scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter, three plays after De'Veon Harris' interception. He ran his career total to 3,886 yards, breaking the school record of 3,835 set by Jeff Stovall from 1993-96.
Law finished it off with a 10-yard TD run late.
Northern Iowa, the Missouri Valley Conference co-champion, took a 7-0 lead on Law's 2-yard TD run. Maine capitalized on Tyrell Jones' punt block to tie it on Derek Session's 1-yard run at the 10:16 mark in the second quarter.
But the Black Bears didn't score again until quarterback Michael Brusko threw an 10-yard touchdown pass to Session with 5:49 left. By then, the Panthers led 33-7.
Northern Iowa intercepted Brusko four times, sacked him three times and held Maine to 103 yards through the first three quarters. Brusko finished 15-of-23 for 180 yards.
Maine ended up beginning and finishing its season in Iowa. The Black Bears lost to Iowa 46-3 in Iowa City in their opener.
New Hampshire 29, Southern Illinois 20
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- R.J. Toman threw for 257 yards as No. 10 New Hampshire defeated No. 9 Southern Illinois.
New Hampshire (10-2) capitalized on three SIU turnovers and a blocked punt return for a touchdown to advance to its fourth second-round playoff appearance since 2004.
With the game tight at 19-13 in the last minutes of the third quarter, New Hampshire defensive back John Clements returned a blocked SIU punt 26 yards to put New Hampshire up 26-13 heading into the final quarter.
SIU quarterback Chris Dieker answered with a 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Haruff to come within a score, but Kicker Tom Bishop iced the game with a 32-yard field goal, his fifth on the day.
Bishop's five field goals tied the Division I playoff record set previously by Fordham in 2002 and Western Illinois in 2003.
Bishop and the Wildcats were given a short field on many scores because of SIU turnovers. Dieker, who finished with 163 yards, threw two interceptions and running back Larry Warner recorded a costly fumble on an early Saluki drive to set up a New Hampshire score.
New Hampshire wide receiver Mike Boyle finished with 131 yards. Nearly half of those yards came on a 54-yard reception late in the second quarter that set Toman up for a two-yard rushing touchdown to put the Wildcats up 16-13 at the half.
The loss was Southern Illinois' first at home since last season's semifinal playoff defeat against Delaware.
Montana 31, Texas State 13
MISSOULA, Mont. -- Chase Reynolds rushed for 233 yards and two second-half touchdowns Saturday to lead Montana to a win over Texas State.
No. 23 Texas State (8-5) jumped out to a 10-0 lead before fifth-ranked and fourth-seeded Montana (12-1) scored on its final possession of the first half and its first two possessions of the second half to pull away.
Cole Bergquist passed for 177 yards and Montana's first score, a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marc Mariani with 16 seconds left in the half. Bergquist scored on a 21-yard run with 11:47 left in the third quarter to give the Griz the lead for good.
Montana meets Weber State next week.
Weber St. 49, Cal Poly 35
Higgins connected with Tim Toone 10 times for 199 yards and a touchdown.
Cal Poly (8-3), which took Wisconsin to overtime a week earlier, had 548 yards of offense but made five costly turnovers after making just six during the regular season.
Jonathan Dally was intercepted four times, going 11 of 30 for 185 yards with two touchdowns. He did rush 23 times for 177 yards, but the Mustangs struggled to do much else offensively.
Ramses Barden caught both of Dally's touchdown passes, settling for 108 yards on two catches in the Walter Payton Award candidate's final game with the Mustangs.
Weber State travels to Montana in the second round.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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