FCS playoffs: Defending champs keep rolling along
Brock Jensen threw a touchdown and had a long run for another in the second half as two-time defending national champion North Dakota State pulled away from Furman for a 38-7 win in the second round of the FCS playoffs yesterday afternoon.
The Bison (12-0) are home against Coastal Carolina next weekend in the quarterfinals.
NDSU scored three TDs in the third quarter. Sam Ojuri had a short run, Jensen hit Andrew Bonnett for 7 yards and Reese Hannon returned an interception 61 yards to make it 31-7.
Jensen wrapped it up with a 53-yard scoring run.
The Paladins (8-6) hung with the Bison early. After Jensen opened the scoring with a 52-yard TD pass to Zach Vraa, Furman answered with a 75-yard drive, capped by Marcus Anderson’s 1-yard. run. NDSU got a 37-yard FG on the final play of the first half to lead 10-7.
Coastal Carolina 42, Montana 35
Alex Ross threw for three touchdowns and Lorenzo Taliaferro rushed for two touchdowns as Coastal Carolina pushed past Montana on a frigid day.
Coastal Carolina (12-2), which survived minus-5 degrees at kickoff, will play at two-time defending champion North Dakota State (12-0) next weekend.
Ross’s three touchdowns came in the first half, including two to Niccolo Mastromatteo as Chanticleers scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to build a 35-14 halftime lead.
Towson 48, Fordham 28
Terrance West added to his nation-leading touchdown totals by three to lead Towson past Fordham.
West gained 76 yards on 24 carries and upped his season touchdown total to 33. Peter Athens passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns as Towson (11-2) moves on to play Eastern Illinois next week.
Towson took its first possession 63 yards on 11 plays, capped by West’s 1-yard touchdown plunge. Fordham responded with a 71-yard drive of its own, culminated by Jorge Solano’s 9-yard TD reception from Michael Nebrich (394 yards, 4 TDs).
The teams were tied at halftime at 21, but Towson took over in the second half. Athens hit Andre Dessenberg for a 46-yard scoring strike, and then West added TD runs of five and 14 yards. Darius Victor scored from 22 yards out to seal the victory.
Eastern Illinois 51, Tennessee St. 10
Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 240 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Illinois crushed Tennessee State.
Eastern Illinois (12-1) will face Towson next week.
The Panthers built a 16-0 first-quarter lead on a Taylor Duncan 3-yard TD run, a Cameron Berra 25-yard field goal and Garoppolo’s first touchdown pass, a 20-yard strike to Erik Lora.
Garoppolo connected with Jeff LePak from 6 yards out and Adam Drake (6 catches, 95 yards) for a 4-yard TD in the second quarter.
E. Washington 41, S. Dakota St. 17
Quincy Forte ran for a career-high 203 yards to complement a record-breaking passing attack as Eastern Washington (11-2) pulled away from South Dakota State on a freezing afternoon.
While Forte was out-dueling Zach Zenner of SDSU (9-5), the leading rusher in FCS, and scoring the final touchdown for the Eagles, Vernon Adams was throwing five touchdown passes, including two to freshman Cooper Kupp.
With 20 TDs, Kupp broke the school record and Randy Moss’s national record for freshmen. His 81 catches tie the FCS freshman record.
Jacksonville St. 31, McNeese St. 10
DaMarcus James ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns to lead Jacksonville State over McNeese State.
Jacksonville State (11-3) won for the first time in eight tries against McNeese State and advanced for the first time to the FCS quarterfinals. The Gamecocks will play next weekend at No. 3 seed Eastern Washington (11-2).
James scored his third touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap a time-consuming drive that answered McNeese State’s only touchdown. During the drive, he became the Jacksonville State single-season leader in yards rushing at 1,428. He also added to his single-season mark for touchdowns with 28.
The Gamecocks set a school record with 11 sacks and caused all kinds of trouble for McNeese State quarterback Cody Stroud. The Cowboys (10-3) had allowed only 14 sacks this season.