Boone, NC – The Illinois State football players must be thrilled to be on the road during the FCS playoffs.
The Redbirds have yet to lose in six road games this season, and Saturday's 38-37 overtime victory at Appalachian State in the second round was their biggest yet.
Senior quarterback Matt Brown threw for five touchdowns and 322 yards, and Shelby Harris blocked an extra point to end overtime when Appalachian State was trying to tie the game again.
Illinois State (9-3), in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, will visit Eastern Washington (10-2) in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
Brown's 25-yard touchdown pass to James O'Shaughnessy on the first play of overtime gave Illinois State a 38-31 lead. Appalachian State answered with Jamal Jackson's 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Peacock to make it 38-37. But Harris then blocked Sam Martin's extra point attempt.
Brown, the Missouri Valley Football Conference's offensive player of the year, completed 20-of-32 pass attempts. Having set seven school records and four conference records this season, he went over 10,000 career passing yards, increasing his total to 10,219.
Tyrone Walker caught 10 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. O'Shaughnessy also caught two touchdowns.
Appalachian State forced overtime when Peacock's 10-yard touchdown pass to Drew Bailey with 3:31 left tied the game at 31-31.
Jackson was 33-of-45 for 373 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
His favorite receiver, Sean Price, ended his outstanding redshirt freshman by catching 13 passes for 167 yards. He broke the FCS freshman records for receptions and receiving yards in a season with 71 and 1,196, respectively.
The loss ended Appalachian State's season with an 8-4 record. The Mountaineers were making their eighth straight playoff appearance, but it was their third straight defeat at home in the postseason.
It was the first meeting between the two programs.
Eastern Washington 29, Wagner 19
Cheney, WA (Sports Network) - Eastern Washington's road to the 2010 FCS national championship was paved with numerous close games.
So the scare Eastern Washington got from Wagner before it prevailed, 29-19, in the second round of the playoffs Saturday night may just indicate what's ahead for the Eagles.
Coach Beau Baldwin's second-seeded squad from the Big Sky Conference overcame three turnovers and scored the final 15 points after trailing 19-14 late in the third quarter. The Eagles (10-2) advanced to the national quarterfinals, where they will host Illinois State (9-3) next weekend.
Wagner, the Northeast Conference champion, entered the game on an FCS-high nine-game winning streak. The Seahawks trailed 14-6 at halftime, but took the 19-14 lead in the third quarter after Jerome Williams' 1-yard touchdown run and David Lopez's third and fourth fields goals of the game.
Eastern Washington reclaimed the lead on Quincy Forte's 3-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter. A Kyle Padron pass to Brandon Kaufman for the two-point conversion extended the lead to 22-14.
Demitrius Bronson then basically put away Eastern Washington's win with a 2- yard touchdown with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter.
Padron completed 26-of-36 pass attempts for 327 yards, a first-quarter touchdown to Ryan Ceto and one interception. Kaufman caught 10 passes for 174 yards.
Wagner quarterback Nick Doscher had 169 yards of total offense. The Seahawks (9-4) played without 1,000-yard rusher Dominique Williams.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Georgia Southern 24, Central Arkansas 16
Statesboro, GA (Sports Network) - For Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon, guiding the FCS' No. 1-ranked rushing offense isn't as easy as it looks.
But on Saturday, in his team's FCS second-round playoff matchup, he really did make it look easy.
McKinnon rushed for a career-high 316 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries as fifth-seeded Georgia Southern posted a 24-16 victory over Central Arkansas.
He also threw for one touchdown.
The Eagles (9-3), from the Southern Conference, will travel to No. 4 seed Old Dominion (11-1) for a quarterfinal-round game next weekend. It will be a rematch of last season's second-round shootout in Statesboro, when the Eagles won, 55-48.
McKinnon was 17 rushing yards short of former Georgia Southern standout Adrian Peterson's school and FCS playoff records set in 1999 and just five yards short of the SoCon single-game rushing record set by Wofford's Eric Breitenstein earlier this season.
The Eagles rushed for 404 yards and controlled the game clock for 38 minutes.
Central Arkansas (9-3) got off to a slow start and trailed 24-9 at halftime. McKinnon accounted for all three of his touchdowns - 57- and 6-yard runs and his 32-yard pass to Darreion Robinson - and Alex Hanks kicked a 40-yard field goal to help Georgia Southern stretch its lead.
The Bears scored the only touchdown in the second half on Jackie Hinton's 19- yard run.
Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers completed just 16-of-41 passes for 251 yards. However, he led the Bears with 79 rushing yards on 12 carries.
The Bears finished with 394 yards of offense, but converted just 3-of-12 third down attempts.
Georgia Southern B-back Dominique Swope rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries.
GSU is now 33-3 all-time at home in the playoffs.
Old Dominion 63, Coastal Carolina 35
Norfolk, VA (Sports Network) - Coastal Carolina did its best to try to match touchdowns with the No. 1-ranked offense in the FCS.
And then the Taylor Heinicke onslaught only worsened for the Chanticleers.
Old Dominion's sensational sophomore quarterback threw for three straight touchdowns in just over a five-minute span of the second half and he went on to pass for 497 yards and six touchdowns in the Monarchs' 63-35 victory over Coastal in the second round of the playoffs Saturday.
Heinicke also rushed for 45 yards and two touchdowns while setting the FCS single-game playoff record for total offense with 542 yards.
He completed 32 of his 44 pass attempts and didn't throw an interception, propelling fourth-seeded Old Dominion (11-1) into next weekend's national quarterfinals, where they will host fifth-seeded Georgia Southern (9-3).
Georgia Southern eliminated ODU from last year's playoffs, 55-48.
Coastal (8-5) tied the game at 35-35 on Travis Small's 18-yard touchdown run with 2:53 left in the third quarter before Heinicke then helped ODU pull away to its sixth straight win.
He led the Monarchs on a quick touchdown drive, completing four passes for 72 yards and capping it with a 6-yard scoring pass to Larry Pinkard with 1:01 left in the quarter.
After Coastal went three-and-out on its next series, Heinicke opened the fourth quarter with a 73-yard touchdown pass to Pinkard, extending ODU's lead to 49-35.
Heinicke then threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Nick Mayers to push ODU's lead to 56-35 with 10:52 left in the game.
The Monarchs then scored again on their next possession with Colby Goodwyn's 5-yard touchdown run.
Heinicke has thrown for 4,655 yards and 41 touchdowns this season.
Pinkard caught six passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns, while Mayers finished with six receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. Two of Blair Roberts' four receptions went for touchdowns.
ODU finished with 694 yards of offense. The Monarchs, from CAA Football, entered Saturday's action ranked No. 1 in total offense and No. 2 in scoring offense in the FCS.
For Coastal, which was coming off a first-round win at Bethune-Cookman, Aramis Hillary was 21-of-39 for 352 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Matt Hazel caught nine passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
ODU improved to 38-9 as a fourth-year program. The Monarchs are moving up to the FBS level next year.
Wofford 23, New Hampshire 7
Spartanburg, SC (Sports Network) - There's a reason Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein is the FCS' active career rushing leader.
He does his job to perfection and can change the game for his team anytime he touches the ball.
Saturday, the fifth-year senior came up huge for Wofford again, rushing for 247 yards and three touchdowns as the Terriers defeated New Hampshire, 23-7, in the FCS playoff second round.
Wofford (9-3) next visits defending national champion North Dakota State in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
UNH (8-4) fell for the second straight season in the second round and quite simply had no answer for Breitenstein. He carried the ball 22 times before leaving the game midway through the third quarter.
Wofford's defense certainly deserves credit as well, holding the Wildcats to just 238 yards of offense. The only points the Terriers allowed came off a fumble return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The Terriers struck first on their opening possession as Breitenstein ran 54 yards for a touchdown on a 4th-and-1 play.
He scored again from 6 yards out with 1:13 left in the second quarter. Wofford missed the extra point attempt, but led 13-0 at halftime.
New Hampshire quarterback Sean Goldrich managed just 113 passing yards and threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Running back Nico Steriti led UNH with 51 rushing yards and the Wildcats only rushed for 73 yards.
Wofford racked up 454 yards on the ground,
There were a combined 10 fumbles in the game. New Hampshire fumbled five times, losing one, and Wofford fumbled five times, losing the ball three times.
North Dakota State 28, South Dakota State 3
Fargo, ND (Sports Network) - Over the course of a season, it's important to win games, but it's equally important to beat your rival. Especially when you get to do that twice in one season, let alone in the playoffs.
That's just what No. 1-seeded North Dakota State accomplished Saturday in the FCS playoff second round, toppling rival South Dakota State, 28-3, in the 100th all-time meeting between the two schools.
It was also the second time in 22 days the Bison defeated their rival from the south behind yet another stifling defensive effort. South Dakota State managed just 217 total yards - 196 passing and 21 rushing - while the FCS' leading rusher, running back Zach Zenner, totaled 46 yards on 15 carries.
North Dakota State (11-1), the defending FCS national champion, will host Wofford (9-3) in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
South Dakota State (9-4) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after one quarter thanks to a Justin Syrovatka 26-yard field goal, but the Jackrabbits didn't score again.
NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen completed 15-of-25 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another one.
Jensen found Garrett Bruhn from 12 yards out at the start of the second quarter, giving his team a 7-3 lead. After a Ryan Smith 32-yard rushing touchdown made it 14-3, Jensen scored his lone touchdown on the ground - a 2-yard rush with 3:04 left in the second quarter - giving the Bison a 21-3 halftime advantage.
Bruhn caught his second touchdown catch of the game late in the fourth quarter, sealing the victory. He finished the contest with two catches for 21 yards and two touchdowns.
In the series' 99th meeting on Nov. 10 - a 20-17 NDSU win - South Dakota State totaled just 209 yards of offense and Zenner rushed for a season-low 43 yards.
The Jackrabbits didn't find much success through the air, either, Saturday as quarterback Austin Sumner threw for 196 yards and one interception in the loss.
The Bison rumbled for 218 rushing yards, as John Crockett totaled 90 rushing yards on 11 carries (8.2 yards per carry) and Sam Ojuri rushed for 65 yards on 19 carries.
Coach Craig Bohl's squad held onto the ball for 37 minutes, 54 seconds, and limited the 'Jacks to 2-of-13 on third down attempts and 0-of-3 on fourth down.
The Bison have won five straight home playoff games dating back to the program's first FCS playoff appearance in 2010.
Sam Houston State 18, Cal Poly 16
Huntsville, TX (Sports Network) - Sam Houston State entered the weekend as the top-scoring team in the FCS.
It managed only one touchdown against a game Cal Poly squad Saturday, but it was still enough to squeak out an 18-16 win in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
The Bearkats (9-3), who reached the national championship game last season, will face Montana State on the road in the quarterfinals next weekend.
Coach Willie Fritz's Southland Conference co-champions had averaged nearly 44.6 points per game in the regular season.
Against Cal Poly (9-3), the Bearkats' Miguel Antonio kicked field goals of 20, 32 and 26 yards, and Vincent Dotson blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety to open the scoring.
Keshawn Hill scored Sam Houston's only touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Brian Bell with 31 seconds left in the third quarter, which gave the Bearkats a 15-6 lead.
Ryan Taylor's 50-yard touchdown pass to Willie Tucker with 1:34 to play pulled Cal Poly within 18-16, but Sam Houston's Trey Diller recovered an onside kick attempt and the Bearkats ran out the clock.
Bearkats junior running back Timothy Flanders rushed 17 times for 101 yards.
Bobby Zalud kicked three field goals for the Mustangs, from 23, 27 and 48 yards.
Cal Poly's triple option rushed for 224 yards, but leading rusher Deonte Williams managed only 48 yards on 13 carries.
Montana State 16, Stony Brook 10
Bozeman, MT (Sports Network) - Montana State had one primary objective Saturday night versus Stony Brook. Stop the Seawolves' dangerous run attack fueled by Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker.
The Bobcats did just that, holding the pair in check in a 16-10 victory in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
Montana State (11-1) never trailed in the game, forced three key fumbles and held Maysonet to just 83 yards on 19 carries and his solid backup, Coker, to just 56 yards on 12 carries.
The Bobcats will host Sam Houston State (9-3) next weekend in the quarterfinals in a rematch from last year's playoffs. Sam Houston State won, 49-13.
Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee completed 12-of-22 passes for 208 yards and rushed for 73 yards. He hit receiver Tanner Bleskin for a 69-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to give the Bobcats an early lead.
Stony Brook (10-3) fell for the second straight season in the quarterfinals. Quarterback Kyle Essington started the game after missing last week's contest with a right thigh contusion. He completed 10-of-19 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown.
Defensive end Caleb Schreibeis added to his FCS-leading forced fumbles total with his eighth of the season, as he knocked the ball out of Essington's hands to preserve the victory with 45 seconds left in the game.
Montana State's 11 wins are the highest total for the program since 1984.