Missoula, MT (SportsNetwork.com) - All the talk about Coastal Carolina not being able to handle the single-digits temperatures at the University of Montana ...
It turns out the Chanticleers were red hot in the second round of the FCS playoffs Saturday.
Quarterback Alex Ross threw for three first-half touchdowns and had 325 total yards, and Coastal Carolina built a three-touchdown halftime lead en route to a 42-35 victory over eighth-seeded Montana at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
The Chanticleers (12-2), out of the Big South Conference, will next play at top-seeded North Dakota State (12-0) in the quarterfinals next weekend.
Saturday's first meeting between Coastal Carolina and Montana represented the first time the Chanticleers played outside the Eastern Time Zone. They were met by wind chills near zero degrees, about 50 degrees colder than what was being enjoyed back on their campus in Conway, S.C.
But coach Joe Moglia's Chanticleers had a lot to enjoy while they reversed a 14-7 deficit with four unanswered touchdowns over the final 17 minutes of the first half, building a 35-14 halftime advantage. Ross threw a pair of touchdowns to Niccolo Mastromatteo during the run.
Lorenzo Taliaferro scored on his second touchdown run - a 51-yarder - to push the Chanticleers' lead to 42-21 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.
Montana closed within 42-35 on a pair of Jordan Johnson touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, but Coastal Carolina ran out the final 5:01.
Ross opened Coastal Carolina's scoring with an 86-yard touchdown bomb to DeMario Bennett, which answered Montana's game-opening scoring drive capped by Travon Van's 1-yard run.
Ross, the Big South leader in passing yards and total offense, was 16-for-21 for 202 yards and had 123 yards on 21 carries. Taliaferro added 104 yards on 16 carries.
Montana (10-3) had entered the game as the Big Sky Conference leader in scoring defense at 21.3 points per game, but that number was doubled. The Grizzlies relied on their passing game in the second half and Johnson finished with 388 passing yards and four touchdowns and one interception.
The Grizzlies appeared in the FCS playoffs for the 22nd season, although their NCAA violations during the 2011 season have put their official total at 21.
No. 7 seed Towson (11-2) 48, Fordham (12-2) 28
Towson, MD - Towson junior running back Terrance West rushed for three touchdowns and senior quarterback Peter Athens threw for three as the Tigers eliminated Fordham in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
West rushed for 76 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries, while Athens completed 13-of-15 pass attempts for 301 yards and three touchdowns, all to different receivers.
Towson (11-2), the No. 7 seed out of CAA Football, moves on to the quarterfinal round at second-seeded Eastern Illinois (12-1) next weekend.
It's the first time Towson has advanced to the FCS quarterfinal round in the program's second playoff appearance. The Tigers advanced to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals in 1986 and lost to Central State, 31-0.
The score was tied 21-21 at halftime, but Towson scored the first four touchdowns in the second half to pull away from Fordham (12-2) out of the Patriot League.
Towson freshman back Darius Victor led the Tigers with 105 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. West raised his FCS-leading total of touchdowns to 34 this season.
Fordham junior quarterback Michael Nebrich threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns. The Tigers defense held the Fordham rushing attack to just one yard. Senior running back Carlton Koonce was the Rams' leading rusher, gaining 26 yards on 12 carries.
New Hampshire (9-4) 41, No. 5 seed Maine (10-3) 27
Orono, ME - New Hampshire quarterback Sean Goldrich threw for three touchdowns, leading the Wildcats to an FCS second-round playoff upset over fifth-seeded Maine.
UNH senior running back Chris Setian rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal the win.
After beating CAA Football champion Maine for the second time in 15 days, the Wildcats (9-4) advanced to play at No. 6 seed Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
It is the seventh time in program history New Hampshire has appeared in the quarterfinals, but no Wildcats team has ever advanced to the semis.
Two of Goldrich's three passing scores went to wideout Justin Mello, who finished the game with 90 yards on five receptions. Junior R.J. Harris led the team with six catches for 85 yards.
Setian carried the ball 10 times for 54 yards and two scores. Nico Steriti led the team in rushing with 74 yards on 14 carries.
It was Maine's first playoff appearance since 2011, and the program's first- ever home playoff game. Black Bears coach Jack Cosgrove is now 6-15 all-time against New Hampshire. The Wildcats are the only FCS program to beat Maine this season - once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.
The Black Bears became the first seeded team to fall in the playoffs.
Black Bears senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski was 21-of-39 passing for 229 yards, throwing for two touchdowns and two interceptions.
No. 2 seed Eastern Illinois (12-1) 51, Tennessee State (10-4) 10
Charleston, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Shepard Little stole the show, leading the No. 2- seeded Panthers to a rout of Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee State in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
Garoppolo completed 17-of-26 passes for 240 yards, three first-half touchdowns and an interception, while Little gained 184 yards and scored two touchdowns on 12 carries. Both of Little's touchdowns were second-half scores.
The Panthers (12-1), who haven't lost to an FCS squad this season, will host seventh-seeded Towson (11-2) next weekend in the quarterfinal round. Towson beat Fordham, 48-28, Saturday.
Eastern Illinois, with the No. 1 scoring offense in the FCS, ran out to a 44-0 lead in the third quarter before Tennessee State running back Tim Broughton scored from 7 yards out on a run.
In the second quarter, Panthers defensive specialist Leon Holderhead blocked a Tennessee State punt, and teammate Anthony Goodman scooped the ball up and returned it five yards for a touchdown. That gave Eastern Illinois a 30-0 advantage.
Eastern Illinois outgained the Tigers offensively, racking up 553 total offensive yards to Tennessee State's 287. The Tigers lost three fumbles.
Panthers running back Taylor Duncan carried the most times, gaining 79 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
No. 1 seed North Dakota State (12-0) 38, Furman (8-6) 7
Fargo, ND - North Dakota State began its quest for a third straight FCS national championship with a second-round drubbing of Furman at the Fargodome.
North Dakota State held a slim 10-7 halftime lead before it opened the floodgates in the second half. The Bison scored four second-half touchdowns and shut out the Paladins the rest of the way to remain perfect on the season and advance to the quarterfinals yet again.
North Dakota State (12-0), the top overall seed out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, will host Coastal Carolina next weekend. Coastal Carolina (12-2) advanced with a second-round upset over eighth-seeded Montana on Saturday.
Bison quarterback Brock Jensen completed 15-of-25 pass attempts for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with 86 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Sam Ojuri carried the ball 15 times for 75 yards and a touchdown in the win.
Senior cornerback Marcus Williams helped the Bison pad the lead with a third- quarter interception of Furman quarterback Reese Hannon. Williams picked off Hannon at the North Dakota State 39-yard line and returned the ball 61 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bison a 31-7 lead with 5:33 remaining in the third period.
Bison receiver Zach Vraa was the game's leading receiver. The junior hauled in five receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown.
North Dakota State is now 4-0 all-time against Southern Conference teams in the playoffs. The Bison also improved to a perfect 8-0 at home in the program's FCS playoff history.
Jensen improved on his all-time FCS win total as a quarterback. The senior has 45 career wins.
Furman had won six of its previous seven games. The Paladins ended the season with an 8-6 record.
No. 3 seed Eastern Washington (11-2) 41, South Dakota State (9-5) 17
Cheney, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Vernon Adams threw three of his five touchdown passes in the second half as No. 3 seed Eastern Washington pulled away from South Dakota State for a victory in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
EWU (11-2) advanced to host Jacksonville State (11-3) in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime before the Eagles took command behind Adams, the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year and a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the FCS player of the year.
The redshirt sophomore threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Zach Wimberly with 8:40 left in the third quarter to give EWU a 21-14 lead. Following a botched South Dakota State punt, Adams connected on a 15-yard TD pass to Cooper Kupp at the 4:46 mark to make it 27-14.
Justin Syrovatka cut into South Dakota State's deficit with a 27-yard field goal late in the third quarter, but Adams' 69-yard touchdown pass to Cory Mitchell on the second play of the fourth quarter pushed EWU's lead to 34-17.
Adams finished 12-for-22 for 217 yards. He has thrown for a Big Sky Conference- record 51 touchdowns this season.
Kupp had four receptions and two touchdowns for 90 yards. He surpassed Randy Moss' national freshman record with 20 touchdown receptions and tied the receptions mark with 81.
Quincy Forte rushed for 202 yards and a 20-yard touchdown on 21 carries.
South Dakota State junior Zach Zenner, the FCS leader in rushing yards, finished with 71 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and went over 2,000 yards for the second straight season. He finished the season with 2,015 yards.
Quarterback Austin Sumner was 26-for-40 for 315 yards and one touchdown.
Eastern Washington, the 2010 FCS national champion, is 6-0 at home this season and has won nine straight games. South Dakota State's five-game winning streak ended in the first all-time meeting between the two programs.
Jacksonville State (11-3) 31, No. 6 seed McNeese State (10-3) 10
Lake Charles, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jacksonville State became the second Ohio Valley Conference team to advance to the FCS quarterfinals next weekend with an upset win over No. 6 seed McNeese State.
The Gamecocks (11-3) have now won two playoff games in a row and will travel to third-seeded Eastern Washington (11-2) for a national quarterfinal next weekend in Cheney.
Jacksonville State led the Cowboys 21-0 at halftime and didn't allow McNeese to get much going in the second half in the runaway win.
Senior running back DaMarcus James led the way for the Gamecocks, gaining 124 yards and with three touchdowns on the ground. James set the school's single- season rushing record with 1,428 yards, and has 28 touchdowns this season.
It's the first time Jacksonville State has beaten McNeese State, and the first time in the program's history it has advanced to the FCS quarterfinal round.
The Jacksonville State defense made things extremely difficult for Cowboys quarterback Cody Stroud, who was sacked 11 times in the contest. Prior to this game, the Cowboys offensive line has only given up 14 sacks all season.
The OVC's four playoff wins already mark a conference high in a single postseason. Both Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois will vie next week for a chance at a trip to the national semifinals. Eastern Illinois hosts Towson (11-2).
No. 4 seed Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) 30, Sam Houston State (9-5) 29
Hammond, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Bryan Bennett's 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley with 36 seconds left lifted Southeastern Louisiana past Sam Houston State in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
After winning their first-ever FCS playoff game, the sixth-seeded Lions (11-2) will host New Hampshire (9-4) in a national quarterfinal next weekend.
Saturday night's game was a meeting of two Southland Conference programs, and, just like the regular season, SELU won at home. But the result couldn't just be explained in the fact the conference champions are 7-0 at home this season and Sam Houston finished the year 0-5 on the road.
That's because Sam Houston, which had reached the last two national championship games, had a chance to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter and pull an upset. But SELU forced a punt and took possession of the ball down with 1:29 left, still needing to go 85 yards for a touchdown with a 29-24 deficit.
Bennett, the Southland player of the year, completed six passes on the quick- strike, six-play drive. A 25-yard completion to Marquis Fruge' at the Sam Houston 1 set up the TD pass to a wide-open Smiley on the ensuing play.
A two-point conversion failed, but the SELU defense held off a final Sam Houston possession.
Bennett, a transfer from the University of Oregon, completed 19-of-33 pass attempts for 286 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed for 83 yards and his 15th touchdown on 19 carries.
Sam Houston jumped to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter, getting one of its touchdowns on DeAntry Loche's 12-yard return of an interception thrown by Bennett.
But the Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, going ahead 24-21 on Bennett's 16-yard touchdown pass to Fruge' with 32 seconds left in the first half.
Sam Houston linebacker Eric Fielo sacked Bennett in the SELU end zone for a safety to pull the Bearkats within 24-23 midway through the third quarter.
The Bearkats then took the lead in the fourth quarter on quarterback Brian Bell's 2-yard keeper, which put them ahead 29-24 at the 10:58 mark.
The visitors had a balanced effort in gaining 287 yards on the ground. Timothy Flanders led the way with 82 yards on 21 carries, including his 15th touchdown of the season.