FCS playoff review

(STATS) - The past six FCS champions have played at home in all their playoff games prior to the championship game at a neutral site.

The possibility of that happening again gained strength Friday night, but with an interesting twist.

Top-seeded Jacksonville State was dominant against Charleston Southern in earning a semifinal-round game at Burgess-Snow Stadium next weekend against either Colgate or Sam Houston State.

With No. 2 seed Illinois State being upset by No. 7 seed Richmond, it's possible North Dakota State won't have to leave the Fargodome, just like it did in winning the last four FCS national titles. The third-seeded Bison would have to beat rival Northern Iowa on Saturday - no easy task - but if they do, they would get to host Richmond in the semifinals.

Richmond needs a UNI win to host its semifinal.




No. 7 seed Richmond (10-3) 39, No. 2 seed Illinois State (10-3) 27

Game Ball: Richmond running back Jacobi Green took over in the second half, scoring three of his four touchdowns. He finished with 137 rushing yards as well as 35 receiving yards on a screen pass that he turned into a touchdown.

Key Stat: The Spiders averaged 21 yards on 19 pass completions, consistently burning Illinois State with downfield passes.

STATS Takeaway: The Spiders scored on their first two possessions and never trailed while they played with poise and confidence. They were exceptional on offense, mixing Kyle Lauletta passes with Green carries (he has gone over 100 rushing yards in seven straight games). Meanwhile, the Spiders defense took away Marshaun Coprich's usual dominance and made the Redbirds one-dimensional with the pass.

Up Next: Richmond will face the Northern Iowa-North Dakota State winner in the semifinals. A UNI win Saturday will allow the Spiders to host the semi. If No. 3-seeded NDSU wins, the Spiders will go to the Fargodome to take on the four-time defending FCS champion.


No. 1 seed Jacksonville State (12-1) 58, No. 8 seed Charleston Southern (10-3) 38

Game Balls: There are enough touches to go around for Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins (195 rushing yards, 286 total yards, three total touchdowns) and running back Troymaine Pope (250 yards, three touchdowns).

Key Stat: Jenkins scored on an 83-yard run and Pope's three TDs averaged 58 yards, allowing the top-seeded Gamecocks to average a whopping 9.6 yards per carry (506 yards on 53 attempts).

STATS Takeaway: Incredibly, the Gamecocks offense features four of the five first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference offensive linemen. They're showing in the postseason how it was deserving. As the Gamecocks scored 45 second-half points, the ability of Jenkins and Pope to get outside on runs overwhelmed Charleston Southern's Blue Swarm defense. The size and speed of Charleston Southern's running backs were impressive this season, but the Big South champion couldn't keep up with the Gamecocks offense.

Up Next: Jacksonville State will host an unseeded team in the semifinals, either Colgate or Sam Houston State. The Gamecocks may be hoping for another shot at Sam Houston State because they lost to the Bearkats in last year's second round.



Northern Iowa (9-4) at No. 3 seed North Dakota State (10-2), noon ET

Colgate (9-4) at Sam Houston State (10-3), noon ET