FCS Second Round Playoff Review

Following a first round bye in the FCS playoffs, the home teams were able to win seven of the eight games this weekend.

James Madison wide receiver Kris Thornton (8) hauls in a pass under pressure from Southeastern Louisiana defensive back Markell Linzer (13) during the first half of an NCAA football second-round playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.
Source: Daniel Lin / DN-R

The highlight of this weekend was ETSU's late rally scoring 14 points in the last 1:28 against Kennesaw St.

Friday Night

Villanova (10-2) 21, Holy Cross (10-3) 16

Holy Cross led the game in many stats categories but they could not stop Villanova from converting all three of their trips to the red zone. Holy Cross failed to convert a fourth down on their first possession of the game and ended the first half with a missed field goal.

Justin Covington rushed for two touchdowns and Jalen Jackson scored on the ground in the third quarter earning Villanova their coach Mark Ferrante his first playoff win in five seasons.

Montana (10-2) 57, Eastern Washington (10-3) 41

Eastern Washington was able to go into the half leading 21-20 but they could not stop Montana from going on a 30-7 run to begin the second half. Montana's defense was able to hold off EWU's Eric Barriere with Justin Ford getting a pick-six giving Justin his ninth of the season.

Saturday Night

ETSU (11-1) 32, Kennesaw State (11-2) 31

Kennesaw State was a 2.5 point favorite coming into this game; but they could not stop the Southern Conference champs from scoring 15 points in the final 1 minute and 28 seconds. Quay Holmes entered the game as the FCS leading rusher and had 87 yards on the ground with one touchdown and 95 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

James Madison (11-1) 59, Southeastern Louisiana (9-4) 20

This game was not the game we thought it would be lighting up the scoreboard left and right. JMU showed off their FCS-best plus-21 turnover margin forcing Southeastern to turn the ball over five times.

North Dakota State (11-1) 38, Southern Illinois (8-5) 7

North Dakota State controlled the matchup with their ground game, carrying the ball 62 times for 389 yards and five touchdowns. This win helped North Dakota State improve to 29-1 in FCS playoff games at home.

Sam Houston (11-0) 49, UIW (10-3) 42

The defending FCS champions had to overcome three different deficits and break a 42-42 tie to secure their 22nd straight win since 2019. UIW's Cameron Ward passed for 481 yards and five touchdowns, thankfully Sam Houston was able to control the clock with 48 carries and 346 rushing yards.

Montana State (10-2) 26, UT Martin (10-3) 7

Montana State was able to put the distraction of their starting quarterback Matthew McKay announcing he was entering the transfer portal with less than 48 hours before the game. Behind their new starter Tommy Mellott, Montana State was able to out gain UT Martin 438 yards to 178 yards.

South Dakota State (10-3) 24, Sacramento State (9-3) 19

The Jackrabbits were the only unseeded road team to win in the second round. Isaiah Davis rushed for two touchdowns in the first half helping South Dakota build a 24-0 first-half lead. South Dakota was able to stop Sacramento State's comeback despite allowing 480 yards of offense.