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2022 FCS Playoffs: First Round Recap

The 2022 FCS Playoffs kicked off this weekend and offensive fireworks defined the first round this season. Five of the eight games this weekend saw teams score over 40 points, while three matchups had a team top the 50-point mark. The Big Sky and CAA each had multiple teams advance to the second round after victories this weekend. 

We recap all the first round action from the FCS Playoffs below. 

Delaware 56, Saint Francis (PA) 17

The Blue Hens left no doubt this weekend as they stormed out to a 35-3 lead early in the third quarter against Saint Francis. Delaware rolled up 586 yards of total offense and averaged 8.5 yards per play as the Blue Hens set a school record for the most points scored in an FCS Playoffs game. Kyron Cumby led the Blue Hens with 111 yards rushing on only 10 carries, while Nolan Henderson totaled five touchdowns and 266 passing yards this weekend. 

The defense had a dominant performance as the Blue Hens held Saint Francis to less than 260 total yards in this matchup. Johnny Buchanan led the team with 15 total tackles, while Brandon Dennis scored a defensive touchdown after Josh Moran forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter. The Blue Hens had three sacks and held Saint Francis to less than 2.5 yards per carry this weekend. 

Up Next: Delaware will travel to face #1 South Dakota State (Dec. 3; 2pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. The Jackrabbits won the last matchup between these programs in the spring 2021 semifinals. 

New Hampshire 52, Fordham 42

New Hampshire never trailed in this matchup as the Wildcats exploded for 684 yards of total offense led by Dylan Laube who totaled four touchdowns for the Wildcats. Laube set the school record for total offense this weekend after his 424-yard performance this weekend. Max Brosmer outdueled Tim DeMorat as Brosmer threw for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns including the 87-yard touchdown to Dylan Laube to open the game. 

The Wildcats forced three turnovers, including two interceptions from Randall Harris and Brendan Tighe that helped seal the Wildcats victory against Fordham. Josiah Silver led the Wildcats with 7 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, and forced a key fumble for the New Hampshire defense on Fordham’s first drive inside in the redzone. 

Up Next: New Hampshire will travel to face #8 Holy Cross (Dec. 3; 11am/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Holy Cross won the last matchup between these two programs in 2019. 

Gardner-Webb 52, Eastern Kentucky 41

Gardner-Webb scored 21 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter as the Runnin’ Bulldogs secured the first FCS Playoff win in school history. The rushing attack was lethal for the Gardner-Webb offense as Runnin’ Bulldogs lived up to their name with 405 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns this weekend. Narii Gaither led the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 245 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging 8.8 yards per carry. 

Bailey Fisher led the offensive explosion after halftime with three of his four total touchdowns coming in the 3rd quarter. Jamari Brown had a big game for the Runnin’ Bulldogs defense with a crucial interception in the endzone that ended any comeback hopes for the Colonels in this matchup. Ty French made his impact felt with 7 total tackles and 1.5 sacks this weekend. 

Up Next: Gardner-Webb will travel to face #5 William & Mary (Dec. 3; 1pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first matchup between the two programs. 

Weber State 38, North Dakota 31

Weber State scored 24 unanswered points to start the game behind an explosive rushing attack and held a 31-7 lead late in the first half. North Dakota scored 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter, but the Weber State defense was able to make a clutch stop with under two minutes left in the game to secure the win. Eddie Heckard led the Wildcats with 9 total tackles and Winston Reid made a huge impact with 7 total tackles and 1 sack this weekend. 

The Wildcats totaled over 330 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns this weekend. Josh Davis led the Wildcats with 129 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, while Damon Bankston also rushed for over 120 yards and had a 30-yard touchdown to extend the Wildcat lead to 17-points early in the second quarter. With the win this weekend, Weber State reached the 10-win mark for only the 6th time in program history. 

Up Next: Weber State will travel to face #4 Montana State (Dec. 3; 2pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Montana State beat Weber State 43-38 in a Week 8 matchup this season. 

Richmond 41, Davidson 0

The Spiders built a 27-0 halftime lead and never looked back as the Spiders were dominant throughout this matchup. This was the first time in school history that Richmond held an opponent scoreless in the FCS Playoffs. The Richmond defense held Davidson to 226 yards of total offense and only 10 first downs this weekend. Tristan Wheeler led the Spiders with 8 total tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss, while Marlem Louis totaled 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack for the Spiders. 

Reece Udinski led the Spiders offense with 246 passing yards and 2 touchdowns as Richmond racked up over 482 yards of total offense against the Wildcats defense. Udinski also set a season-high mark for completion percentage (90.3%) as he completed 28 of his 31 attempts on the day. Milan Howard and Aaron Dykes led the Richmond rushing attack as they combined for 143 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. 

Up Next: Richmond will travel to face #2 Sacramento State (Dec. 3; 4pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first matchup between the two programs. 

Furman 31, Elon 6

Furman flexed their muscle this weekend as the Paladins held Elon out of the endzone in this first round matchup. The Paladins only surrendered 77 rushing yards and held the Phoenix offense to less than 3.0 yards per carry. The Furman defensive front was dominant throughout the game as Xavier Stephens led the unit with 2.5 sacks this weekend. Elon QB Matthew McKay was sacked four times and the Paladins forced two fumbles that completely changed the momentum of this matchup. 

The Paladins offense found major success on the ground as they racked up over 250 yards rushing against the Phoenix defense. Tyler Huff continued being a playmaker as he put up over 230 yards of total offense and 2 touchdowns. Dominic Roberto rushed for 98 yards this weekend, which moved him into the Top-12 in rushing yards in school history. 

Up Next: Furman will travel to face #7 Incarnate Word (Dec. 3; 1pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first matchup between the two programs. 

Southeastern Louisiana 45, Idaho 42

Idaho kicker Ricardo Chavez missed a 39-yard field goal with less than 15 seconds remaining as Southeastern Louisiana secured their second straight first round win. The Lions were able to overcome a 21-10 deficit late in the first half as the Lions scored 21 unanswered points from the end of the 2nd quarter to the start of the fourth quarter. Zy Alexander intercepted Gevani McCoy with less than five minutes left in the game and scored the final touchdown for the Lions. Donniel Ward-Magee had a crucial third quarter interception in the end zone to prevent the Vandals from taking the lead. 

Cephus Johnson III and Carlos Washington Jr. both scored two rushing touchdowns in this matchup, while Jessie Britt led the Lions this weekend with 106 yards rushing on 13 carries. The Lions rushed for 224 yards against the Vandals and totaled four touchdowns on the ground as they controlled the time of possession throughout the game. 

Up Next: Southeastern Louisiana will travel to face #6 Samford (Dec. 3; 2pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. The Lions won the most recent matchup between the two programs in 2015. 

Montana 34, Southeast Missouri 24

Montana faced a 24-3 deficit early in the 3rd quarter, but the Griz scored 31 unanswered points to secure their spot in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Special teams made all the difference as Malik Flowers sparked the comeback with an 80-yard kickoff return in the 3rd quarter and Junior Bergen tied the game at the end of the 3rd quarter with a 58-yard punt return. 

Robby Hauck and Braxton Hill combined for 29 total tackles as the Griz held Southeast Missouri scoreless for the final 23 minutes of the game. Hauck also became the all-time leading tackler in Big Sky Conference history after his 15-tackle performance. Lucas Johnson rebounded from a shaky first half with two crucial passing touchdowns in the second half as the graduate transfer topped the 300-yard mark for the Griz offense. 

Up Next: Montana will travel to face #3 North Dakota State (Dec. 3; 2:30pm/CT) in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. The Bison won the most recent matchup in the second round of the playoffs in 2015. 

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