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2022 FCS Playoffs: Second Round Recap

The second round of the 2022 FCS Playoffs was defined by statement wins for all Top-8 seeds at home. The Big Sky and MVFC each had multiple teams advance to the quarterfinals after victories this weekend. 

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

Holy Cross 35, New Hampshire 19

Weather was an issue early in this matchup as Holy Cross took a 7-5 lead into halftime. The Crusaders exploded for 28 second half points as QB Matthew Sluka accounted for three touchdowns in the second half. Peter Oliver led the Crusaders with 175 rushing yards and two touchdowns as Holy Cross gained over 300-yards on the ground. Holy Cross utilized the rushing attack to dominate the time of possession (36:29 to 23:31), which was key down the stretch of this game.

The Holy Cross defense suffocated the New Hampshire offense as the Wildcats averaged 1.0 yard per carry for a total 22 rushing yards this weekend. The Crusaders also forced three interceptions, including two from DB Walter Reynolds, and forced a crucial fumble at the start of the second half. Liam Anderson led the Crusaders with 6 total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery. 

Up Next: Holy Cross will travel to face South Dakota State (Dec. 10; 11am/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. The Crusaders lost the last matchup 31-3 in the first round of the spring 2021 FCS Playoffs. 

Incarnate Word 41, Furman 38

Incarnate Word was able to overcome multiple turnovers and sixteen penalties to clinch their first quarterfinals appearance in school history. Lindsey Scott Jr. led the Cardinals offense on a 38-second game-winning drive with less than two minutes left that was capped by a 38-yard touchdown reception by Kole Wilson. Lindsey Scott Jr. totaled over 500 yards of offense and threw five touchdowns despite starting the game with a pick-six that put the Cardinals in an early deficit. Darion Chafin led the Cardinals with 166 receiving yards and three touchdowns, including what may be the play of the year early in the first quarter. 

The Cardinals defense forced two interceptions and held the Paladins to less than 180 yards passing. Brandon Richard led Incarnate Word with 10 total tackles, while Kelechi Anyalebechi totaled 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack for the Cardinals defense. The Cardinals were able to hold Dominic Roberto to less than 60 yards on 15 carries, which is one of his worst performances this season. 

Up Next: Incarnate Word will travel to face Sacramento State (Dec. 9; 9:30pm/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. The Hornets have won the previous two matchups between these programs.

William & Mary 54, Gardner-Webb 14

William & Mary exploded for 34 first half points as the Tribe held a 34-0 lead entering halftime. Darius Wilson had one of his best performances of the season with 240 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns. The Tribe still rushed for over 300 yards, which was led by Wilson who averaged over 11.0 yards per carry, but Bronson Yoder still accounted for two rushing touchdowns while rushing for 72 yards against the Runnin’ Bulldogs defense. 

The Tribe defense had one of the most impressive performances of the season as they forced six turnovers, including four interceptions. Tye Freeland led the Tribe with two interceptions, while Marcus Barnes and Alex Washington led the team with 6 total tackles each this weekend. William & Mary was able to score 38 points off of turnovers, which led the Tribe to their biggest FCS Playoff win in school history.

Up Next: William & Mary will travel to face Montana State (Dec. 9; 9:15pm/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first matchup between the two programs. 

South Dakota State 42, Delaware 6

The Jacks showed the FCS word why they were the #1 seed in the FCS Playoffs as they demolished the Blue Hens in impressive fashion this weekend. South Dakota State was led by RB Isaiah Davis who totaled over 104 yards on the ground with two rushing touchdowns. Mark Gronowski had an excellent game as he totaled 131 passing yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 73 yards and another touchdown for the South Dakota State offense.

South Dakota State’s defense has been dominant all season long, but made a statement as they held the Blue Hens scoreless in the second half. The Blue Hens were held to less than 64 yards rushing and less than 1.7 yards per carry, while the secondary held the Blue Hens to a season-low 128 passing yards. LB Saiveon Williamson led the Jacks with 11 total tackles, while Reece Winkelman led a dominant defensive line with 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. 

Up Next: South Dakota State will host Holy Cross (Dec. 10; 11am/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. The Jacks won the last matchup 31-3 in the first round of the spring 2021 FCS Playoffs. 

Montana State 33, Weber State 25

Montana State completed the season sweep of the Wildcats as the Bobcats look to win their way back to Frisco with a chance to win their first national championship since 1984. The Bobcats rushed for 388 yards and averaged over 7.0 yards per carry, which was led by QB Tommy Mellott with 167 rushing yards. Isaiah Ifanse saw his first action of the season and totaled 91 rushing yards on 10 carries this weekend. Kicker Blake Glessner hit five field goals for the Bobcats, which matched his career high. 

The defense was led by Ty Okada with 6 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, and two sacks for the Bobcats. Montana State dominated the time of possession as the Bobcats held the ball for over 38 minutes of the game, which took a toll on the Wildcats defense. The Bobcats held a 33-10 lead with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but two passing touchdowns by Weber State late in the fourth quarter made things interesting late in the game. 

Up Next: Montana State will host William & Mary (Dec. 9; 9:15pm/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first matchup between the two programs. 

Samford 48, Southeastern Louisiana 42

The Bulldogs were able to overcome an injury to QB Michael Hiers as Samford advanced on a 10-yard touchdown run by QB Quincy Crittendon in the first overtime period. Crittendon had an outstanding performance in his relief of Hiers with 341 passing yards, five total touchdowns, and 94 yards rushing. WR Kendall Watson continued his stellar 2022 season with 110 yards receiving and one touchdown. A major difference in the game was the 100% (5-for-5) red zone efficiency for the Bulldogs, while the Lions only scored on five of their eight (62.5%) red zone opportunities. 

The Samford defense did give up over 521 yards of total offense, but made opportunistic plays to seal the win for the Bulldogs this weekend. Hakeem Johnson forced a crucial fumble in overtime at the goal line, which set the Bulldogs up for the game-winning drive. Fred Flavors also intercepted Cephus Johnson III in the redzone late in the second quarter to prevent Southeastern Louisiana from tying the game. 

Up Next: Samford will travel to face North Dakota State (Dec 9; 6pm/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first meeting between the two programs. 

North Dakota State 49, Montana 26

The Bison were able to outscore the Griz 28-6 over the final 25 minutes of the game after a Montana pick-six made the score 21-20 with 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Even with North Dakota State missing Hunter Luepke due to injury, the Bison exploded for over 453 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. Kobe Johnson had a career day with over 200 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, while averaging 17.2 yards per carry for the game. 

North Dakota State forced three turnovers, including two defensive touchdowns on a Cole Wisniewski fumble recovery and Corbin Walker pick-six in the 3rd quarter. Both interceptions in the second half led to points as the Bison extended their lead to 35-20 in the second half. The Bison were able to get pressure on the Griz all game long with six sacks; led by Dylan Hendricks (1.5 Sacks) and Spencer Waege (2 TFLs; 1 Sack).

Up Next: North Dakota State will host Samford (Dec. 9; 6pm/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. It will be the first matchup between the two programs. 

Sacramento State 38, Richmond 31

The question about whether Sacramento State can throw the ball was answered this weekend as the Hornets won their first FCS Playoff game in school history. The Hornets faced a 21-10 deficit early in the second quarter, but outscorted Richmond 28-10 down the stretch behind 400 passing yards from Jake Dunniway and Asher O’Hara. Sacramento State was held under 100 rushing yards for the first time this season. Marshel Martin exploded for 148 receiving yards and two tocuhdowns, while Pierre Williams also topped the 100-yard mark for the Hornets.

Sacramento State played inspired defense down the stretch as they held Richmond to 216 yards of total offense and only 10 second half points. Jeremy Harris had a huge game for the defense with 7 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, one sack, and one forced fumble. Cameron Broussard sealed the game with his interception of Reece Udinski with less than two minutes left in the game. 

Up Next: Sacramento State will host Incarnate Word (Dec. 9; 9:30pm/CT) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. The Hornets have won the previous two matchups between these programs.

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