To no one’s surprise, James Madison and North Dakota State had no problem with their first opponents of the 2017 FCS playoffs. However, things didn’t go so well for No. 3 Jacksonville State and No. 4 Central Arkansas.
Both schools were upset after their offenses struggled, and now the path for the Dukes and the Bison to get to Frisco is even easier.
James Madison 26, Stony Brook 7
The Dukes did what they have done all year. James Madison completely shut down its opponent’s passing game and cruised to an easy win over an outmatched Stony Brook team. There’s no denying that this has been the best secondary in the country for two years now and it picked off Joe Carbone five times in this game. Bryan Schor was solid for the Dukes and effectively moved the ball through the air. That was needed because James Madison only mustered 49 rushing yards.
North Dakota State 38, San Diego 3
The Toreros just couldn’t move the ball against the Bison all game. A week after carving up Northern Arizona’s defense, San Diego managed a scant 174 total yards against North Dakota State in the FargoDome. Meanwhile, the Bison rolled up over 300 yards on the ground and Easton Stick hit some big plays through the air to give North Dakota State an easy win.
Kennesaw State 17, Jacksonville State 7
Plank continues to be the happiest mascot in college football. The Owls smothered the Gamecocks offense, limiting the unit to just 187 yards. Jacksonville State didn’t really have any success through the air and it quickly became clear that if Kennesaw State could stop Auburn transfer Roc Thomas, it would win the game. Bryson Armstrong had another big day on defense for the Owls and the offense was able to successfully move the chains and grind out the clock in the second half.
New Hampshire 21, Central Arkansas 15
This was the biggest surprise of the second round. The Wildcats managed to pull off the upset despite being doubled up in terms of total yardage by the Bears. Central Arkansas turned the ball over four times and quarterback Hayden Hildebrand was sacked five times in the stunning upset. The Bears didn’t have much trouble moving the ball against this defense, getting the ball into New Hampshire territory six times, but those miscues proved costly.
South Dakota State 37, Northern Iowa 22
The Jackrabbits avenged their loss to the Panthers from earlier in the season as Taryn Christion led South Dakota State into enemy territory on all but two of the team’s possessions. Christion has had an up and down season, but he came through when the team needed him the most. Now, the Jackrabbits are rewarded with a home game following New Hampshire’s upset win over Central Arkansas, and they should be heavily favored.
Sam Houston State 54, South Dakota 42
This game had all the makings of a shootout, and boy did it deliver. Both Chris Streveler and Jeremiah Briscoe ended up with over 500 yards through the air, but Sam Houston State got a few more stops at the end of the day to get the win. South Dakota almost gave us what would have been the comeback of the season. The Coyotes fell behind 41-14 at the half but cut the gap to 44-42 with 10 minutes to go. Briscoe proved to be too much on the next two drives, though, and a Streveler interception at Sam Houston State’s 17 sealed this one.
Wofford 28, Furman 10
The Terriers have had some issues moving the ball with the triple option this season, but they had no problem rolling up the yards on the Paladins defense in this one. Wofford was 9-of-14 on third down to consistently move the chains, keeping the ball out of the hands of Furman’s explosive offense. This was perhaps the best performance all year for Wofford’s defense, as the Terriers held the Paladins to just 1.9 yards per carry.
Weber State 30, Southern Utah 13
A healthy Stefan Cantwell made all the difference. He was responsible for over 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns in Weber State’s upset over Southern Utah. The Wildcats defense came up big, holding the Thunderbirds to just 219 total yards. Taron Johnson had a much better game after struggling to stop Jaelon Acklin last week, but the Wildcats have a tough test when they go on the road to face James Madison in the quarterfinals.