The first round of this year’s FCS playoffs concluded Saturday, confirming the second-round lineup. After the first weekend, the CAA has two teams remaining: Albany and JMU.
Monmouth 44, Holy Cross 27
The Hawks earned the program’s first FCS playoff victory after a convincing performance against Holy Cross. Junior running back Pete Guerriero ran for 220 yards and three touchdowns, which helped Monmouth build a 37-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Redshirt senior quarterback Kenji Bahar added 249 passing yards and a touchdown.
What’s next: Monmouth will travel to Harrisonburg to face No. 2 seed JMU. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Southeastern Louisiana 45, Villanova 44
In the highest scoring affair in the first round of the playoffs, a CAA member fell at the hands of Southeastern Louisiana. Villanova, despite holding a 17-point lead at halftime, fell to the Lions on the back of a wild fourth quarter.
Southeastern Louisiana senior quarterback Chason Virgil tossed a touchdown with 6:36 left in the game to tie it at 38. Villanova drove down the field and scored, but the Wildcats missed the extra point. Virgil led the Lions on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that completed the comeback.
What’s next: Southeastern Louisiana will play No. 6 Montana on Saturday. Kickoff in Bozeman, Montana, is at 3 p.m.
Albany 42, Central Connecticut 14
While one CAA member fell, another thrived. Albany took care of business against Central Connecticut behind a big performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler. Undercuffler threw a program-record six touchdowns, adding 304 passing yards and only throwing one interception. Two receivers — seniors Jerah Reeves and Juwan Green — had over 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns.
What’s next: The Great Danes head west to play No. 5 Montana State. Kickoff at Bobcat Stadium is at 3 p.m.
Austin Peay 42, Furman 6
Three different players scored rushing touchdowns for Austin Peay on Saturday ahead of the Governors’ 42-6 win over Furman. The game was interrupted multiple times due to weather, but senior quarterback JaVaughn Craig tossed three touchdowns led Austin Peay to the program’s first playoff win in its first appearance.
What’s next: Austin Peay will try to topple fourth-seeded Sacramento State on Saturday. Kickoff is at 9 p.m.
Illinois State 24, Southeast Missouri State 6
Southeast Missouri State couldn’t get any momentum going and had no answer for the Redbirds’ rushing attack. ISU senior running back James Robinson ran for 297 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.2 yards per carry. The Redhawks went 2-for-13 on third down, helping Illinois State’s defense get off the field quickly.
What’s next: ISU takes on No. 8 Central Arkansas. Kickoff in Conway, Arkansas, is at 3 p.m.
Northern Iowa 17, San Diego 3
In a defensive battle that saw both offenses struggle, Northern Iowa used a 10-point fourth quarter to seal a first-round victory over San Diego. The Panthers’ defense forced three interceptions — one of which was returned for a touchdown on the first drive of the game and another in the fourth quarter — and one fumble to stifle the Toreros’ season.
What’s next: Northern Iowa will face fellow Missouri Valley Football Conference member South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits won the regular-season battle 38-7 and will host the Panthers once again. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.
Nicholls 24, North Dakota 6
Nicholls used a Week 12 win over Southeastern Louisiana to get into the playoffs and now it keeps its season going after a statement win over North Dakota. Senior quarterback Chase Fourcade tossed 165 yards and a touchdown and also added another touchdown on the ground. Sophomore running back Julien Gums had 172 yards on 16 carries to help the Colonels earn their third playoff win in school history.
What’s next: Nicholls now has the chance to play top-seeded North Dakota State in the Fargodome. Kickoff in Fargo, North Dakota, is at 3:30 p.m.
Kennesaw State 28, Wofford 21
Junior quarterback Tommy Bryant went down for Kennesaw State, meaning sophomore quarterback Jonathan Murphy would be called on. Murphy ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-sealing 61-yard scamper that put Wofford down by two scores.
What’s next: The Owls head to Utah to face No. 3 Weber State. Kickoff in Ogden is at set for 3 p.m.
Contact Noah Ziegler at email@example.com. For more football coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.