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FCS First Round Recap

Northern Arizona suffered a stunning upset at the hands of San Diego, the turnover plank at Kennesaw State moves on, and a goal-line stand ends Nicholls State’s season.

NCAA Football: Northern Arizona at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the FCS Playoffs gave us some great finishes and a shocking upset. While Cinderellas like Central Connecticut State, Lehigh, and Monmouth were exposed, San Diego flourished and scored an impressive victory. Let’s take a look at some of the other action from the first week of the FCS postseason.

Furman 28, Elon 27

Neither team ever had more than a one possession lead in this back and forth game, but Elon’s failure to convert the extra point on its last touchdown cost the Phoenix dearly. This game shouldn’t have been as close as the score indicated though.

All of Furman’s touchdown drives went at least 58 yards, while Elon received the ball inside the Paladins’ 30 twice because of fumbles. Furman also had a chance to end it late. but P.J. Blazejowski threw a pick into the end zone on 2nd and Goal from Elon’s six to give the Phoenix one last shot.

Kennesaw State 28, Samford 17

The Owls used their ground game to get past Samford in a rematch of an earlier season matchup. Devlin Hodges played very well in a losing effort, but he couldn’t do enough to top a Kennesaw State offense that ran for 6.8 yards per carry.

It’s been a banner year for Kennesaw State. This program has come a long way in three years and now has an FCS playoff win to its name. The Owls have a tough one against Jacksonville State next week, but even if they drop that one you have to consider this a successful season for the Big South champions.

New Hampshire 14, Central Connecticut State 0

Four turnovers were the key to the Wildcats blanking the Blue Devils. Trevor Knight was able to move the ball very well against this defense, while the balanced CCSU attack wasn’t able to get anything done. The Blue Devils finished with less than 250 yards of offense and the only reason the margin of victory wasn’t bigger is because the Wildcats missed three field goals.

Stony Brook 59, Lehigh 29

Lehigh’s atrocious run defense was not able to stop Stony Brook all game long and that led to an easy victory for the Seawolves. Stony Brook ended up running for 362 yards and six touchdowns on the afternoon and the Mountain Hawks powerful offense just couldn’t keep pace. The Seawolves finished the day with 630 total yards on just 74 plays.

South Dakota 38, Nicholls State 31

Chris Streveler was as good as advertised, but the Coyotes defense was porous and gave the Colonels a chance to win. Nicholls State moved the ball well all game, but committed too many turnovers and that was just too much to overcome. South Dakota now has to face Sam Houston State in the Second Round and the total in that game might be 80.

Weber State 21, Western Illinois 19

The Wildcats defense came up big when it mattered most and shut down everyone not named Jaelon Acklin. Acklin was great in a losing effort, bringing down 10 passes for 116 yards. However, the rest of the team had a combined 202 yards of offense and that wasn’t enough to knock off Weber State. Tight end Andrew Vollert had a big day for the Wildcats, picking up 112 yards and a touchdown.

Northern Iowa 46, Monmouth 7

Eli Dunne was fantastic for the Panthers in this one, averaging 10 yards per pass and throwing for four touchdowns in a rout. Northern Iowa’s defense was fantastic, holding Monmouth to just 203 total yards, and forced four turnovers. This was the most dominating performance of the week and proved that Monmouth probably should not have gotten an at-large spot.

San Diego 41, Northern Arizona 10

That same sentiment goes for the Lumberjacks. Northern Arizona was blitzed at home by a San Diego team that had dominated the Pioneer League, but lost to both UC Davis and Princeton by double digits. Case Cookus was awful in the loss, while San Diego had a very balanced performance on offense to pick up the win.