It looks like we’re destined to have a rematch of James Madison and North Dakota State, but this time it will be for all the marbles. The Dukes and the Bison were the two most impressive teams last week and neither one was seriously tested.
The two schools got good news in terms of their potential semifinal match-ups too. No. 3 Jacksonville State and No. 4 Central Arkansas both lost in their first games and that should make their path to Frisco a little bit easier.
No. 1 James Madison 26, Stony Brook 7
You have to feel bad for Joe Carbone. It’s hard for any quarterback to have success against the Dukes’ swarming secondary and he just couldn’t get anything going through the air. Carbone threw five interceptions and that was all she wrote for the Seawolves chances of pulling off the upset.
QB Bryan Schor was solid for James Madison in the win. That’s important as the running game didn’t have much success against Stony Brook’s front seven and teams may force Schor to beat them throughout the playoffs.
No. 2 North Dakota State 38, San Diego 3
This game was never close as the Bison were up 38-0 at the end of the third quarter and the Toreros only avoided a shutout by kicking a 48-yard field goal in the fourth to get on the board.
North Dakota State was able to pound the ball with Bruce Anderson and Ty Brooks and those two combined to average eight yards per carry. The Bison are now 20-1 all-time in the FargoDome in the playoffs.
Kennesaw State 17, No. 3 Jacksonville State 7
The Owls totally shut down Roc Thomas in this one and the Gamecocks looked helpless on offense with their star running back grounded. Bryant Horn was unable to have much success through the air against Bryson Armstrong and the Kennesaw State secondary.
It was the third time in four years that the Gamecocks were one and done in the postseason as the No. 3 seed.
New Hampshire 21, No. 4 Central Arkansas 15
Turnovers were the difference in this one as the Wildcats pulled off the upset despite being doubled up in terms of total yardage by the Bears. Central Arkansas turned it over four times in the loss and couldn’t overcome those mistakes in the end.
New Hampshire has now had two stalwart defensive efforts, but you get the feeling its luck might be about to run out.
No. 5 South Dakota State 37, Northern Iowa 22
The Jackrabbits left little doubt they were the better team in this rematch of a regular season game. Northern Iowa knocked off South Dakota State in the regular season by holding Taryn Christion in check, but Christion got the last laugh. He was responsible for all four Jackrabbits’ touchdowns in the win.
No. 6 Sam Houston State 54, South Dakota 42
If you blinked, you were sure to miss a score in this shootout. Chris Streveler and Jeremiah Briscoe each threw for over 500 yards here, but the Bearkats got a big stop near the end of the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Give credit to the Coyotes for coming back. They were down 41-14 at halftime, but outscored the Bearkats 28-3 to cut the deficit to two points. Briscoe was too much in the end, but the performance might have clinched the Walter Payton Award for Streveler.
No. 7 Wofford 28, Furman 10
This was the Wofford we were expecting to see all season long. The Terriers had squeaked by almost all of their opponents, but clicked in all the right areas against the Paladins on Saturday. Wofford’s triple option was unstoppable and Furman was unable to match the Terriers’ success with the ground game.
Weber State 30, No. 8 Southern Utah 13
I called this upset from the very beginning. A healthy Stefan Cantwell meant all the difference in this rematch as the Wildcats were able to move the ball on a very good Thunderbirds defense.
Cantwell accounted for over 400 yards and three scores in this one and Southern Utah had no answer. Now, Weber State must travel cross-country and try to keep from being James Madison’s 25th straight win.