With the second round of the FCS Playoffs now complete, we give you links to all our recaps and our writers’ impression of the games.
James Madison 66, Monmouth 21
Chuck: I thought Monmouth would be able to score points on JMU, but I was stunned with the ease the Dukes had scoring on the Hawks. It’s hard to understate when the game was tied at 21 how it felt like it was going to be a dogfight. Like I thought, though, special teams played a huge part, especially on the punt block/kick block units.
Kent: Monmouth played a whale of a game in the first 20 minutes of the game. They exposed some things on the Dukes defense that stronger teams down the line might be able to exploit. Northern Iowa is up next as the competition gets tougher this week for JMU.
Jamie: Sitting in the stands, even as Monmouth made it 21-21 I was not overly worried. JMU had too many athletes and just needed to find a rhythm. That is exactly what they did rattling off 45 straight points to close the game and holding Monmouth to 88 total yards the rest of the way.
Ray: Mistakes, unfortunately, are a part of life and we all make some. Me, I take them to a new level. There was that time I got married and there was that time last week I really thought Monmouth was ready to pull the upset. Woe be me again.
Northern Iowa 13, South Dakota State 10
Chuck: This ended up being the best game of the second round, coming down to, as I predicted, the kicking game. I thought it was gong to be a low-scoring game going down to the wire, and it was.
Kent: UNI has used its defense to win two playoff games so far. It has had some timely offense for a couple drives. This will have to vastly improve this week against James Madison.
Jamie: I expected a fairly low scoring defensive bout and thats what we got. UNI made a couple more plays and earned the trip to James Madison.
Ray: A typical Missouri Valley playoff dogfight went the way I thought, as the magic SDSU has been riding came to an end.
Montana State 47, Albany 21
Chuck: Juwan Green started the game with a highlight-reel catch to put the Great Danes up 7-0, but then the Bobcats defenders really started to physically overwhelm Albany, like a machine scoring the next 47 points making it a laugher. It was hard to picture Albany winning at Montana State, but it was a surprise to me that it ended up so lopsided. It will be exciting to see Albany next year after their great run this season.
Kent: Montana State was a team that was ousted in the second round last year. With a seed and home field in this one, they used a balanced attack to win this game easily over Albany. And luck has it with Sacramento State losing, they get another home game this week against Austin Peay. Sometimes, a team needs a bit of luck to get to Frisco, and so far, the Bobcats are getting it.
Jamie: I thought Albany would make a bit of a game out of this one. But Montana State put on a clinic with 47 unanswered points. If the Bobcats can sustain the offensive balance they showed, they are going to be a tough team for anyone to beat, NDSU and JMU included.
Ray: Like everyone else, I figured on the Bobcats prevailing, what I did not expect was such a large output. Austin Peay will be a bigger challenge for Montana State, surely.
Weber State 26, Kennesaw State 20
Chuck: I thought Weber State’s slow start almost was going to doom them to the upset loss, but the Wildcats righted the ship in the second half to win fairly comfortably, even though the game was in doubt to the end. I can’t shake the feeling that this was Weber’s “oops game” and we could be in for a very different performance by this team on Friday versus a team they know extremely well in Montana.
Kent: The option game went well at times for Kennesaw but Weber State stiffened and the offense awoke as the game went on. Next up, conference mate Montana comes to Ogden and hopes for some revenge to the team that handed them their worst loss this season.
Jamie: I expected this to be a low scoring slug fest. There were more points than I thought would be scored, but it was a physical game. Weber nearly fell victim to the upset but held on at the end.
Ray: I was not sold on KSU all season and the Owls showed why. This Friday a much tougher test awaits.
Montana 73, Southeastern Louisiana 28
Chuck: I thought it was absolutely classless to have Montana starting QB Dalton Sneed in the 4th quarter up 56-28 on the Lions. I have a feeling that they are going to wish they had some of those points they ran up the flagpole against Southeastern Louisiana available against Weber State in this quarterfinal round.
Kent: Southeastern Louisiana was able to score its fair share in this game but the Grizzlies proved why Washington-Grizzly Stadium is so tough to play in–that and the Lions defense did not show up at all.
Jamie: Southeastern Louisiana put up some big offensive numbers, but Montana came to play and never looked back in their big win. The Griz have been great at home and average on the road this year. Unfortunately for them, its road trips from here on out.
Ray:While one prevailing school of thought is that backups should be allowed to showcase their skills in the latter stages with a game already in hand, but having a starting QB at the helm on the final quarter with a huge lead … well, I am just going to leave it at that.
Illinois State 24, Central Arkansas 14
Chuck: I thought that Central Arkansas would have all sorts of problems containing Illinois State RB James Robinson and that’s exactly what happened. The Bears also didn’t have an answer to Illinois State’s physical defense. North Dakota State, however, has a multitude of answers to both Redbird strengths, not to mention one of the best home-dome advantages in December, which is a huge problem for Illinois State in the quarterfinals.
Kent: The Redbirds are still riding James Robinson train to the quarterfinals. The MVFC has proven why it the best ranked confernce in thes playoffs so far. Too bad for the Redbirds that it gets a rematch with conference mate NDSU.
Jamie: Illinois State has two big things going for them right now. James Robinson and a strong defense. Central Arkansas had no answer for either one. But the Redbirds cant be one dimensional against NDSU. They have to find a passing game.
Ray: Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson: you and the Redbirds proved you are for real. The Bison had better watch out. Illinois State will not be easy to beat this Saturday.
North Dakota State 37, Nicholls 13
Chuck: This definitely was a “Bison gonna Bison” game, but I was impressed on how well Nicholls competed, giving North Dakota State a scare early on and even a halftime lead. QB Chase Fourcade showing some real guts to will the Colonels to stay competitive with the mighty Bison, and just might have given a future NDSU opponent a blueprint on how to possibly beat them. I don’t know if an NFL team will take a chance on Fourcade, but it was hard not to be impressed with how he played under the circumstances.
Kent: It may not have been the 28 point spread that some oddsmakers had on this game but still an impressive Bison team overmatched the Colonels. The kicking game was the issue with two makeable field goals and a PAT missed but was playing without its top kicker this week, who was suspended for a game.
Jamie: When the game went to the half, people were wondering if NDSU had been exposed. They hadn’t. As usual the Bison wore down their opponent in the second half and cruised to victory
Ray: Other teams talk about establishing a culture of winning, NDSU has had that in place for more than half a century and it showed. The valiant Colonels gave the Bison an early test, but like so many times over the past several years the Rams (offensive line) of the Bison made the difference in the end.
Austin Peay 42. Sacramento State 28
Chuck: It is absolutely stunning to me that the team that overwhelmed both Montana and Montana State during the regular season got dominated so badly by Austin Peay. It is not easy to fly a team halfway across the country and be so well prepared, but Mark Hudspeth coached the game perfectly, executing a brilliant onsides kick up 14-0, sensing that the Hornets were out of sorts and not totally there. In may ways that alert onsides kick was a metaphor for the whole game.
Kent: The Governors are proven me wrong as I thought they would be out in the first round. I did think the Hornets were overrated and thought with no DI playoff experience that it might be too much for them. This game proved that fact.
Jamie: I did not see that one coming. Austin Peay is a strong team with JaVaughn Craig at QB. His dual threat abilities will give fits to any team. Sacramento State looked shellshocked after falling behind 21-0, and the game was never close. The Govs will give Montana State a run for their money this week.
Ray: “Can you hear me now?” For weeks I have been touting Austin Peay and despite rumors circulating to the contrary, sometimes I do stumble across a brilliant idea. Thank you Governors!