NCAA Football News

FCS Playoffs 2014: Round 2 Results, Quarterfinals Schedule and Bracket Update

Even though the eyes of most college football fans are on conference championship games, the Football Championship Subdivision is busy settling its champion the old fashioned way: tournament style. 

The second round of the 2014 FCS playoffs took place on Saturday with eight games around the country, including top-ranked New Hampshire. Even though the Wildcats are the No. 1 seed, all eyes are focused on North Dakota State. 

The Bison, who have grown in popularity thanks to ESPN's College GameDay taking its show to Fargo, have won three consecutive titles and are looking to break a tie with Appalachian State as the only schools to win four straight FCS championships.  

Here's a look back at the action from the second round of the FCS playoffs and a look at the bracket heading into the quarterfinal round next week. 


Round 2 Recap

The best game of the day took place in Fargo, as North Dakota State got a late touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to RJ Urzendowski to secure a 27-24 victory against the rivals from South Dakota State. The thrilling nature of the game isn't a surprise, as these two schools have built a tremendous rivalry. 

The Bison had their backs up against the wall on that final touchdown drive. Their defense a go-ahead touchdown pass with just over three minutes to play. Wentz is in his first year as the starting quarterback for North Dakota State, so you never know what can happen in this situation. 

With less than one minute to play and the length of the field to go, South Dakota State's drive never really got started. The Jackrabbits had a false start penalty that made it 1st and 15. On the next play, Austin Sumner threw an interception to Tre Dempsey, via Mike McFeely of 790 KFGO Radio:

The runner-up for game of the day came in Pennsylvania, as Villanova needed 15 points in the fourth quarter to avoid an upset on its home field against Liberty.

The Wildcats aren't a huge passing team, nor did John Robertson have a great game with eight completions on 19 attempts, but he made a big play in the fourth quarter with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Gulyas and converted a two-point conversion to tie the game. 

Robertson used his legs for the go-ahead score with just over one minute to play. Along the way, the junior quarterback became Villanova's all-time leader in yards, via the team's official Twitter:

The biggest takeaway from the early games is how easily chalk held. It's not surprising to see New Hampshire, Chattanooga and Illinois State winning, but Fordham, Indiana State and Northern Iowa looked beaten as soon as the opening kickoff in their respective games. 

New Hampshire got a season-best 110 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Nico Steriti in a 44-19 victory over Fordham. The senior running back came into the game with 396 yards on 101 carries, though he has been used in plenty of scoring situations, as evidenced by his 12 touchdowns. 

It's no surprise that the Wildcats used the ground to secure this victory, as they average 177.7 yards per game on the ground and have picked up 35 of their 60 touchdowns this season via the run. 

Despite the final score, New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell had praise for Fordham before the game, telling Tim O'Sullivan of The Concord Monitor that the undefeated Rams were among the best he's seen:

“This is the most skilled team I’ve seen out of the Patriot League in my 16 years of coaching,” McDonnell said.

“(And) they’re not just an offensive football team, their defense can play.”

While the respect may have been there, the gap in talent was evident. Speaking of talent, No. 5 Illinois State was all over Northern Iowa, 41-21, behind 382 passing yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Tre Roberson. 

Mike Hlas of The Cedar Rapids Gazette rubbed salt in the wound for fans of Indiana football, noting that Roberson used to play for the Hoosiers:

While he didn't get a lot of playing time with Indiana, Roberson was effective for the Hoosiers in 2013 with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions on 138 attempts. The Hoosiers could have used that production with an offense that ranked 121st in passing. 

The win provided the Redbirds revenge for their only loss in the regular season, a 42-28 defeat at Northern Iowa on November 1. 

The first upset of the day came courtesy of Sam Houston State, which went to Florida and knocked off No. 3 Jacksonville State, 37-26. It was an unusual game, as the two teams combined for 50 points in the first half. 

After the coaches were able to make adjustments at halftime, things calmed down, but not before Sam Houston State put up 13 points in the third quarter.

Jacksonville State didn't score in the second half, and the 26 points it put up ties its second-lowest total of the year against FCS competition. Michigan State held the Gamecocks to seven points in the season opener. 

The Bearkats used a dominant rushing attack in their victory, carrying the ball 53 times for 241 yards. Four players had at least 10 carries, though none of them broke 100 yards.

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Lane Kiffin Calls Touchdown to DeAndrew White Right After Snap vs. Missouri

He did it again.

Last week, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffincalled an Amari Cooper touchdown before it happened.

It worked out so well before, he thought he'd do it again.

In Saturday's SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Missouri, Kiffin raised his arms as soon as he knew DeAndrew White was going to get open for the score.

That 58-yard bomb put Alabama up 14-0 in the title game.

[Vine, Twitter]

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Missouri Defensive End Shane Ray Ejected for Targeting vs. Alabama

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray was ejected for targeting during the 2014 SEC Championship Game vs. No. 1 Alabama.

Early in the second quarter, with the Crimson Tide clinging to a 7-0 lead, quarterback Blake Sims completed a 58-yard touchdown bomb to DeAndrew White. Right after Sims fired the scoring toss, Ray launched at him while leading with his helmet, earning the ejection.

The pass from Sims was quite significant from a historical standpoint:

With that pass, Blake Sims passes AJ McCarron for the most yards by an Alabama QB in a season. McCarrron had 3,063 in 2013. #SECChampionship

— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) December 6, 2014

Ray is one of the top playmakers on the Tigers defense, so this is a huge loss. What do you think—was the right call made?


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4-Star QB Sheriron Jones Decommits from Florida, Names Tennessee Front-Runner

Four-star quarterback Sheriron Jones has decommitted from the University of Florida in the wake of Will Muschamp's firing.

"With the coaching change, I don't feel it will be the same at Florida," Jones said, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports (subscription required). "With a coach that hasn't recruited me at all, I don't think things would be the same."

According to Gator Country's Andrew Spivey, Jones said he "isn't sure if he will consider Florida or not."

Jones, ranked the nation's No. 8 dual-threat quarterback, told Bartow that Tennessee currently leads for his services.

"They are the front-runner right now," Jones said of the Volunteers.

Bartow notes UT coach Mike Bajakian visited the quarterback this week and that Jones plans to officially visit but has not scheduled the date.

Tennessee is currently led by sophomore Josh Dobbs, who gained a hold on the starting position following a superb performance against top-ranked Alabama.

Behind Dobbs, however, the Vols are relatively thin at quarterback, so Jones could enter a favorable situation in Knoxville. Justin Worley is a senior, and Nathan Peterman has failed to impress during scattered appearances over the last two seasons.

Ole Miss recently offered Jones, who also said Nebraska has ramped up its recruiting efforts, per Mike Schaefer of Huskers Illustrated (subscription required). However, the impact of Bo Pelini's dismissal is unclear at this time.

After attending the Elite 11 camp in Oregon this summer, the Rancho Verde High School (California) product guided his team to a 10-3 season record. Jones has accepted an invitation to participate in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.

Florida now holds just eight verbal commitments for the 2015 class. The school officially announced Jim McElwain as their new head coach Thursday afternoon, so its recruiting efforts should increase shortly.

Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue lists 3-stars Chason Virgil and Lamar Jackson as potential Gators targets. Luke Stampini of 247Sports writes Drew Hughes, UF's director of player personnel, told Jackson, "While he's still there, Florida still wants me."

McElwain may ultimately elect to stand firm at quarterback with Treon Harris, Jeff Driskel and highly touted 2014 prospect Will Grier returning next season. However, Driskel's eligibility will expire in 2015, so look for McElwain and Florida to add one player under center in the upcoming class.


Recruit rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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Ball Boy at Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois Game Shows off Great Hands

Red Lightning set the standard for ball boys, but soon he will join the ranks of past college football legends. As with all legacies, there must be a changing of the guard.

When Bowling Green and Northern Illinois faced off Friday night, a mysterious new ball boy prodigy caught a glimpse of screen time and made the most of it.

He's clearly been watching Odell Beckham Jr. highlights lately.

[YouTube, h/t Reader Ethan Brown]

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