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2015 Week 15 FCS Rankings (November 30 – December 6) and Round One Playoff Results

November 29, 2015
Duquesne QB Dillon Buechel passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns, but his Dukes fell to William & Mary 52-49 in a first-round FCS Playoff game at Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, VA. (photo courtesy of goduquesne.com)

Duquesne QB Dillon Buechel passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns, but his Dukes fell to William & Mary 52-49 in a first-round FCS Playoff game at Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, VA. (photo courtesy of goduquesne.com)

#5 Northern Iowa 53  #21 Eastern Illinois 17
Tyvis Smith rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown and Aaron Bailey tossed three touchdown passes as #5 Northern Iowa humbled #21 Eastern Illinois 53-17 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, IA. The host Panthers (8-4, 5-3 MVFC) opened a 23-7 halftime advantage and never looked back as their defense held the visiting Panthers (7-5, 7-1 OVC) to 76 yards rushing on 24 attempts, intercepted three passes, one for a touchdown and recovered a fumble. Bailey completed, only, 7-of-11 passing attempts, but racked up 162 yards and his three touchdown strikes while rushing for 72 yards. Charles Brown caught two passes for 78 yards and a touchdown while both of Daurice Fountain’s receptions went for touchdowns spanning 73 yards. Eastern Illinois was led by Jalen Whitlow, who passed for 252 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice. Devin Church led the visitors’ limited rushing attack with 35 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts. Northern Iowa will face sixth-seed Portland State at Providence Park in Portland, OR in the final second-round playoff game on Saturday.

#7 Chattanooga 50  #16 Fordham 20

Jacob Huesman passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns and added 129 rushing yards while Derrick Crane rushed for 154 yards and a score as #7 Chattanooga built a 31-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 50-20 victory over #16 Fordham. The Mocs (9-3, 6-1 Southern) held the visiting Rams (9-3, 5-1 Patriot) to 145 yards of offense in the first half while scoring on all five of their opening half possessions. Kevin Anderson was able to get Fordham on the board on the Rams’ first possession of the second half, with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Phazahn Odom with 10:21 to play in the third quarter, but the second-half offense was far too little, far too late. Chattanooga controlled the time of possession with a pounding rushing attack, churning the home turf at Finley Stadium to the tune of 365 yards. Anderson passed 329 yards and three touchdowns for the Rams while Jarred Brevard led the visitors in rushing with 73 yards on ten carries. Chattanooga doesn’t have far to travel for their second round matchup in the NCAA Division I Football Championship, but the task is daunting as they will face top-seed Jacksonville State at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, AL.

#11 The Citadel 41  #9 Coastal Carolina 38

Eric Goins’ 43-yard field goal as time expired lifted #11 The Citadel to a 41-38 win over #9 Coastal Carolina at Brooks Stadium in Conway, SC. While neither team was able to acquire a lead over seven points throughout the first three quarters, the Bulldogs (9-3, 6-1 Southern) took a 31-28 advantage on a 49-yard field goal from Goins 1:06 into the final stanza and, 48 seconds later, extended the lead to ten after Shy Phillips picked off Chanticleers’ quarterback Alex Ross and returned the errant throw 32 yards for a touchdown. Undaunted, Ross led Coastal Carolina (9-3, 4-2 Big South) on a 7-play, 66-yard drive that culminated n a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Granger and, following a Chanticleers defensive stand, Coastal tied the game at 38 as Osharmar Abercrombie rumbled for 16-yard touchdown with 5:38 remaining in regulation to cap a 6-play, 79-yard drive. The Citadel started their next offensive possession on their own 28 and moved the pigskin to the Coastal 30-yard line with 1:28 to play, but Goins’ 47-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Marcus Williamson, giving the Chanticleers another opportunity to win the ballgame on Benton Field. However, on a 3rd-and-7 from the Coastal 47-yard line, Ross was strip-sacked at the 41-yard line with Mitchell Jeter recovering the ball for the Bulldogs with 44 seconds remaining on the clock. Three plays later, with the football snapped from the Coastal 26-yard line, Goins nailed his second field goal of the game, giving the visitors the victory in their first playoff game since 1992. The Citadel quarterback Dominique Allen passed for, only, 32 yards, but tallied 174 of his team’s 524 rushing yards and two touchdowns while Tyler Renew rushed for 129 yards and a score and Cam Jackson notched 113 yards and a touchdown on, only, nine totes. The Bulldogs, nearly, had four players rush for, at least, 100 yards, as Vinny Miller added 93 yards on, only, five carries on the day. Ross led the Chanticleers with 415 yards passing and three touchdowns, but threw two interceptions and fumbled once. De’Angelo Henderson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown which extended his FCS record streak of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown to 26. Bruce Mapp caught three passes for a game-high 120 yards and a score while Henderson and Craig Weick added touchdown receptions for Coastal Carolina. With the victory, The Citadel will face cross-town rival Charleston Southern, the number-eight seed, in a second-round playoff tilt at Buccaneer Field in Charleston, SC.

#19 Montana 24  #13 South Dakota State 17

Brady Gustafson threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and John Nguyen rushed for 107 yards as #19 Montana held off #13 South Dakota State 24-17 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, MT. The Grizzlies (8-4, 6-2 Big Sky) built a 24-0 lead at intermission on Gustafson’s touchdown passes to Ellis Henderson and Jamaal Jones, a 2-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Calhoun and a 25-yard field goal from Daniel Sullivan, but were held scoreless in the second half by the Jackrabbits (8-4, 5-3 MVFC). South Dakota State cut their deficit to 24-10 after three quarters on Jay Carlson’s 34-yard field goal and a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Taryn Christion and inched to within seven points with 4:44 to play as Christion hit Dallas Goedert for a 30-yard scoring strike, but Montana was able mount a 10-play drive to extinguish the remaining time on the game clock. Grizzlies receiver Ben Romain Roberts logged game-highs of eight receptions and 133 yards while Josh Horner caught six balls for 80 yards. Christion led South Dakota State with 230 passing yards and 54 yards on the ground and Jake Wieneke snared six passes for 128 yards. Montana, who opened the season with a win over North Dakota State, will face the third-seeded Bison at the Fargodome in Fargo, ND in a second-round playoff pairing.

#14 William & Mary 52  #24 Duquesne 49

Kendell Anderson rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Steve Cluely passed for 251 yards and three scores as #14 William & Mary held off #24 Duquesne 52-49 at Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, VA. The Tribe (9-3, 6-2 CAA) had to escape an early 14-0 deficit as the Dukes (8-4, 5-1 NEC) scored on their first play from scrimmage, a 71-yard touchdown pass from Dillon Buechel to Chris King only 16 seconds into the game and a 6-yard scoring strike from Buechel to Nehari Crawford less than six minutes later. Cluely took little time in rallying his troops, as he connected twice with DeVonte Dedmon on scoring passes of 38 and 24 yards to knot the game at 14 with 4:47 left in the opening quarter. William & Mary upped the lead to 28-14 in the second quarter on touchdown runs from Anderson and Mikal Abdul-Saboor, but Duquesne closed the gap to 28-24 at the half on a 9-yard pass from Buechel to Crawford and a 39-yard field goal from Austin Crimmins. Nick Dorka’s 20-yard field goal just over five minutes into the second half boosted the Tribe’s lead to 31-24 and, with 5:34 left in the third quarter, DeAndre Houston-Carson returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for a 38-24 advantage. Buechel worked his magic for his fourth touchdown pass with 1:23 left in the third stanza, connecting with Wayne Capers for am 18-yard score and a 38-31 bulge for the hosts. William & Mary regained their 14-point lead only ten seconds into the final quarter as Cluely and Dedmon hooked up on a 37-yard score and a 45-31 lead, but Duquesne trimmed the score to 45-38 on a Buechel-to-Capers score from five yards away with 10:37 left in regulation. Crimmins nailed a 35-yard field goal at the 7:01 mark to inch the visitors to within 45-41, but Anderson’s 8-yard jaunt restored his team’s lead to 52-41 with just over three minutes to play. Buechel tossed his sixth touchdown pass of the day, and third to Capers from 42 yards out and, with a successful two-point to King, the Dukes trailed by three with 1:11 to play but the subsequent on-side kick was unsuccessful, allowing the Tribe to run the clock to triple zeros. Dedmon led all William & Mary receivers with three receptions, all touchdowns and 99 yards. For the Dukes, Buechel passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns with King the recipient of 12 balls for 221 yards and a touchdown while Capers caught seven passes for 81 yards and three scores. For their efforts. the Tribe will face in-state and CAA foe Richmond, the seventh seed, at Robins Stadium.

#18 Sam Houston State 42  #15 Southern Utah 39

Jeremiah Briscoe’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Yedediah Louis with with 3:44 remaining in regulation erased capped a late-game rally as #18 Sam Houston State eliminated #15 Southern Utah from the playoffs with a 42-39 victory at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, TX. Ridgeway Frank rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Corey Avery gained 77 yards on the ground and added a pair of scoring dashes as the Bearkats (9-3, 7-2 Southland) opened their fifth consecutive trip to the FCS post-season with a victory in front of their home fans. The Thunderbirds (8-4, 7-1 Big Sky), who led 32-26 at halftime after a 26-point second quarter, were paced by Ammon Olsen, who passed for 379 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Sharp caught three of Olsen’s touchdown passes en route to a 141-yard receiving day and Brady Measom added 118 yards and a scoring catch. Remus Bulmer plowed his way to 111 rushing yards for the Bearkats, who will face Southland foe and fourth-seed McNeese State in Lake Charles, LA in the second round of the playoffs.

Western Illinois 24  Dayton 7

Nikko Watson rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown as Western Illinois manhandled host Dayton 24-7 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, OH in the lid-lifter of the NCAA Division I Football Championship. The Leathernecks (7-5, 5-3 MVFC) fell behind 7-0 in the final minute of the first quarter on an 5-yard touchdown run by Alex Jeske, but turned up the defensive pressure to force four turnovers, including three interceptions by Jeske. Watson tied the game on a 7-yard scoring run with 6:06 to play in the first half and Western Illinois went to the locker room with a 10-7 advantage following Nathan Knuffman’s 27-yard field goal in the waning seconds. Sean McGuire extended the lead to 17-7 with 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter after connecting with Lance Lenoir for a 22-yard touchdown and notched the final points of the contest, less than three minutes into the final stanza, on a 9-yard scoring strike to Stacey Smith, Jr. McGuire finished the game with 183 yards through the air and a pair of interceptions to go along with his two touchdown passes while Lenoir logged game-highs with six receptions for 93 yards. Tucker Yinger led the Flyers (10-2, 7-1 Pioneer) with 15 carries for 79 yards and Cory Stuart caught four of Jeske’s 13 completions for a team-high 37 yards. Western Illinois will battle in-state and MVFC foe Illinois State, seeded second, in one of next week’s eight second-round pairings.

Colgate 27  New Hampshire 20

James Holland rushed for 95 yards and four touchdowns to lead Colgate to a 27-20 victory over New Hampshire at Cowell Stadium in Durham, NH. The Raiders (8-4, 6-0 Patriot) never trailed in the contest and took a 27-6 lead with 12:16 to play on Holland’s fourth rushing score of the day, The Wildcats (7-5, 5-3 CAA), who entered the game unbeaten at home in 2015, cut their fourth quarter deficit to 27-13 on Sean Goldrich’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Rory Donovan with 9:39 left on the clock and to 27-20 at the 5:30 mark when Goldrich rushed for an 18-yard score. Colgate’s next possession resulted in a fumble, but Goldrich threw an interception four plays later to return the ball to the Raiders. Colgate was forced to punt, giving the Wildcats one final chance to tie the game. However, on a 3rd-and-2 from their own 36, Goldrich completed a pass to Mike Kelly and, in the ensuing lateral attempts, the ball was fumbled, ending the game. Jake Melville passed for 188 yards and rushed for 66 more while John Maddaluna caught three passes for 81 yards. Goldrich, in the loss, completed 41 of 56 passes for 309 yards, a touchdown and an interception with Kyon Taylor hauling in 11 passes for 128 yards and Jared Allison snaring 14 throws for 83 yards. With the win, the Raiders will travel to Harrisonburg, VA to face fifth-seed James Madison at Bridgeforth Stadium in second-round action.

Week 14 results (Round One – NCAA Division I Football Championship) and Week 15 (Round Two – NCAA Division I Football Championship) rankings and opponents: (All scheduled game times ET)

1. Jacksonville State (10-1, 8-0 OVC) This week: vs. #7 Chattanooga (9-3, 6-1 Southern) Sat 12/5 2:00PM
(LW – 1) Last week: IDLE

2. North Dakota State (9-2, 7-1 MVFC) This week: vs. #14 Montana (8-4, 6-2 Big Sky) Sat 12/5 3:30PM
(LW – 2) Last week: IDLE

3. McNeese State (10-0, 9-0 Southland) This week: vs. #13 Sam Houston State (9-3, 7-2 Southland) Sat 12/5 7:00PM
(LW – 3) Last week: IDLE

4. Illinois State (9-2, 7-1 MVFC) This week: vs. #15 Western Illinois (7-5, 5-3 MVFC) Sat 12/5 2:00PM
(LW – 4) Last week: IDLE

5. Northern Iowa (8-4, 5-3 MVFC) This week: at #11 Portland State (9-2, 6-2 Big Sky) Sat 12/5 10:00PM
(LW – 5) Last week: defeated #21 Eastern Illinois (7-5, 7-1 OVC) 53-17

6. Charleston Southern (9-2, 6-0 Big South) This week: vs. #10 The Citadel (9-3, 6-1 Southern) Sat 12/5 1:00PM
(LW – 6) Last week: IDLE

7. Chattanooga (9-3, 6-1 Southern) This week: at #1 Jacksonville State (10-1, 8-0 OVC) Sat 12/5 2:00PM
(LW – 7) Last week: defeated  #16 Fordham (9-3, 5-1 Patriot) 50-20

8. Richmond (8-3, 6-2 CAA) This week: vs. #12 William & Mary (9-3, 6-2 CAA) Sat 12/5 12:00PM
(LW – 8) Last week: IDLE

9. James Madison (9-2, 6-2 CAA) This week: vs. #16 Colgate (8-4, 6-0 Patriot) Sat 12/5 1:00PM
(LW – 10) Last week: IDLE

10. The Citadel (9-3, 6-1 Southern) This week: at #6 Charleston Southern (9-2, 6-0 Big South) Sat 12/5 1:00PM
(LW – 11) Last week: won at #9 Coastal Carolina (9-3, 4-2 Big South) 41-38

11. Portland State (9-2, 6-2 Big Sky) This week: vs. #5 Northern Iowa (8-4, 5-3 MVFC) Sat 12/5 10:00PM
(LW – 12) Last week: IDLE

12. William & Mary (9-3, 6-2 CAA) This week: at #8 Richmond (8-3, 6-2 CAA) Sat 12/5 12:00PM
(LW – 14) Last week: defeated #24 Duquesne (8-4, 5-1 NEC) 52-49

13. Sam Houston State (9-3, 7-2 Southland) This week: at #3 McNeese State (10-0, 9-0 Southland) Sat 12/5 7:00PM
(LW – 18) Last week: defeated #15 Southern Utah (8-4, 7-1 Big Sky) 42-39

14. Montana (8-4, 6-2 Big Sky) This week: at #2 North Dakota State (9-2, 7-1 MVFC) 3:30PM
(LW – 19) Last week: defeated #13 South Dakota State (8-4, 5-3 MVFC) 24-17

15. Western Illinois (7-5, 5-3 MVFC) This week: at #4 Illinois State (9-2, 7-1 MVFC) Sat 12/5 2:00PM
(LW – NR) Last week won at Dayton (10-2, 7-1 Pioneer) 24-7

16. Colgate (8-4, 6-0 Patriot) This week: at #9 James Madison (9-2, 6-2 CAA) Sat 12/5 1:00PM
(LW – NR) Last week: won at New Hampshire (7-5, 5-3 CAA) 27-20

17. Harvard (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 17)

18. Coastal Carolina (9-3, 4-2 Big South) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 9) Last week: lost to #11 The Citadel (9-3, 6-1 Southern) 41-38

19. South Dakota State (8-4, 5-3 MVFC) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 13) Last week: lost at #19 Montana (8-4, 6-2 Big Sky) 24-17

20. Dartmouth (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 20)

21. Southern Utah (8-4, 7-1 Big Sky) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 15) Last week: lost at #18 Sam Houston State (9-3, 7-2 Southland) 42-39

22. Grambling State (9-2, 9-0 SWAC-W) This week: TBD
(LW – 22) Last week: defeated Southern (6-5, 6-3 SWAC-W) 34-23

23. Duquesne (8-4, 5-1 NEC) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 24) Last week: lost at #14 William & Mary (9-3, 6-2 CAA) 52-49

24. Bethune-Cookman (9-2, 7-1 MEAC) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 23)

25. Eastern Illinois (7-5, 7-1 OVC) This week: Season Complete
(LW – 21) Last week: lost at #5 Northern Iowa (8-4, 5-3 MVFC) 53-17

Dropped Out: #16 Fordham, #25 North Carolina Central

Also Receiving Consideration:

Northern Arizona (7-4, 5-3 Big Sky), Pennsylvania (7-3, 6-1 Ivy), North Carolina Central (8-3, 7-1 MEAC), North Dakota (7-4, 5-3 Big Sky), North Carolina A&T (9-2, 7-1 MEAC), San Diego (9-2, 7-1 Pioneer), Fordham (9-3, 5-1 Patriot), Central Arkansas (7-4, 7-2 Southland), Western Carolina (7-4, 5-2 Southern), Prairie View A&M (8-2, 8-1 SWAC-W), New Hampshire (7-5, 5-3 CAA), Eastern Washington (6-5, 5-3 Big Sky), Villanova (6-5, 5-3 CAA), Dayton (10-2, 7-1 Pioneer), Jacksonville (9-2, 6-2 Pioneer), Tennessee-Martin (7-4, 6-2 OVC), Towson (7-4, 5-3 CAA), Morehead State (7-4, 6-2 Pioneer), Weber State (6-5, 5-3 Big Sky), South Carolina State (7-4, 6-2 MEAC), Alcorn State (8-3, 7-2 SWAC-E)

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