FCS Playoffs: Appalachian State 20, S.C. State 13
BOONE ó Dominique McDuffie returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Appalachian State defeated South Carolina State 20-13 in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (10-2), who defeated S.C. State in the first round before falling to Richmond last year, will face the winner of Richmond and Elon in the quarterfinals on Dec. 5.
Tied at 13-13, South Carolina State went for it on fourth-and-1 from Appalachian State’s 15-yard line. But the Bulldogs (10-2) fumbled, McDuffie recovered and returned it for the winning score with 7:42 left to play.
The Mountaineers only other touchdown came with 4:35 left in the second quarter on a 7-yard catch by Brian Quick from Armanti Edwards.
Malcolm Long was 18 of 36 for 189 yards and a season-high three interceptions for the Bulldogs.
ASU was especially schizophrenic in the first half, as it scored on three of its six possessions and turned the ball over on the other three. The third miscue did the most damage, as SCSU’s Rafael Bush returned Armanti Edwards’ second interception of the afternoon 46 yards to knot the contest at 10-10 with 1:34 to go before halftime.
The Mountaineers got a break after the score, however, as the Bulldogs picked up an excessive celebration penalty after the long return and a personal foul on the extra point, forcing them to kick off from their own eight yard line.
Devin Radford fielded the kick at the ASU 36 and returned it 31 yards to the SCSU 33. Eight plays later, Jason Vitaris booted a 24-yard field goal to send Appalachian into the locker room with a 13-10 lead.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 13-13 with a field goal on their first possession of the second half.
The tide seemed to turn entirely in SCSU’s favor on ASU’s next series when defensive tackle Ronnell Ferguson scooped up a fumble by Edwards and rumbled 35 yards down the right sideline. However, ASU wide receiver Matt Cline made a game-changing play of his own when he chased down Ferguson and stripped the ball from his grasp. Matt Ruff fell on the loose ball to regain possession for the Mountaineers.
After McDuffie’s go-ahead score, ASU’s defense limited S.C. State to minus-21 yards and, behind running back Cedric Baker, the Mountaineers were able to milk 4:29 off the clock to essentially seal the victory.
Edwards returned from a knee injury sustained two weeks ago at Elon to complete 19-of-30 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. He was the victim of a handful of drops, but his three interceptions were a season high. His minus-one rushing yards were his fewest in 47 career starts.
OTHER FCS SCORES
RICHMOND, Va. ó Eric Warad threw for 140 yards and rushed for a career-high 136 yards to lead Richmond to a 16-13 win over Elon.
Adam Schreiner missed a pair of field goals in the final 1:30. The Phoenix moved to Richmond’s 31 with 7 second left before Shreiner’s 47-yard attempt was short.
William & Mary 38, Weber State 0
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. ó R.J. Archer ran for two scores and William & Mary returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 38-0 win over Weber State.
The Tribe (10-2), who will face Southern Illinois (11-1), a 48-7 winner against Eastern Illinois.
Montana 61, South Dakota State 48
MISSOULA, Mont. ó Marc Mariani scored his third touchdown of the game on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Selle with 1:08 to play to cap a 27-point second-half comeback for Montana (12-0).
S. F. Austin 44, E Washington 33
NACOGDOCHES, Texa ó Jeremy Moses’ 432-passing yards helped lead Stephen F. Austin to a 44-33 victory over Eastern Washington.
New Hampshire 49, McNeese State 13
LAKE CHARLES, La, ó R.J. Toman threw three touchdowns and rushed for a score to lead New Hampshire (10-2). The Wildcats play Villanova, a 38-28 winner over Holy Cross.