TAKEAWAYS | Winners come up big in Saturday's FCS playoffs
Sam Houston State's Jeremiah Briscoe threw five touchdown passes in a 41-36 victory against Chattanooga to set the FCS single-season record.
The 6-3 redshirt junior, leading the fifth-seeded Bearkats (12-0) to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, has 57 TD passes this season. He surpassed the 56 by Mississippi Valley State's Willie Totten in 1984 and Grambling State's Bruce Eugene in 2005.
Briscoe completed 20 of 40 passes for 363 yards with one interception. The Southland Conference Player of the Year set the record with a 26-yard pass to freshman Nathan Stewart with 9:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It gave the Bearkats a 41-33 lead and they held on to win despite being outgained in total yards, 531-421.
"None of that happens without the best receiving corps in the country," Briscoe said.
Yedidiah Louis finished with 156 yards and 3 TDs to surpass 1,000 yards for the season. He also became SHSU’s career leader in receptions with 212, passing Matt Dominguez (211 from 1997-2000).
Sam Houston State's quarterfinal opponent will be fourth-seeded James Madison, which routed CAA Football rival New Hampshire 55-22 — the most points scored in the second round.
Junior quarterback Bryan Schor tied the school record with 5 TD passes and the Dukes (11-1) scored seven touchdowns over the second and third quarters to pull away.
Making his return from injury, Schor had a career day, completing 30 of 37 passes for 371 yards — the fifth most in school single-game history.
Meanwhile, senior receiver Brandon Ravenel made a career-highs of eight receptions for 155 yards — all in the first half — as he became the first JMU player since 2009 to go surpass 150.
Khalid Abdullah, ASN's FCS Player of the Year, rushed for 87 yards as the Dukes won their first playoff game since a first-round victory at Eastern Kentucky in 2011.
Richmond joined James Madison as the second CAA team in the quarterfinals with a thrilling comeback at North Dakota.
The Spiders (10-3) rallied from a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter to defeat the seventh-seeded Fighting Hawks 27-24. They will play at No. 2 Eastern Washington (11-1), which eliminated Central Arkansas 31-14.
"I can’t be more proud of this football team," said Richmond head coach Danny Rocco. "The toughness they put on display tonight was phenomenal. I can’t say enough about them."
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Johnson, making his second start since replacing the injured Kyle Lauletta, threw for 260 yards on 12-of-19 passing with two TDs.
His biggest throw came on the game's final drive. Tyler Wilkins caught a 54-yarder pass as he fell to the ground at North Dakota's 20. That set up Griffin Trau's game-winning 18-yard field goal as time expired.
Richmond senior Brian Brown finished with six catches for 171 yards and a TD.
Wofford almost beat The Citadel on Oct. 20, losing 24-21 in overtime. On Saturday, the Terriers upset the sixth-seeded Bulldogs 17-3 in a rematch of their Southern Conference dogfight.
Freshman quarterback Joe Newman rushed for 45 yards, including a 26-yard TD, and sophomore cornerback Devin Watson returned an interception 64 yards for another TD.
The Terriers (10-3) doubled their win total from last season (5-6) and have won two postseason games for the first time since 2003.
"I love this group of kids," said Wofford head coach Mike Ayers. "Some of them are real goofy, but they are young. The one thing they are not goofy about is when they go on that field and play."
• Wofford's quarterfinal opponent will be Youngstown State (10-3). The Penguins piled up 520 total yards, led by Hunter Wells' 290 yards passing and Jody Webb's 140 yards rushing, to upset third-seeded Jacksonville State, 40-24. Gamecocks senior quarterback Eli Jenkins rushed for 189 yards but completed only 6 of 26 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
• Villanova almost knocked off eighth-seeded South Dakota State. But Chase Vinatieri, continuing the family tradition, kicked a game-winning 40-yard field goal with 1:21 remaining for a 10-7 victory. He is the nephew of Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who played at SDSU and kicked the New England Patriots to victories in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII.
• FCS playoff bracket
Above: Yedidiah Louis makes one of his eight receptions in Sam Houston State's 41-36 victory Saturday against Chattanooga. He finished with 156 yards and 3 TDs to surpass 1,000 yards for the season. He also became SHSU’s career leader in receptions. (Photo courtesy Sam Houston State Athletics)