Henry Fields scored on a 1-yard plunge with 28 seconds left to give McNeese (La.) State a 23-20 victory over Idaho in the first round of the NCAA Div. I-AA playoffs Saturday.
The victory put McNeese State (9-3) into the quarterfinals against Northern Iowa. Idaho ended its season 9-3.It was the sixth time this season that the Cowboys scored the winning touchdown in the last two minutes.
McNeese State, trailing 20-17 with 1:29 remaining, got a a 45-yard run by redshirt freshman Fields that launched the final 82-yard drive.
The score sent the Cowboy cheerleaders leaping onto the field, which resulted in an illegal celebration penalty that backed up the Cowboy kickoff 15 yards.
That let the Vandals begin their last drive from the 38, but Mike Hollis missed a 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
N. Iowa 17, E. Washington 14
At Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jay Johnson threw two first-half touchdown passes and Northern Iowa held on in the second half to beat Eastern Washington in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
Northern Iowa (11-1) relied on its defense to keep Eastern Washington (7-4) at bay after taking a 17-7 halftime lead. The Panthers advanced to a second-round game at home next Saturday against McNeese State.
Northern Iowa wasn't assured of moving on until the game's final play when Eastern Washington's Alex Lacson was wide left on a 49-yard field goal attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.
Eastern Washington got its second half touchdown on Lavon Major's 89-yard return after a blocked field goal attempt.
Johnson completed 10 of 12 first-half passes for 134 yards.
Sixteen playoff games were played in small college football Saturday.
Here is a rundown of the games:
No. 1 The Citadel 44, N.C. A&T 0
At Charleston, S.C., The Citadel's Jack Douglas, the all-time leading rushing quarterback in Division I-AA, found he could throw the ball too. Douglas had a career-best 140 yards passing and ran for 86 yards and a TD in The Citadel's first playoff victory in three tries. NC A&T finished 9-3.
No. 7 Youngstown St. 23,
No. 10 Villanova 20
At Youngstown, Ohio, Darnell Clark returned two Villanova fumbles for touchdowns and a fourth Villanova (9-3) fumble set up Youngstown's game-clinching TD. Youngstown (9-2-1) travels to Citadel (11-1) next weekend.
No. 8 Delaware 56, No. 9 Samford 21
At Newark, Del., Bill Vergantino passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to help Delaware build a 21-point halftime lead. The Blue Hens then held off a mild second half rally by the Bulldogs. No. 8 Delaware (10-2) moves into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1986. No. 9 Samford (Ala.) finished 9-3. Delaware will play the winner of the NE Louisiana-Alcorn state game.
No. 4 M. Tenn. St. 35, Appal. St. 10
No. 6 Marshall 44, No. 12 E. Kentucky 0
At Huntington, W.Va., Marshall shut down all-time Division I-AA rushing leader Markus Thomas, who entered the game with 5,556 yards and 54 touchdowns but was held to minus-4 yards rushing on nine carries. Marshall (9-3) will play Middle Tennessee State (10-2), which got two touchdowns each from Walter Crowder and Brigham Lyons. Eastern Kentucky finished 9-3 and Appalachian State finished 7-5.
No. 3 Jacksonville State 14,
No. 16 Northern Alabama 12
No. 5 New Haven 35, Ferris St. 13
At Florence, Ala., North Alabama (7-4-1) missed a 49-yard field goal with 2:17 left and was unable to get the ball back as Jacksonville State (10-1-1) held on in a run-dominated game. At New Haven, Conn., Tony Willis caught a 99-yard scoring pass and threw a 53-yard touchdown as No. 5 New Haven used its big-play offense to beat unranked Ferris State (Mich.) (10-3). The Chargers (12-0) play Jacksonville next Saturday.
No. 1 Pitt. St. 38, No. 2 N. Dakota St. 37
No. 19 Port. St. 35, No. 4 Texas A&I 30
At Pittsburg, Kan., the 1991 Division II champions beat the 1990 champions in overtime when Pittsburg State (13-0) stopped a two-point conversion attempt by North Dakota State (10-1). At Portland, Ore., Portland State avenged a 43-42 loss to Texas A&I earlier this year. Bill Matos threw three TD passes and Rais Aho rushed for two scores. The Vikings (9-3) host Pittsburg next week. Texas A&I finished at 9-3.
Rowan 28, Buffalo St. 19
Wash. & Jeff. 51, Emory & Henry 15
Mount Union 49, Ill-Wesleyan 27
Wis.-La Crosse 34, Cent. Iowa 9
A little-known player from Division III posted some numbers Saturday that any Heisman Trophy candidate would love to have as his own. Chris Babirad, a senior from Washington & Jefferson (Pa.), rushed for 286 yards and four touchdowns and surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for the season in a 51-15 quarterfinal playoff win over Emory & Henry.
At Amherst, N.Y., Ed Hesson threw touchdown passes of 80 and 59 yards and Rhamon Trent returned an onsides kick for the clinching touchdown.