NOTE: For a deeper look at the FCS Playoff automatic berth situation, see chart at the bottom of story. It changes by the hour.
[divider]COMPARE: Any CFB Team | Any CFB Player[divider]
Central Connecticut State and San Diego became the first two programs in the FCS playoffs with their early wins on Saturday, clinching the Northeast Conference and Pioneer League respectively. For the Blue Devils, it was their fifth Northeast Conference championship, but the first time the program ever received a berth into the FCS Playoffs.
The Blue Devils scored the game's final 14 points and claimed the title with a 28-27 road victory at Duquesne on Saturday. The win is the seventh straight for the Blue Devils, its longest winning streak since the 1967 season, as Central earns the league's automatic berth to the NCAA FCS playoffs. Central has one regular season game remaining, next Saturday at home vs. Robert Morris at 12 p.m.
Jacob Dolegala finished the game 21-of-33 for 276 yards and two touchdowns for the Blue Devils, including the game-winner. He also rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Nash rushed 19 times for 90 yards and caught a touchdown. Courtney Rush caught five passes for 82 yards and Jose Garcia grabbed five for 80, including a key catch in the fourth quarter to keep a scoring drive alive. Kenneth Keen led the defense with nine tackles, including two for a loss. Seth Manzanares and Randall Laguerre each added seven stops for the defense.
For San Diego, there's a certain measure of "been there, done that" as the Toreros won the Pioneer League title last year, beat the Big Sky's Cal-Poly in the first round, and played the five-time defending national champion North Dakota State Bison in the FargoDome. It was quite the experience. They once again have been perfect in league play and now they'll be in the first round again, likely against a Big Sky team.
Quarterback Anthony Lawrence was nearly perfect in the first 30 minutes as he completed 18-of-22 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
"Our goal every year is to win the PFL Championship and earn a trip to the playoffs," head coach Dale Lindsey said after San Diego's win. "Going into the season we knew we had a lot of new pieces to make that happen again. We had great leadership from our seniors throughout the season and had a core group of freshman that played a key role in our success. I couldn't be happier for our players, coaching staff and school that we are heading back to the playoffs."
Along with CCSU and San Diego wrapping up automatic bids, Wofford clinched a bid — but the Terriers already were going to be in the playoffs. Other FCS schools could clinch by the end of today.[divider]
Here's a quick look at the automatic FCS Playoff bids as of 6 p.m. ET on Saturday
|Big South||Kennesaw or Monmouth|
|OVC||**Jacksonville St. clinched|
|Patriot||Colgate or Lehigh|
|Pioneer||**San Diego clinched|