The 2018 FCS Playoffs are here and we've got game-by-game wrap ups.
[divider]COMPARE: Any Two FCS Players | Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
No. 4 Kennesaw State 13
Next up: No. 5 South Dakota State
Time/Date: Dec. 7 or Dec. 8 | TV: ESPN family
COMPARE: Kennesaw vs. SDSU
PREDICTIONS: What Did We Get Wrong in the 2nd Round?
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Anthony Gore, LB — Kennesaw State
The Big South Defensive Player of the Year was seemingly unblockable in the Owls' win, and forced a turnover late in the fourth quarter that led to his team's victory. He finished the game with 12 total tackles, 10 solo tackles, 4 tackles for loss and the key forced fumble. In a game where the entire Kennesaw defense should be lauded for its strong performance, Gore's individual numbers stand out.
OTHER STAT STANDOUTS:
Darnell Holland, RB — KSU: 6 carries, 74 yards (53-yard rushing TD)
Bryson Armstrong, LB — KSU: 8 tackles (7 solo), 2 TFL
Cincere Mason, DB — KSU: 4 tackles (2 solo), INT
Justin Thompson, K — KSU: 2/3 FGs
Joe Newman, QB — WOF: 8-13 for 153 yards, 1 TD/1INT
D'mauriae VanCleave, WR — WOF: 5 catches, 93 yards (57-yard receiving TD)
Miles Brown, DT — WOF: 10 solo tackles, 2 TFL
NFL DRAFT: Top FCS Prospects For 2019
THE TURNING POINT
With the game tied 10-10 and Wofford facing a third-and-11 late in the fourth quarter, Anthony Gore continued his huge afternoon with a strip sack of Wofford QB Joe Newman. Andrew Butcher recovered for Kennesaw State, the Owls converted a field goal to take a 13-10 lead, and held off the Terriers' last push to win the game and advance.
COACH RUMORS: FCS Carousel
A messy first quarter featured numerous penalties, less than 60 combined yards on offense and zero points on the scoreboard. Kennesaw State drew first blood with a 53-yard touchdown run from Darnell Holland on the first play of the second quarter to cap a 7-play, 79-yard scoring drive. Wofford fired right back with a 57-yard touchdown connection from Joe Newman to D'mauriae VanCleave to tie things up. A pair of field goals made it a 10-10 game at the half.
The brief offensive explosion in the second quarter didn't last long. The rest of the game was a defensive battle, as no more points were scored until about two minutes remained in the fourth quarter. Rain didn't help the offenses much, but it wasn't the only factor. Both defenses came out of the half on fire and held the other offense without a big play pretty much the entirety of the second half.
Both defenses forced second-half turnovers, but Gore's forced fumble for KSU late in the fourth proved to be the only turnover that led to points. Justin Thompson's 30-yard field goal with 1:36 left in the game was the difference for the Owls.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
Kennesaw State advances to the quarterfinals for the second time already in the school's brief football history. They will host No. 5 South Dakota State.
It's worth keeping an eye on the status of KSU quarterback Chandler Burks, who missed the Owls' last offensive snap of the game with an injury. We'll monitor the situation and update when more information is available.
THE REST OF THE GAMES
Jacksonville State at No. 7 Maine
James Madison at No. 7 Colgate
Nicholls at No. 3 Eastern Washington
Northern Iowa at No. 6 UC Davis