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FCS Playoffs 2022: Quarterfinal Results, Semifinal Schedule and Bracket Update

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured Columnist IVDecember 10, 2022

FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA - NOVEMBER 19: Cam Miller #7 of the North Dakota State Bison passes against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Fargodome on November 19, 2022 in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo by Sean Arbaut/Getty Images)
Sean Arbaut/Getty Images

The 2022 FCS playoff quarterfinals unfolded over two days with four berths in the semifinals at stake.

One major upset headlined the proceedings as a top-two seed took a fall, stirring up guaranteed chaos despite a recent champion and the top seed advancing to the final four.

Below, we'll outline the quarterfinal results and preview the semifinals.


Friday, Saturday Quarterfinal Scores

No. 3 North Dakota State 27, No. 6 Samford 9

No. 4 Montana State 55, No. 5 William & Mary 7

No. 7 UIW 66, No. 2 Sacramento State 63

No. 1 South Dakota State 42, No. 8 Holy Cross 21


Semifinal Matchups and Schedule

No. 3 North Dakota State vs. No. 7 UIW (Friday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m. ET)

No. 4 Montana State vs. No. 1 South Dakota State (Saturday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2)

Full bracket available at NCAA.com.


Semifinal Preview

Defending champion North Dakota State, the third seed this year, didn't flirt with an upset by any means during a 27-9 dismissal of sixth-seeded Samford in the quarterfinals.

Quarterback Cam Miller went 15-of-18 with 194 yards and a passing touchdown and added 21 yards and a score on the ground. His offense chewed 39:05 of game clock by way of 48 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense didn't give up a touchdown until near the end of the fourth quarter.

Now NDSU, a semifinalist in 11 of the last 12 seasons and champion nine times since 2011, has to face an upset-minded Incarnate Word.

"I wouldn't say there is any pressure," Miller said, per Eric Peterson of InForum. "This program is going to do what it does."

But the magical season for No. 7 Cardinals has a stunning bit of momentum. In the quarterfinals, the San Antonio school took down No. 2 Sacramento State when quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. threw a game-winner with 27 seconds left.

The highest-scoring game in FCS playoff history earned UIW a semifinal spot for the first time in the program's 10-year history in Division I.

UIW Football @UIWFootball

๐—ฆ๐—˜๐— ๐—œ๐—™๐—œ๐—ก๐—”๐—Ÿ๐—ฆ ๐—•๐—ข๐—จ๐—ก๐—— ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheWord?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheWord</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FCSPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FCSPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/3qbUyWRObR">pic.twitter.com/3qbUyWRObR</a>

Scott changes the outlook on what was otherwise the Bison looking like predictable favorites in the semifinals. In the upset, he threw for 219 yards and four touchdowns, plus rushed for 166 yards and two more scores. That explosive output is a possible counter to NDSU's ball-controlling style.

The other semifinal offers similar vibes.

Top-seeded South Dakota State fell behind eighth-seeded Holy Cross 14-6 in the first half of their quarterfinal matchup. An interception return for a touchdown broke the 14-14 tie before Mark Gronowski threw for a touchdown and ran for another late in the fourth quarter.

SDSU Football @GoJacksFB

MARK! GRONOWSKI!<br><br>Q4 2:39 | SDSU 35, Holy Cross 21<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoJacks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoJacks</a> ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿˆ<br>๐Ÿ“น: ESPN <a href="https://t.co/wbgVqIqiWT">pic.twitter.com/wbgVqIqiWT</a>

Fourth-seeded Montana State didn't have issues in its quarterfinals, blowing out fifth-seeded William & Mary.

Running back Isaiah Ifanse ran for 162 yards and two scores on a 14.7 per-carry average, and quarterback Tommy Mellott had the team's other three rushing scores. William & Mary broke up the shutout with roughly three minutes left.

That sets up a matchup between two offenses that prefer to impose their wills on the ground.

Entering the quarterfinals, Montana State led the FCS by averaging 331.8 rushing yards per game to the Jackrabbits' 165.8 (45th), so the task is again immense for the bracket's top seed.

And of course, the possibility of an all-Dakota title game remains, though two upset-minded upstarts have eyes on keeping special stories of their own alive.