Nov. 29 - A full season of work was lost in one day at McNeese State. McNeese State, the top seed and No. 1 team in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll, crashed out of the Division I-AA playoffs on Saturday with a 35-3 loss to Northern Arizona.
InsertArt(2081855)MCNEESE STATE (10-2), THE Southland Conference champion, had won nine in a row since suffering its only loss to Division I-A Kansas State. The Cowboys also were the top seed last year and won three home games en route to the finals.
Jason Murrietta threw five touchdown passes for Northern Arizona (9-3), including two to Chris Nash.
While the Cowboys struggled, freshman Justin Haddix and Lerron Moore opened Western Kentucky’s Division I-AA national title defense in fine style.
Haddix threw three touchdowns and Moore had five carries for 137 yards and a touchdown as the Hilltoppers cruised to a 45-7 triumph over Jacksonville State in one of eight first-round playoff games Saturday.
The Hilltoppers (9-3) scored the game’s first 42 points as they won their first playoff game under David Elson, who took over for the retired Jack Harbaugh after they beat McNeese State in last season’s title game.
Jacksonville State (8-4) was outgained, 534-192, as it had a six-game winning streak snapped.
In other first-round matchups completed Saturday afternoon, No. 2 seed Delaware (12-1) rolled over Southern Illinois (10-2), 48-7; third-seeded Wofford (11-1) beat North Carolina A&T (10-3), 31-10; and No. 4 seed Colgate (13-0) won its 19th straight game, 19-7 over Massachusetts (10-3).
Also, Western Illinois (9-3) edged Montana (9-4) in double overtime, 43-40, when David Akers and Fu’Ad Khaleel blocked the Grizzlies’ final field goal attempt.
Florida Atlantic (10-3) also advanced to the next round with a 32-24 triumph over Bethune-Cookman (9-3. Northern Iowa (10-2) also advanced, defeating Montana State, 35-14.
Quarterfinal and semifinal games will be played at campus sites the next two weeks, leading to the national championship December 19 at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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