Dominique Swope ran 12 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 remaining, and Georgia Southern’s defense helped erase a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter and beat Old Dominion 49-35 in Norfolk, Va., in the FCS quarterfinals.
Jerick McKinnon ran for four touchdowns for the Eagles (10-3), who completed just two passes all day but ran for 602 yards in pursuit of their seventh national championship.
They trailed 35-21 entering the final quarter, then scored the final 28 points to reach the semifinals.
Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who broke Steve McNair’s single-season passing yardage record during the game and became the first quarterback with over 5,000 yards in a season, fumbled to set up the Eagles’ tying drive in the fourth quarter, then threw incomplete on fourth-and-6 from his own 39.
Three plays later, Swope’s second touchdown run put Georgia Southern in front to stay. It was the second consecutive season the Eagles have dispatched the Monarchs (11-2) from the playoffs in a thriller.
Swope finished with 186 rushing yards, and McKinnon had 171.
The Monarchs seemed in control when they stopped the Eagles on four consecutive drives spanning the halves and opened a 35-21 lead on Heinicke’s third touchdown pass, 8 yards to Nick Mayers, with 2:53 remaining in the third quarter. But then the Eagles defense rose to the occasion.
Bison hold Wofford’s offense to zero points
Sam Ojuri and Zach Vraa scored touchdowns, and North Dakota State rode its top-rated defense to a 14-7 victory over Wofford in Fargo, N.D., in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.
The Bison (12-1) forced two turnovers, blocked a field goal and did not allow an offensive touchdown. They advanced to the semifinals against Georgia Southern.
Wofford’s best shot at a tying touchdown ended on downs at the NDSU 6 with less than 4 minutes left.
Wofford (9-4) scored on a 35-yard interception by Blake Wylie in the second quarter. Standout Terriers fullback Kyle Breitenstein, the No. 2 rusher in FCS, ran for 135 yards. Wofford attempted only seven passes.
Cole Jirek and Andre Martin Jr. recovered fumbles and Anthony LaVoy blocked a field goal for NDSU.