LAKE CHARLES — Jeremiah Briscoe passed for 313 yards and three touchdowns, and Sam Houston State ended McNeese State’s perfect season with a 34-29 win in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday night.
Sam Houston State (10-3), which failed to score on offense in a 27-10 loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 7, rolled up 494 total yards and 26 first downs against the No. 2 scoring defense in the FCS.
Two second-half TD passes from Daniel Sams cut Sam Houston’s lead to five, and the Pokes had first-and-goal at the Bearkats’ 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. But they punted after penalties and sacks backed them up to fourth-and-39, and Briscoe led a clock-killing 11-play drive to ice the game.
Sams finished 11 of 20 for 147 yards with four touchdown passes and an interception for McNeese State (10-1). He also rushed for 75 yards.
Sam Houston State advances to face Colgate in the FCS quarterfinals.
LOUISIANA-MONROE 42, NEW MEXICO STATE 35: In Monroe, Trey Caldwell’s fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown proved the difference as Louisiana-Monroe beat New Mexico State in a game filled with big plays.
Caldwell stepped in front of a quick out by Andrew Allen and went 40 yards for the deciding score.
New Mexico State (3-9, 3-5 Sun Belt) opened a 14-0 lead on Allen’s 76-yard pass to Jordan Bergstrom. ULM’s Earnest Carrington hit Marcus Green from 49 yards to halve the deficit, and later he hooked up with DeVontae McNeal on a 74-yard touchdown pass. Louisiana-Monroe trailed 21-14 at halftime.
On the Warhawks’ first second-half possession, Carrington fumbled being sacked, and Stephen Meredith returned it 9 yards to put the Aggies up two touchdowns.
Brian Williams relieved Carrington and Louisiana-Monroe (2-11, 1-7) scored on three straight possessions as Williams connected with three receivers for scores.
Allen’s 10-yard scoring strike to Bergstrom tied it at 35, but on the next drive, he was picked off by Caldwell. for the winning score.