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FCS Playoff Review: Southeastern Louisiana 45, Villanova 44

(Photo by Randy Bergeron/SLU Sports Info)

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

The Score - Southeastern Louisiana (8-4) beat Villanova (9-4) 45-44 in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

Story Line - In a shootout, Southeastern's Chason Virgil connected with C.J. Turner for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 2:56 left and Bryce Broussard kicked the extra point for a 45-44 lead. Less than two minutes earlier, Villanova had gone ahead 44-38, but missed the PAT attempt.

Game Balls - Both quarterbacks were up to the task. Virgil completed 36 of 49 passes for a career-high 474 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Villanova's Daniel Smith passed for 283 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 90 yards and another score.

Key Stats - Villanova committed 11 penalties for 108 yards, including Jaaron Hayek getting called for offensive interference to negate his 40-yard touchdown catch with 1:31 left. After leading 31-14 at halftime, the Wildcats allowed 31 points in the second half, which means the CAA Football squad was outscored 99-34 after halftime in its four losses.

The Takeaway - Villanova ended the regular season with a No. 8 ranking, so it marked Southeastern's third victory over a Top 8 opponent this season. The Southland squad willed itself to the win, having never led until 45-44. It was the highest-scoring playoff game since Sam Houston State defeated South Dakota 54-42 in the 2017 second round.

Up Next - Southeastern next plays at No. 6 seed Montana (9-3) in the second round Dec. 7 (3 p.m. ET). The Griz are in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, but it's their 24th overall appearance - the FCS record.

Updated November 30, 2019

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