CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Erik Meyer connected with Eric Kimble on a 45-yard touchdown pass with 1:49 left Saturday as Eastern Washington rallied and stunned top-ranked Southern Illinois 35-31 in the opening round of the NCAA Division I-AA football playoffs.
Eastern Washington (9-3) will now face Sam Houston State, a 54-24 winner over Western Kentucky, in the second round.
Meyer, who threw 28 TD passes during the season, brought Eastern Washington back from a 17-7 halftime deficit and a 24-14 hole midway through the third quarter.
His third TD pass of the game to Kimble capped a five-play 75-yard drive that took just 42 seconds and gave the Eagles their four-point lead.
SIU (10-3) took the ensuing kickoff and moved from its own 22 to the Eastern Washington 22, the big play was a 22-yard pass from Joel Sambursky to Kellen Allen.
Following a facemask penalty, the Salukis had a first-and-five at the 22, but Sambursky's final two passes fell incomplete.
Meyer finished 31-of-44 for 437 yards. His 10-yard scoring toss to Kimble at the end of the third quarter pulled the Eagles to within 24-21, and Eastern took its first lead early in the final period on Darius Washington's 7-yard run, his second TD of the game.
But Southern Illinois put together a nine-play 99-yard drive, capped by Brandon Jacobs' 3-yard TD run, to take a 31-28 lead with 2:37 left. It was Jacobs' fourth TD of the game.
Then Meyer needed just five plays, keeping for seven yards and completing three of four passes, including the big one to Kimble, to get the Eagles the lead again.
Kimble caught 11 passes for 195 yards. Jacobs rushed for 166 yards on 25 carries to lead SIU, which was outgained 568-462.
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Former Florida starter Ingle Martin threw four touchdowns to lead Furman to its first NCAA Division I-AA playoff victory in three years, a rout of Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State.
Martin had scoring passes of 48 and 3 yards to Isaac West and a TD throw of 3 yards to Brian Bratton as the Paladins (10-2) took a 21-0 lead and were never pressured by the Gamecocks (9-2). Martin finished 14 of 19 for 282 yards.
Furman, the 1988 national champs, hadn't won a playoff game since reaching the Division I-AA championship game in 2001.
Martin's touchdown passes gave him a school record 21 for the season, surpassing the mark of 19 set by Furman coach Bobby Lamb in 1984. He also matched Lamb's record of four touchdown throws in a playoff win over Rhode Island in 1985.
Jacksonville State, which won the OVC for the second straight year, again lost decisively in the opening round. The Gamecocks fell at Western Kentucky, 45-7 a year ago.
The Paladins shared the Southern Conference championship and were seeded second in the NCAA's 16-team playoffs. That success continued against Jacksonville State.
On Furman's second possession, Martin connected with Bratton on a 19-yard pass and then went deep to West for the Paladins first touchdown.
-- From wire reprots