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Bennett rallies Southeastern Louisiana to playoff win

Hammond, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Bryan Bennett's 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley with 36 seconds left lifted Southeastern Louisiana past Sam Houston State, 30-29, in the second round of the FCS playoffs Saturday night.

After winning their first-ever FCS playoff game, the sixth-seeded Lions (11-2) will host New Hampshire (9-4) in a national quarterfinal next Saturday.

The second-round game was a meeting of two Southland Conference programs, and, just like the regular season, SELU won at home. But the result couldn't just be explained in the fact the conference champions are 7-0 at home this season and Sam Houston finished the year 0-5 on the road.

That's because Sam Houston (9-5), which had reached the last two national championship games, had a chance to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter and pull an upset. But SELU forced a punt and took possession of the ball down with 1:29 left, still needing to go 85 yards for a touchdown with a 29-24 deficit.

Bennett, the Southland player of the year, completed six passes on the quick- strike, six-play drive. A 25-yard completion to Marquis Fruge' at the Sam Houston 1 set up the TD pass to a wide-open Smiley on the ensuing play.

A two-point conversion failed, but the SELU defense held off a final Sam Houston possession.

Bennett, a transfer from the University of Oregon, completed 19-of-33 pass attempts for 286 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed for 83 yards and his 15th touchdown on 19 carries.

Sam Houston jumped to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter, getting one of its touchdowns on DeAntry Loche's 12-yard return of an interception thrown by Bennett.

But the Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, going ahead 24-21 on Bennett's 16-yard touchdown pass to Fruge' with 32 seconds left in the first half.

Sam Houston linebacker Eric Fielo sacked Bennett in the SELU end zone for a safety to pull the Bearkats within 24-23 midway through the third quarter.

The Bearkats then took the lead in the fourth quarter on quarterback Brian Bell's 2-yard keeper, which put them ahead 29-24 at the 10:58 mark.

The visitors had a balanced effort in gaining 287 yards on the ground. Timothy Flanders led the way with 82 yards on 21 carries, including his 15th touchdown of the season.

12/08 00:55:08 ET

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Scoreboard
MLB
Final
BAL 5
TOR 2
Final
NYM 5
MIA 6
Final
TAM 1
NYY 0
Final
ATL 2
WAS 4
Final
CHC 1
CIN 0
Final
KAN 4
CWS 3
Final
HOU 3
CLE 1
Final
MIN 6
DET 8
Final
COL 3
LOS 11
Final
ARI 6
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
SEA 1
Final
SDP 1
PHI 0
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
CIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
MIL
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
LOS
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
SEA
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
PHI
 
Final
IND 27
PHI 30