DAYTONA BEACH — Game-changing adjustments usually happen on the field. But the decision to bench starting quarterbacks for both Bethune-Cookman and New Hampshire came just hours before Saturday's kickoff at Municipal Stadium.
B-CU coach Brian Jenkins sat Matt Johnson, voted MEAC offensive player of the year, despite receiving clearance from team doctors for a left shoulder injury. Jackie Wilson, a freshman backup, stepped in but the Wildcats lost 45-20 in the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs.
"Matt was ready to go and our doctors did one heck of a job working on him and getting him prepared," Jenkins said. "But the young man hadn't really taken a lot of reps during the week and I looked at as if that were my son would I want him put in harm's way by a coach? No."
New Hampshire senior quarterback R.J. Toman told coaches during warmups that he could not play because of an ankle injury. Backup Kevin Decker threw a career-high three touchdowns and completed 22-of-34 for 264 yards.
Wilson also had a career-high three touchdown passes and completed 16-of-32 for 192 yards.
B-CU (10-2) erased a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to tie the score at 14 at halftime.
But inexperience hurt the Wildcats on both sides of the ball. Freshman defensive back Dion Hanks whiffed on a tackle late in the third quarter, letting receiver Chris Chandler finish a 63-yard touchdown and give New Hampshire (8-4) a 28-14 lead. UNH next faces Delaware in the quarterfinals.
APPALACHIAN ST. 42, W. ILLINOIS 14: Quarterback DeAndre Presley, a former Middleton High star, rushed for 264 yards and two scores on a snowy field for the host Mountaineers (10-2). Appalachian State next faces defending champ Villanova.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 31, WILLIAM & MARY 15: Jaybo Shaw ran for three touchdowns as the visiting Eagles (9-4) upset the Tribe, which was seeded second. Georgia Southern next faces Wofford.
VILLANOVA 54, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 24: The visiting Wildcats (8-4) erased a 21-7 deficit and scored the final 40 points to open their title defense.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.