Davidson to face Jacksonville State in FCS Playoffs opening round

Sunday, April 18, 2021
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Pioneer Football League champion Davidson, making its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Football Championship, travels to face Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State in a 2 p.m. (ET), Saturday contest at JSU Stadium.

The winner of the Davidson-Jacksonville State matchup will face the Delaware-Sacred Heart winner in a May 1-2 quarterfinal contest.

Davidson (4-2) won the PFL Championship for the first time in program history. The Wildcats ended San Diego’s 39-game conference win streak, April 3, en route to the title. Davidson becomes the fourth different team in PFL history to play in the FCS Playoffs.

The triple-option-based Davidson offense caused fits all season and is led by quarterback Tyler Phelps who averaged just 102.8 passing yards per game but three of his six touchdown throws came in the April 3 victory at San Diego. He was one of three backs to post 300-plus rushing yards.

That Wildcats running corps also included Coy Williams, who ran for 459 yards and six touchdowns in six games, and Dylan Sparks, who added a team-best 519 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Davidson led the PFL with 1,763 rushing yards this season, averaging 293.8 yards per game, and scoring 15 rushing touchdowns.

Defensive lineman Jonathan Hammond paced Davidson with a PFL-leading 8.5 tackles for loss (1.42 per game), including 7.5 in league play, and was third in sacks (4.0, 0.67/game). Linebackers Jake Alexander and Jalen Jefferson each recorded 40 tackles, ranking among the league’s Top 10 tacklers.


The NCAA Football Championship began in 1978 with a four-team field. It has expanded over the years to its current 24-team format. The Pioneer Football League first received an automatic bid during the 2013 expansion.

2013: Tennessee State 31, at Butler 0

2014: at Montana 52, San Diego 14

2015: Western Illinois 24, at Dayton 7

2016: San Diego 35, at Cal Poly 21 | at North Dakota State 45, San Diego 7

2017: San Diego 41, at Northern Arizona 10 | at North Dakota State 38, San Diego 3

2018: at Nicholls 49, San Diego 30

2019: at Northern Iowa 17, San Diego 3

2020: Davidson at Jacksonville State