RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) Narii Gaither rushed for a career-high 245 yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Bailey Fisher ran for three more and Gardner-Webb made its first-ever FCS playoff appearance memorable with a 52-41 win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (7-5) led 31-27 at half and took the game over in the third quarter when Fisher hit T.J. Luther for a 12-yard touchdown pass and ran in from 12 and 16 yards for a 52-27 lead. It's the most points they scored this season since the opener against an Division II playoff qualifer.
Now the Big South automatic qualifier goes to fifth-seeded William & Mary next Saturday. Gardner-Webb lost in the NAIA championship 30 years ago and became FCS eligible 20 years ago. In the two years the Bulldogs won Big South titles, the league didn't have an automatic berth in the playoffs.