After advancing to the second round of the FCS playoffs last season, the expectations are high for the 2013 South Dakota State football team.

One national publication agrees, Athlon Sports has the Jackrabbits at number 10 in their pre-season poll.  The assessment of SDSU:

Zach Zenner led the FCS in rushing yards (2,044 yards) as a sophomore and is the focal point of the offense.

But the Jackrabbits need quarterback Austin Sumner to provide his 2011 level of production instead of last year’s drop-off.

Sophomore linebacker T.J. Lally is a big-game player already.

SDSU finished 2012 with a 9-4 record and a runner-up finish in the Missouri Valley Conference to eventual National Champion North Dakota State.

The Jackrabbits open the season August 31st at home against Butler.

SDSU has three games against pre-season Top 25 teams on the schedule in 2013.  The Jacks host #1 North Dakota State, September 28th, host #14 Northern Iowa, October 26th, and play at #23 Youngstown State, November 23rd.

One other Missouri Valley Conference team made the Top 25, Illinois State at #24.  The Redbirds are not on the SDSU schedule in 2013.

After NDSU, the rest of the Top 5: Montana State, Georgia Southern, Sam Houston State, and Villanova.