South Dakota State Preview: Jackrabbits Prepare for FCS Playoffs
For the sixth straight season, the FCS Playoffs will include South Dakota State, who, for the second year in a row won't be doing any heavy lifting in round one.
The Jackrabbits (9-2) snagged a program-best number-five seed in the post season, meaning they enjoy a first round bye.
South Dakota State is one of five Missouri Valley Conference teams in the 24-team field.
North Dakota State is the two-seed and has a bye. South Dakota plays on the road at Nicholls State, Western Illinois is at Weber State, and Northern Iowa plays host to Monmouth.
The winner of that game in Cedar Falls will come to Brookings for round two, Saturday, December 2, at 2:00 PM.
In the Division I era, South Dakota State is 4-6 overall in the post season, 2-0 at home.
Last season, the Jackrabbits beat Villanova at home in round two, then fell at North Dakota State in round three.
In 2017, SDSU and NDSU are on opposite sides of the bracket.
Last Saturday (November 18), the Jackrabbits secured that top five seed with a 31-28 win at South Dakota.
SDSU survived an early turnover by their offense, and converted one caused by the defense to score ten points in 13 seconds. That launched a barrage of points in the DakotaDome - 31 in less than 4:30 of the second quarter, as the Jackrabbits clung to a 17-14 lead at the break.
In the second half, the South Dakota State defense thwarted a USD scoring attempt, turning the Coyotes away four times from inside the eight-yard line.
South Dakota did grab the lead briefly later in the third, but 14 straight points from the SDSU offense gave the Jackrabbits a sixth-straight win over their in-state rivals in the Division I era.
I talked with Jackrabbit head coach John Stiegelmeier about the South Dakota win and the first round bye heading into the FCS Playoffs: