FCS Playoffs: South Dakota State Jackrabbits Open at Montana Saturday
SDSU (8-3) is one of just five programs nationwide (NDSU, Coastal Carolina, New Hampshire, Sam Houston State) that has qualified for the playoffs the past four years. Each of the previous three years SDSU has lost on the road in the second round.
The Grizzlies (7-4) finished second in the Big Sky Conference after opening the regular season with a win at home over North Dakota State. The Montana defense has the nation's sack leader, Tyrone Holmes, and a Top Five tackler in the FCS, Kendrick Van Ackeren. Offensively. the Grizzlies score 32 points a game and average 283 yards a game passing and 155 yards rushing.
This will be the eighth meeting between South Dakota State and Montana. The Grizzlies have won all seven previous meetings, most recently a 61-48 loss in the opening round of the FCS Playoffs in 2009.
The winner of the game in Missoula plays at North Dakota State in Round Two.
The Jackrabbits were one win away from securing a Top Eight seed and a first round bye for the first time, but SDSU dropped the regular season finale, 30-24 in double overtime, at Western Illinois.
The Top Eight Seeds:
1. Jacksonville State (10-1)
2. Illinois State (9-2)
3. North Dakota State (9-2)
4. McNeese State (9-0)
5. James Madison (9-2)
6. Portland State (9-2)
7. Richmond (8-3)
8. Charleston Southern (9-2)
Overall, the Missouri Valley Conference qualified five teams. Northern Iowa will host Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois will play at Dayton. All five MVC teams are on the same side of the bracket.