Northern Iowa at South Dakota State FCS Football 2017 Playoffs Second Round Breakdown

Of all the games played in the First Round, Northern Iowa might have been the most impressive. Beating Monmouth, 46-7, was probably not a surprise to anyone, but the size of the margin probably was. The Panthers almost always play close games. But they’re also one of those teams that if they can get an early advantage, their defense can really throw the clamps on and suffocate an opponent. That’s precisely what they did October 14, on a trip to South Dakota State. The weather was absolutely miserable as constant rain and persistent winds made the day horrible for almost everyone. Everyone except UNI. This game was probably the calling out party to their annual late season charge.
When the brackets came out, South Dakota State had to know the Panthers would be coming back to Brookings. Considering this was the last team to beat them, it’s probably welcomed. That game was a wake-up call. The vultures looked like they were starting to circle the Jackrabbits’ playoff dreams, as the season closed towards the end. A road demolition of Western Illinois and a home win over NDSU and things are drastically different. SDSU has to feel like exorcising the 2017 Panthers is a nightmare they must face to proceed with their dreams.
As with most of the Second Round games, there seems to be a compelling storyline. Figuring some of them are also match-ups of conference teams, it makes it that much more fun. These two teams are playing their best right now, so something has to give. Having already won in this venue has to give the Panthers more confidence than your typical traveler this weekend. Strange factors in this game. UNI is a dome team, but sloppy, inclement weather probably favors their style. Fair, less than windy conditions, probably favors SDSU’s high-octane, more finesse offense.
Projection: Northern Iowa 27, South Dakota State 23