South Dakota State at Montana State FCS Football 2014 Playoffs 1st Round Game Breakdown


South Dakota State at Montana State, Saturday, 4:00

Montana State backed their way into the playoffs following a tough 34-7 loss to rival Montana. However, that was without quarterback Dakota Prukop who was nursing a sprained knee. Prukop should be back for the playoff game against South Dakota State, yet it remains to be seen if he will be effective on the ground. Prukop is this team’s leading rusher so losing his ability to scramble is absolutely huge. That will put a lot of pressure on backs Anthony Knight, Shawn Johnson, Chad Newell and Gunnar Brekke to get something going on the ground.

The Bobcats are also susceptible through the air and have allowed nearly 300 passing yards per game. Only a couple of teams in all of FCS have allowed more yards. And that is why South Dakota State can go into Bozeman and come away with a win. Quarterback Austin Sumner missed most of the season after breaking three bones in his foot in the season opener against Missouri. But he has been back for four games now and has picked up where he left off last season. Against Western Illinois on November 15th, Sumner threw for 366 yards and six touchdowns. He followed it up with 395 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season finale against South Dakota. The Jackrabbits also boast one of the best backs in the country in Zach Zenner. He has rushed for 1,634 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year. Montana State may be able to stop Zenner, but they have been picked apart by quality passing teams and South Dakota State is certainly a quality passing team. This will be a high scoring game and Montana State can, and has, won those types of games, but this is a bad matchup for the Bobcats and South Dakota State will hang right in there and have a good chance to pull off the upset on the road.

Projected Score: South Dakota State 41, Montana 38


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