Samford at Youngstown State FCS Football 2016 Playoffs First Round Breakdown

Samford at Youngstown State, Saturday, 5:00
Samford lost their final game of the season, a real stinker to East Tennessee State that many prognosticators and bracketologists thought could derail all the good work they did coming into it.  Alas, The Selection Committee overlooked the hiccup and rewarded the Bulldogs one of the final bids in the field.  Their win early in the season over a 9-2 Central Arkansas probably weighed extra heavy in that decision, especially since it was on the road.  You would think with a name like Bulldogs, this team would be grounded and grind up the turf.  The contrary is true, as leading rusher K’rondis Larry didn’t even reach 500 yards for the entire season.  These ‘dogs are a high flying bunch, as they are the #3 passing attack in all of FCS.  They also average better than 38 points per game.  The defense seems like an average bunch, landing in the middle tier of most defensive categories nationally.  Amhad Gooden is very capable of getting to opposing quarterbacks though, as his seven sacks indicates.
Youngstown State returns to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.  And, having waited so long, you figure they’re going to try and make it count.  The Penguins are your typical, stout Missouri Valley Football Conference team.  They beat you down with a relentless defense and chew you up with a running game that controls the clock and keeps the chains moving.  Defensive ends Avery Moss and Derek Rivers might be the best pair in the FCS.  They get after the quarterback and do it often, as the defense leads the nation in sacks.  That’s not to say they aren’t tough against the run either, because they are.  This is a national championship level defense and if their offense can generate just enough scoring, this is a team that could make it to Frisco, Texas.  That’ll involve a couple road wins to do it, but playing in the MVFC will have them well prepared for anything they see in the tournament.
One has to wonder how this game is going to play out.  The Samford offense vs. Youngstown State defense looks to be the time when the chips are on the table.  The Bulldogs reliance on the passing game plays into the Penguins strength of getting after the quarterback.  Samford gives up points, but it seems to be against teams with better offenses than they’ll be facing here.  This is definitely one of the more intriguing first round games.  You figure Jacksonville State will be glued to the television to see who they have to play, even more than normal.
Projected Score: Youngstown State 20, Samford 17