Youngstown State at Jacksonville State FCS Football 2016 Playoffs Second Round Breakdown

Youngstown State at Jacksonville State, Saturday, 2:00 pm
Youngstown State was passed on for almost 400 yards by Samford in the First Round.  But that is a little misleading.  With ten minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Penguins were ahead by 28 points.  So despite the damage that was being done through the air, it was having little effect on the scoreboard.  By the same measure, Samford got nothing going on the ground.  Part of that is Samford’s approach and a part of it is Youngstown State’s defense.  They are the best sacking team in the country, one spot better than their opponent this week...which means quarterbacks should beware!  They’re coming to get you!  The Penguins Jody Webb ran roughshod on Samford’s defense for 174 yards and if he’s able to do that again this week, an upset is definitely possible.  Quarterback Hunter Wells through only 12 passes, but completed 8 for almost 150 yards.  That kind of efficiency is what really counts in the playoffs.
Jacksonville State is looking to make their way back to the FCS championship game like they did last year.  Having the week off and the ability to watch YSU is going to be a luxury.  Quarterback Eli Jenkins is one of the country’s most versatile weapons.  Throw in Running backs Roc Thomas and Josh Clemons and you’ve got a lot to be worried about.  Josh Barge is a record reception and yardage wide receiver for the Gamecocks.  As mentioned above, this defense gets after it something fierce.  Defensive end Darius Jackson, in particular, is a sack master extraordinaire.  If they’re able to impose their will on the Penguin offense, it could be a very cheerful day in Alabama.
Something has to be said about the level of competition here.  Youngstown State has been grinding against the MVFC, hardening and, to a degree, hurting themselves.  Jacksonville State is the lone representative of the OVC.  Even for a conference not seen in the same breath as the “other Valley”, the Colonial or Big Sky, the OVC wasn’t very well thought of in 2016.  There was more than one occasion where the Gamecocks didn’t take care of business you would have expected them to.  This will be their biggest test, maybe in months.  Are they up to it?
Projected Score: Youngstown State 17, Jacksonville State 16