San Diego at North Dakota State FCS Football 2016 Playoffs Second Round Breakdown

San Diego at North Dakota State, Saturday, 3:30 pm
Everybody knew for San Diego to have a chance to pull the First Round upset over Cal Poly, running back Jonah Hodges was going to have to supply a balancing threat for quarterback Anthony Lawrence’s passing game.  Well, Hodges busted out for 171 yards to go with Lawrence’s 296 through the air.  Most would consider that a major success.  The defense, which had obvious questions, not because of their numbers but because of their quality of opponents, put the clamps on the Mustangs triple option offense.  The Toreros win for the first time in the FCS Playoffs.  Their reward?  A trip to the FargoDome to play the five time defending national champions.  For any kind of success to happen again, a similar effort with even better results are going to be needed.
The Bison are going to be fresh, at least as fresh as a team can be after playing a MVFC schedule the last two months.  NDSU’s defense is top notch and they are highly ranked nationally in many important statistics.  Playing the schedule they have, to average only 16.2 points against is phenomenal.  And if you toss out the 44 points they gave up in a win to Eastern Washington, that drops to 13.4.  Guys like defensive end Greg Menard lead an overall group in the front seven who get to the quarterback an average of almost three times per game.  They can be beaten through the air occasionally, but you better do it well, because the ground game is usually closed.  Offensively, they are the opposite.  They grind opponents down with a triplet of different running backs, led by Lance Dunn and a quarterback, Easton Stick, who makes plays with his legs even more often than with his arm.  Their talented line usually has opposing defenders completely gassed by the end of the third quarter.
In the end, the best way for San Diego to help themselves would be to keep the Bison offense off the field.  The Toreros are very capable statistically at staying on the field offensively, but doing so in front of this crowd might be a different story.  No disrespect to Cal Poly, but there’s a huge step up from the mid-levels of most major FCS conferences to the king of the dance.
Projected Score: North Dakota State 42, San Diego 14