South Dakota State at North Dakota State FCS Playoff Game Breakdown

#5 South Dakota State at #1 North Dakota State
South Dakota State had the displeasure of playing in an absolute quagmire at Kennesaw State. A paid attendance of 3,242 showed up to watch. Yes, the conditions were horrible, but the lack of support for the Owls? Their fans need to be chastised for it. The Jackrabbits jumped out to a 20-3 lead, but an Owls comeback in the fourth did make things interesting. Had Owls quarterback Chandler Burks not been injured, who knows? Back-up David Daniel did well though. But SDSU quarterback Taryn Christion showed up clutch, running in a 15 yard touchdown with 2:22 remaining. The real star of the game was Pierre Strong, Jr., who took the ball 18 times, rushing for 112 yards on the slick, sloppy field. Not to be forgotten was the defense, who gave up a lot of yardage, but stopped the Owls option attack at the most crucial moments. Besides the one interception, they did force five fumbles, recovering one.
North Dakota State was supposedly given the tougher half of the bracket. Hmm? You wouldn’t know it by the results. Beating Montana State by 41 was impressive. Then they come back this week against the #1 rated defense in the FCS and showed Colgate what the clamps were really all about, shutting the Raiders out 35-0. The Bison held Colgate to 157 yards of offense. Honestly though, the Bison offense had a tough time consistently revving up like normal. Had they not played a defense as talented as Colgate’s, they may have scored in the 60s. The “dentist chair’s” offense just kept grinding, like a squealing drill, eventually tiring out the Raiders defense. Quarterback Easton Stick was ultra-efficient, going 14-19 for 205 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Lance Dunn did get injured, but the Bison grow backs like apples. Bruce Anderson and Ty Brooks each scored a touchdown on the ground, averaging over eight yards per carry each, collectively totaling 189 yards.
It’s Missouri Valley Football Conference rematch time. When these two met in late September, it was a true knockdown, drag out affair, with the Bison prevailing 21-17. It took a fourth quarter, five yard touchdown plunge by Easton Stick to pull out victory. In fact, it’s the only game all season the Bison won by single digits. The Fargo Dome will be packed and rockin’, but you know that the Jackrabbits will not be overwhelmed, they played here many, many times. This is a symbolic setting, as SDSU has ascended to this position and the neighbors to the north have been the ones standing in their way. If they were to ever make the FCS title climb complete, the Bison are the dragon they need to slay to enter those gates. But not this year. Sorry.
Prediction: North Dakota State 27, South Dakota State 16