2011 FCS Playoffs: Previews and Predictions for Both Semifinal Games

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2011

2011 FCS Playoffs: Previews and Predictions for Both Semifinal Games

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    There may not be a playoff for the Div. 1-A schools, but there is one in the FCS ranks and it’s now in the semifinal stages.

    North Dakota State will take on Georgia Southern, and Sam Houston State will battle with Montana for spots in the championship game.

    Montana versus SHSU will be played tonight at 8p.m. EST, and Georgia Southern versus NDSU is at 2:30p.m. EST on Saturday.

    Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to see in those games.

North Dakota State vs. Georgia Southern

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    Some people who only follow FBS football know about Georgia Southern, because it is the team that scored 21 points on Alabama, the most the Tide allowed all season.

    The Eagles run the triple option offense to perfection with Georgia Tech transfer Jaybo Shaw at quarterback. They average a whopping 334 rushing yards per game.

    The team does have a loss to 8-4 Appalachian State, though.

    North Dakota State is one of the most complete teams in the FCS, averaging 32 points per game while allowing a nation best 13.

    The star for this team is cornerback Marcus Williams, who has 11 interceptions in two years as well as an incredible 25 pass breakups.

Sam Houston State vs. Montana

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    Sam Houston is the only school to still be undefeated this season and for good reason. The Bearkats rank first in scoring offense and second in scoring defense. The only game they didn't win by seven or more points was against an FBS opponent.

    They also win the turnover battle by a phenomenal average of two per game.

    Montana is one of the powerhouses of FCS and have won every game since the end of September.

    The Grizzlies win games by dominating the line of scrimmage—they rank 16th and 12th out of 120 teams in sacks and tackles for loss, respectively, and seventh in sacks allowed.


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    The triple option is one of the most difficult things to defend in college football, because it requires absolute concentration and solid assignment defense. North Dakota State has not faced it all year and hasn’t at all since 2007, when they edged Cal Poly 31-28.

    Georgia Southern is much better than that team and matches up well defensively with what NDSU does on offense. The Eagles should get the win.

    Montana doesn’t have any weaknesses as a team, ranking in the top half of the country in every major statistical category, but they face a Sam Houston State team with no real weaknesses, either.

    This could be a really entertaining game, so be sure to watch tonight. The edge has to go to the undefeated team.