South Dakota State vs. Montana State: FCS Playoffs 2021 TV Info, Time, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 17, 2021

FILE - South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong runs with the ball during an NCAA football game against Minnesota, Aug. 29, 2019, in Minneapolis. Strong was selected to The Associated Press FCS All-America team. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton- King, File)
Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

The Montana State Bobcats and South Dakota State Jackrabbits tore apart the order in the top half of the FCS playoff bracket. 

Montana State advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal with a 42-19 upset win over the top-seeded Sam Houston State Bearkats. 

South Dakota State won three times on the road as an unseeded team to earn a trip to Bozeman, Montana. 

South Dakota State is looking to get back to the FCS National Championship for the second season in a row. The Jackrabbits fell to Sam Houston State in May after the FCS shifted its season from the fall to spring.

Montana State is playing for its second trip to the title game and first since it won the championship back in 1984. 


South Dakota State vs. Montana State Info

Date: Saturday, December 18

Start Time: 2 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Game Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: South Dakota State (-5.5) 

Over/Under: 47 

Money Line: South Dakota State (-210; bet $210 to win $100); Montana State (+175; bet $100 to win $175) 



South Dakota State is the weaker team in seeding only.

The Jackrabbits are more than deserving of the favorite tag in Saturday's semifinal because of the manner in which they plowed through their three postseason opponents. 

South Dakota State blew past the UC Davis Aggies with 56 points in the first round, beat the No. 4 Sacramento State Hornets by five and dominated the No. 5 seed Villanova Wildcats on the ground in a 14-point victory.

The Jackrabbits' running back tandem of Isaiah Davis and Pierre Strong Jr. Davis ran for 499 yards in the postseason, and Strong leads the FCS in rushing yards. 

South Dakota State produced a relentless 266-yard rushing game against a Villanova defense led by the FCS' leading tackler Forrest Rhyne. 

Montana State may have a hard time containing a type of rushing attack that it has barely seen this season.

South Dakota State may be unseeded, but it is as worthy of a national title contender as any team. It owns a win over the No. 2 seed North Dakota State Bison and suffered its three losses by a combined 13 points. 

Montana State has an impressive rushing attack in its favor as well. The Bobcats ran for 190 yards in the quarterfinal upset of Sam Houston State. 

Isaiah Ifanse has 281 rushing yards and two scores in his pair of postseason appearances. He entered the postseason with six 100-yard performances. 

The showdown of strong rushing units is as even as it gets, and the two rushing defenses are separated by 1.6 yards allowed per game. 

Saturday's difference-maker could be passing defense. Montana State ranks 12th in that category, while South Dakota State is 86th.

The Jackrabbits allowed 271 passing yards against Villanova, and they face a quarterback in Tommy Mellott who can hurt them in both facets of the game.

Mellott had two passing touchdowns in the quarterfinal round, and he has 256 rushing yards in two playoff games. 

Montana State jumped out to double-digit first-half leads behind Mellott and Ifanse in its first two playoff contests, and that could be the formula to taking down South Dakota State. 

The Jackrabbits need to dictate the pace through their ground game, and if they control that area of the matchup, they could be headed back to Frisco for the second time in nine months. 


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