FCS National Championship: South Dakota State vs Sam Houston prediction and game preview.
South Dakota State vs Sam Houston Broadcast
Date: Sunday, May 16
Game Time: 2:00 pm ET
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
South Dakota State vs Sam Houston FCS Playoff Game Preview
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Why South Dakota State Will Win
Delaware came into it FCS playoff semifinal game against South Dakota State (8-1) with one of the nation’s nastiest defenses. It allowed fewer than 240 yards per game, was a work against the run, and was a killer in pass efficiency D – it just didn’t allow much of anything.
None of it mattered in the 33-3 Jackrabbit win.
Oh sure, Delaware was its normal self when it came to controlling the clock and the tempo, but the running game didn’t go anywhere and South Dakota State managed to put the hammer down fast defensively.
The Jackrabbit running game ran just fine, QB Mark Gronowski threw two touchdown passes and didn’t make any big mistakes, and RB Pierre Strong ran for 73 yards and a touchdown and threw for another score.
But it was the defense that got the job done.
Sam Houston might be known for its flash on both sides of the ball and its being plays, but South Dakota State has the lines to not only hold up, but to dominate with power. The Bearkats are going to throw, and they’re going to be effective, but Delaware was able to throw well and it didn’t matter.
James Madison had Sam Houston down and done, but it kept screwing up and couldn’t put the game away. South Dakota State has the ground game to keep that from happening, but …
Why Sam Houston Will Win
The Sam Houston (9-0) defensive line just keeps on coming.
The offense might be the star of the show – and it came through in the second half – but it’s the defensive front that lived behind the line all season long that took over in the second half of the thrilling 38-35 win over James Madison.
The downfield passing game isn’t going to work on a consistent basis against the South Dakota State secondary that doesn’t allow a whole lot down the field, but the Bearkats should be able to grind through this a bit.
The offense might not have worked all that well at times against the Dukes – the third down playmaking wasn’t there and there were too many mistakes early on – but again, the defense has the ability to hold up. James Madison ran well enough to get some key runs from its great backs, but it was all quickly negated by (again) …
The pass rush.
Sam Houston can’t let South Dakota State dictate the tempo or control the clock with the ground game, and all that Bearkat pressure has to force mistakes.
How did South Dakota State lose to North Dakota? -2 in turnover margin, the offensive line couldn’t control the game, the O couldn’t run well, and the team couldn’t come up with second half points.
Sam Houston can force a repeat of that on one side, and on the other, it’s not going to get a second straight mediocre passing day from Eric Schmid.
What’s Going To Happen
Can South Dakota State impose its will?
Sam Houston has the quarterback in Schmid who can take over, and to beat this into the ground, it has the defensive front that can wreck the game and dominate in key moments like it did against JMU.
But South Dakota State has those things, too – Mark Gronowski isn’t Schmid, but he has grown into the role.
The Jackrabbits will give up a few big, fun Sam Houston scoring drives, but the defense will hold up in the fourth and the offense isn’t going to make the big mistakes James Madison did in key spots.
The South Dakota State offensive line will do more than hold serve, and that will be enough.
South Dakota State vs Sam Houston FCS Playoff Prediction, Line
South Dakota State 34, Sam Houston State 27
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Line: South Dakota State -4.5, o/u: 47.5
Must See Rating: 5
5: Wrath of Man
1: Passport to Love