The FCS playoffs continue when the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (10-3, 5-3 MVFC) head to Villanova Stadium to take on the Villanova Wildcats (10-2, 7-1 CAA) on Saturday afternoon.
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The game (2 p.m. ET start time) isn’t on TV anywhere, but anyone in the US can watch South Dakota State vs Villanova live on ESPN+:
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You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
SDSU vs Villanova Football 2021 Preview
The Jackrabbits are coming off a 24-19 win over Sacramento State on December 4. SDSU boasts an impressive backfield tandem in Pierre Strong Jr. and Isaiah Davis, both of whom were a big part of the victory. Davis had 19 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns, and Strong added 73 yards and a score on 14 rushes in the win.
SDSU is averaging 37.7 points a game on offense, and its defense is surrendering 18.8 points per contest but the hectic schedule of the week may be taking its toll on South Dakota State.
“It’s a huge strain,” Jackrabbits coach John Stiegelmeier said. “The fact that we got back to town on Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. … to lose an hour the next time we fly, and again it’s a three-hour trip, it’s very hard on the body. We’re asking the guys to get extra sleep this week. It is Finals Week. … That’s an added stressor. We’re asking the guys to take care of themselves to the max.”
On the other side, Nova is averaging 30.8 points per game, and it has a stingy defense of its own, allowing 15.2 points and a ridiculously low 262.6 total yards a game.
The Wildcats are fresh from a 21-16 win over Holy Cross on December 3. Nova played a solid game defensively, and that carried the team after the offense put up just 281 total yards all game.
“Wins are hard to come by and fortunately we came out and found a way to get one done today,” Wildcats head coach Mark Ferrante said, via College Sports Journal. “I have been talking about the resiliency of this team all year. We had a little momentum there going into halftime, but they came out and grabbed it in the second half with their opening drive and then the ensuing kickoff. It is survive and advance this time of year…this time of year, it’s just find a way.”
This should be a battle of two very staunch defenses, and both squads are ready for a low-scoring grudge match.
“Just their ability to not gimmick, line up in base defense, and everybody knows what they’re doing. And they do it full speed. I mean, they do change some stuff up. But I think if they had their way, they would line up in base defense and just say. ‘Show me. Show me you can move the ball.’” Stiegelmeier said about what he expects to see against Villanova. We’ll see if he’s right.