South Dakota State at Illinois State
When: Saturday, October 27, 12:00 PM CDT
Where:Hancock Stadium, Normal, Ill.
TV/Streaming: ESPN College Extra/ESPN3
South Dakota State Jackrabbits (4-2, 2-2 MVFC)
Two 2-2 teams go head-to-head this week when South Dakota State plays at Illinois State. The winner of this game will have an inside track towards a playoff berth with the loser having to scrap with three games left on the schedule to the postseason.
Last week, SDSU crossed into Northern Iowa territory of their first three possessions of the game but came away with just three points and was the table setter for its 24-9 loss in Cedar Falls. SDSU was held without a touchdown for the first time in five years, ending a streak of 65 consecutive games in which SDSU found the end zone since a 20-0 loss to North Dakota Sate on Sept. 28, 2013.
The Jackrabbits have scored 41.8 points per game this season but are coming off its season low of just nine points last week and another road test awaits SDSU this week.
Key Player: RB C.J. Wilson is replacing the injured Isaac Wallace, who was lost for the season after the Youngstown State game. He had 413 yards rushing and four touchdowns this season. Wilson also was hurt last week at UNI but has averaged 6.8 yards per carry, gaining 271 yards on 40 carries. A key will be his running to go with QB Taryn Christion’s passing attack and be key to have a balanced offensive attack.
Fantasy Bonus Bonus Baby: Christion holds the MVFCcareer mark for passing touchdowns with 88. He had his streak of throwing at least one touchdown pass end at 17 games in at Northern Iowa, although he did post his 13th career 300-yard game. He will most likely get back on track and start another streak in this game.
Illinois State Redbirds (5-2, 2-2 MVFC)
Illinois State is averaging 35 points per game thanks in large part to one of the top running attacks in the Missouri Valley.
The Redbird defense allows the fewest yards in the conference, is first against the pass (178 yards per game) and second against the run (112 yards per game). This unit gives up just 14 points per game, and is plus-eight in the turnover battle.
Like SDSU, Illinois State is also coming off a loss to NDSU last week 28-14 so this game is key to its postseason life. A win and a playoff seed is still in reach while as loss likely means having to play in the first round.
Key Player: QB Brady Davis, a transfer from FBS Memphis, has 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions but is coming off a two interception performance last week in the loss to NDSU. He will need bounce back to be key to compliment the strong running game of the Redbirds.
Fantasy Bonus Babies: Junior RB James Robinson is second in the league with 130 yards per game while junior RB Markel Smith contributes 74 yards a game to the league number-three rushing offense. Look for both backs to have good numbers against the Jackrabbit defense.
Fearless Prediction: A two-loss SDSU or Illinois State will likely get a Top 8 seed so this is a key game not only in the MVFC race but nationally. The difference between that and playing Thanksgiving weekend is on the line in this game. SDSU was playing like the second best team coming into the loss at UNI last week. Look for the Jackrabbits to bounce back and come away with a close win in Normal. SDSU 31, Illinois State 27
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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