Photo: James Dobson (MTN Sports)

FCS Playoffs Quarterfinals Preview & Predictions

2022 Predictions Record: 109-33 (Last Week: 9-0)

We make our predictions for the Quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs right here. You can find more detailed previews of some of the biggest games each week on our YouTube channel and each week on our FCS Preview Show.

Samford @ North Dakota State (Dec 9, 6pm/CT; ESPN2)

Samford escaped with an overtime win over Southeastern Louisiana last weekend, but the major question mark entering this matchup will be the health of SoCon Offensive Player of the Year Michael Hiers. If Hiers cannot suit up for the Bulldogs, then Quincy Crittendon will step into the QB1 role after his five touchdown performance last weekend against the Lions. Wide receivers Kendall Watson (961 Receiving Yards) and Chandler Smith (951 Receiving Yards) each have accounted for 10 receiving touchdowns, but face a tough matchup against a Bison secondary that is holding opponents to only 150 yards per game through the air. 

North Dakota State continued to dominate on the ground despite the absence of All-American Hunter Luepke as the Bison rushed for over 450 yards in a second round win over Montana. Running backs Kobe Johnson (714 Rushing Yards) and TaMerik Williams (660 Rushing Yards) will lead a Bison rushing attack that is currently averaging over 6.0 yards per carry for the season. The Bison could take advantage of a Samford defense allowing over 170 yards per game on the ground, including 348 rushing yards last week against Southeastern Louisiana. Spencer Waege (15 TFLs; 8 Sacks) has been a force on the North Dakota State defensive line and will need to make his impact felt on whoever starts at quarterback for the Bulldogs. 

Prediction: North Dakota State (34-23)

William & Mary @ Montana State (Dec 9, 9:15pm/CT; ESPN2)

William & Mary has a chance to make their first appearance in the semifinals since 2009 with a win in Bozeman this weekend. The Tribe are 6-0 on the road this season, but the Bobcats have the longest home winning streak (19 Straight Games) in the FCS. Bronson Yoder (1133 Rushing Yards; 12 TDs) and Malachi Imoh (709 Rushing Yards; 9 TDs) lead a Top-4 rushing attack in the country that averages over 275 yards per game. Darius Wilson (2190 Passing Yards; 16 TDs) has played elite football the over the last three games as he has accounted for 10 total touchdowns over that stretch. John Pius (19 TFLs; 11.5 Sacks) and Nate Lynn (10 TFLs; 6 Sacks) will need to create havoc in the backfield in this matchup for the Tribe defense. 

Montana State will look to extend their home winning streak to 20 games this weekend and secure their spot in the semifinals for the second straight season. The Bobcats have one of the most explosive rushing attacks in the country as Montana State is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and over 330 yards per game on the ground. Quarterbacks Tommy Mellott (1013 Rushing Yards; 9 TDs) and Sean Chambers (791 Rushing Yards; 18 TDs) lead the rushing attack, but All-American RB Isaiah Ifanse returned from injury last weekend (9.1 Yards Per Carry; 91 Rushing Yards) and could be primed for a huge performance. Callahan O’Reilly (76 Total Tackles; 4 INTs) and Ty Okada (63 Total Tackles; 7 PBUs) are two names to watch defensively for the Bobcats in this matchup.

Prediction: Montana State (37-30)

Incarnate Word @ Sacramento State (Dec 9, 9:30pm/CT; ESPN+)

Incarnate Word had to overcome coaching distractions as GJ Kinne was announced as the next head coach at Texas State, but still won the first second round matchup in school history last weekend. Lindsey Scott Jr. (4185 Passing Yards; 55 TDs) leads an explosive Incarnate Word offense that averages over 50.0 points per game and over 383 yards per game through the air. Darion Chafin (1155 Receiving Yards; 16 TDs) and Taylor Grimes (1091 Receiving Yards; 14 TDs) will be massive threats to a Sacramento State defense that allows over 243 passing yards per game. The defense has been overlooked, but has held opponents to less than 3.5 yards per carry this season. Kelechi Anyalebechi (96 Total Tackles; 9 TFLs) and Steven Parker (11 TFLs; 7 Sacks) are two names to watch this weekend for the Cardinals defense. 

Sacramento State won their first FCS Playoff game last weekend over Richmond and will look to make more history by clinching their first appearance in the semifinals with a win this weekend. Cameron Skattebo (1272 Rushing Yards; 5 TDs) has been a key piece in a Hornets rushing attack averaging over 235 yards per game, while QB Asher O’Hara (19 Rushing TDs) is a major threat in the redzone. Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Marte Mapu (70 Total Tackles; 2 INTs) and Armon Bailey (12.5 TFLs; 6 Sacks) will be key pieces in generating pressure on Lindsey Scott Jr. this weekend. Caleb Nelson (1 INT; 10 PBUs) and Cameron Broussard (2 INTs; 5 PBUs) need to have massive performances for the Hornets against the dangerous passing attack of the Cardinals. 

Prediction: Incarnate Word (35-31)

Holy Cross @ South Dakota State (Dec. 10, 11am/CT; ESPN)

Holy Cross will look to make their first appearance in the semifinals with a win over South Dakota State this weekend. Matthew Sluka (3385 Total Yards; 36 Total TDs) leads the Crusaders offense through the air and on the ground, but will need to help spark the rushing attack this weekend against a South Dakota State rushing defense only allowing 2.4 yards per carry this season. Jalen Coker (849 Receiving Yards; 11 TDs) is a matchup nightmare on the outside and could be a major key against this weekend if the rushing game starts the game slow. Liam Anderson (76 Total Tackles; 14.5 TFLs) and Jake Reichwein (9.5 TFLs; 6.5 Sacks) are going to play key roles in slowing down the Jackrabbits rushing attack in this matchup. 

South Dakota State dominated Delaware in the second round last weekend and will look to make their third consecutive appearance in the semifinals with a win this weekend. The defense has been suffocating this season as the Jackrabbits have held ten opponents to under 100 yards rushing and have held nine opponents to under 250 yards passing. Isaiah Davis (1036 Rushing Yards; 12 TDs) leads a rushing attack that is coming off a 200-yard and four touchdown performance against the Blue Hens last weekend. Mark Gronowski (2378 Passing Yards; 28 Total TDs) can be a dual threat, but will face a Holy Cross secondary that has forced 13 interceptions this season. 

Prediction: South Dakota State (42-21)

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *