The FCS Playoffs Championship game is set for Sunday afternoon, with a South Dakota State vs Sam Houston State college football matchup in place. The road to the final was much different for both teams. With all that being said, let’s take a look at how each team got here.
FCS Playoffs Championship of South Dakota State vs Sam Houston State Set
Sam Houston State Score 28 Unanswered to Top James Madison
Bearkat head coach K.C. Keeler will have an opportunity to become the first coach to win an FCS National Championship at two different schools. Keeler won a championship at Delaware in 2003. However, his playoff experience didn’t translate to the gridiron, as Sam Houston State trailed James Madison, 24-3, at the half. However, whatever coach Keeler said to his guys during the break worked to perfection, as the Bearkats came out of the locker room like a team possessed, especially wide receiver Jequez Ezzard. He caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eric Schmid to pull the Kats within 10. Less than two minutes later, Ezzard was back deep, ready to return a Dukes punt. Ezzard took the ball at the 20 and went untouched into the end zone.
With the help of Ezzard, the Bearkats trailed the Dukes, 27-24. On the last play of the third quarter, veteran signal-caller Eric Schmid took the snap, faked a hand-off and skipped 20 yards into the end zone. The Kats now led the Dukes, 31-27. After the ensuing kickoff, James Madison quarterback Cole Johnson saw his pass picked off on the sideline by Sam Houston State defensive back Zyon McCollum. Only five plays later, Schmid scampered 10 yards into the end zone, giving Sam Houston State a 10-point lead.
The 10-point lead was enough to hold off the Dukes, 38-35. James Madison scored a late touchdown, making the score more respectable. After winning a championship for Delaware in 2003, K.C. Keeler is ready to bring a trophy back to Huntsville, Texas.
South Dakota State Dominates Delaware, 33-3
Early on in this semi-final, it looked like it would be a defensive battle. However, that was not the case. After both teams went three-and-out on their opening possessions, Delaware kicker Ryan Coe nailed a 29-yard field goal to give the Hens a 3-0 lead. Hopefully Delaware fans didn’t blink, as South Dakota State would go on a 33-0 run to make the final score 33-3 when the final whistle sounded.
Delaware’s two play-makers, running back Dejoun Lee and quarterback Nolan Henderson, had rough days for the Hens. Lee carried the ball 11 times for only nine yards. Henderson took a couple of hard hits in the beginning of the afternoon, and he had a day to forget. He rushed the ball 20 times for just 14 yards. It’s fair to say the Jackrabbits were just a better team on Sunday afternoon.
FCS National Championship
After a very odd spring season, the FCS will finally crown a champion on Sunday. Both schools will be looking to win their first national title. There are a couple of things to keep an eye on Sunday afternoon. South Dakota State quarterback Mark Gronowski is only a freshman, but he has played like a veteran all year. Hopefully the pressure doesn’t get to him at the worst time. On the other sideline, Sam Houston State has had a tough time in FCS Playoffs in the past couple of years. In 2017, they were absolutely destroyed by North Dakota State in the FCS National Championship, 55-13.
I think I speak for everyone in saying I can’t wait for Sunday.
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