Football expectations higher than ever

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It’s playoff time yet again in Brookings and expectations should be higher than ever.

The Jacks are riding a five-game win streak into the playoffs. They don’t have to play North Dakota State at all unless they both reach the championship game in Frisco, Texas. This is why I believe the Jacks should be able to make it to at least the semifinals.   

The fifth-seeded South Dakota State football team will face off against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers this Saturday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. The Jacks fell to UNI 38-18 when they hosted the Hobo Day game back in October.

The game should be different this time around. The weather back in October was cold, rainy and windy — with hardly any fans in attendance.

This playoff season, the Jackrabbit faithful should be held to the kind of high standard that they expect on the field. That means showing up to the game.

Saturday’s weather is forecasted for a 47-degree day that will be mostly sunny. Sounds like a perfect day to kick-off a deep playoff run. Luckily, SDSU is on the opposite side of the bracket from NDSU and the University of South Dakota. However, they are on the same side of the bracket as last year’s champion, James Madison.

Assuming SDSU takes care of business and gets revenge against UNI, the Jacks more than likely would head to Central Arkansas. I fully expect a healthy SDSU football team to beat a 10-1 Central Arkansas team that has only one impressive victory (No. 3 Sam Houston State), which would put them in the semifinals against James Madison.

There are a couple things the Jacks need to do to advance.

The first thing is that quarterback Taryn Christion needs to play flawlessly. This means no turnovers and making plays with his legs to extend possessions.

Second, the SDSU defense has to shut down the opposing rushing attack. In the last game of the regular season, SDSU gave up 297 yards on the ground against USD and 218 against UNI in October.

Finally, the Jacks need to get their highly-touted weapons involved. Tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Jake Wieneke need the ball thrown to them early and often.

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