Jackrabbits earn No. 1 seed in FCS playoffs

Marshall Minihan, Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are headed back to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the 11th straight season.

And after the best regular season in program history, SDSU earned the No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

The last time the Jacks received that advantage was in the spring 2021 season when they advanced to the national title game for the first time in program history.

After compiling a 10-1 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in Missouri Valley Football Conference play, the Jackrabbits received a first-round bye and will host the winner of Delaware and Saint Francis (PA) Dec. 3 at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

Delaware is currently is 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association in coach Ryan Carty’s inaugural season. The Blue Hens started the year 5-0 before struggling to finish the season, losing four of their final six games.

This is Delaware’s 18th appearance in the FCS playoffs dating back to 1981 and they have a 24-16 all time postseason record. The Blue Hens were last in the playoffs in the spring season, where they lost to the Jackrabbits in the semifinals.

Saint Francis is led by coach Chris Villarrial, who is in his 13th season with the team. The Red Flash are 9-2 overall this season and 7-0 in the Northeast Conference. They started the season 0-2 with losses from Akron and Richmond, before pulling together a 9-game winning streak as well as going undefeated in conference play.

Saint Francis will play in the FCS playoffs for the second time in program history, its first was a 31-21 first-round loss to Villanova in 2016.

The Saint Francis-Delaware game will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. in Newark, Delaware. The only other time these two teams met was last season when Delaware won 27-10.

Saturday’s game will be one of eight first-round matchups before the second round kicks off Dec. 3. The FCS playoffs will conclude Jan. 8 in Frisco, Texas.

Top eight seeds

  1. South Dakota State
  2. Sacramento State
  3. North Dakota State
  4. Montana State
  5. William & Mary
  6. Samford
  7. Incarnate Word
  8. Holy Cross