FCS Second Round Preview – South Dakota at Sam Houston State

No second round game has had a line move as much as this one since it opened on Monday. The books have loved South Dakota all year and the Coyotes opened as a three-point favorite over Sam Houston State. Bettors jumped all over the Bearkats as a home underdog and now the line has swung 5.5 points. Additionally, the under has been hit. The total in this one opened as 82.5 and now it’s down to 80.5.

South Dakota was a massive road favorite against Nicholls State last week, but it did not look particularly sharp against the Colonels. The score was tied midway through the fourth quarter until Chris Streveler did what he’s done all year. He led the team down the field for what proved to be the game-winning score, as Nicholls State fumbled the ball on South Dakota’s one-yard line with under a minute remaining to ice the win for the Coyotes.

Meanwhile, Sam Houston State had a bye last week by virtue of being one of the top eight teams in the country. The Bearkats were not as dominant as they were last year and played a relatively weak schedule this season. However, they did hammer this same Nicholls State team that South Dakota struggled to beat by 49 points, and their only loss of the season was to a very good Central Arkansas squad that didn’t drop a game in FCS play.

FCS Second Round Betting Odds
South Dakota +2.5
Sam Houston State -2.5
Total 80.5

Keep an Eye On…

This game could very well feature last year’s Walter Payton Award winner against this year’s winner. Chris Streveler has been great all season and has single-handedly turned South Dakota into a contender.

South Dakota made the FCS playoffs and won its first postseason game ever because of Streveler’s play. This is a program that has struggled since joining the toughest conference in the FCS, the Missouri Valley, but he got the Coyotes off to a 6-0 start and they were ranked No. 4 at one point. Things fell apart near the end of the season as they faced the conference’s juggernauts and didn’t perform well, but Streveler kept them competitive in most games.

Streveler is a gifted passer, but his mobility is what makes him exceptionally dangerous. He finished the season with 37 touchdowns through the air and on the ground, and he only turned the ball over three times. He averaged 8.5 yards per pass and 4.4 yards per carry and the coaching staff turned the keys of the offense over to him and let him do his thing.

Matchup to Watch

Of course, the reason why the Coyotes lost four of their last five regular season games and almost didn’t make the playoffs after such a strong start is the defense. South Dakota gave up at least 31 points in each of those four losses and allowed Nicholls State to have a lot of success against them as well.

This is great news for Sam Houston State. The Bearkats have the nation’s best passing offense and are better at hitting big plays than any other team in the country. SHSU can spread you out and beat you with a passer like Jeremiah Briscoe. He doesn’t complete a ton of his passes, but he still averages 8.5 yards per attempt because of how many big plays this team converts.

South Dakota’s defense can be beat through the air. Jaelon Acklin almost defeated the Coyotes single-handedly earlier this season, and they are allowing 7.8 yards per pass. As long as you don’t turn the ball over, you should be able to score on this defense.


This should be a very high-scoring game as both teams have superb offenses and questionable defenses. Odds makers were right to open this game in the 80s, and I believe the only reason people are betting the under is because it’s such a high number. Weather isn’t a concern, so I think this is a great opportunity to pounce on the over, especially if it drops into the 70s. For a side, I like the Bearkats even though you’d now be laying points with them. The offense is just too good and this is South Dakota’s second long road trip. The Coyotes will have some tired legs and that will be the difference in the fourth quarter.

Pick: Sam Houston State -2.5

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