The home teams feel rested after a bye, and the road teams like their momentum following a first-round win, as the FCS playoffs move into the round of 16 (or second round) on Saturday.

While competitive matchups abound, home teams have come to dominate outcomes in the playoffs. The original 24-team field plays at school host sites until the championship game on Jan. 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Following are capsule previews of the second-round games in the bottom half of the bracket, which is anchored by No. 2 seed Montana:

Chattanooga (8-4) at No. 7 Seed Furman (9-2)

Kickoff – 1 p.m. ET at Paladin Stadium in Greenville, South Carolina (ESPN+)

Series – Furman leads 32-21 (Furman won 17-14 at Chattanooga on Nov. 4)

Coaches – Chattanooga: Rusty Wright (30-21, fifth season); Furman: Clay Hendrix (50-28, seventh season)

3 Players to Watch – Chattanooga: QB Luke Schomburg (34 of 63, 433 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs), DE Jay Person (56 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 3 forced fumbles), CB Kameron Brown (57 tackles, 3 INTs, 6 pass breakups); Furman: QB Tyler Huff (150 of 225, 1,489 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs; 488 rush yards, 5 TDs), OG Jacob Johanning (Southern Conference offensive lineman of the year), LB Braden Gilby (75 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 4 pass breakups)

Notable – Furman won the only previous playoff meeting, 28-10 at home in 2017. In the Paladins’ regular-season SoCon win over Chattanooga, redshirt freshman Carson Jones passed for two TDs in the fourth quarter, including the game winner with 1:44 left. Mocs WRs Jamoi Mayes and Javin Whatley both had over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in the loss, and could go over 1,000 yards for the season in the rematch. Clayton Crile’s walk-off field goal provided a 24-21 win at Austin Peay in the first round – the Mocs’ fifth straight road win against FCS competition and a game in which the redshirt freshman Schomburg made his second consecutive start for an injured Chase Artopoeus. The Paladins, starting their 20th all-time playoff appearance, seek to bounce back from a surprising loss to Wofford, when Huff and leading rusher Dominic Roberto were sidelined by injuries. Their veteran defense leads the SoCon in fewest points (17.7), rushing yards (90.5) and total yards (322.9) allowed per game.

Up Next – The winner will face either No. 2 seed Montana (10-1) or Delaware (10-1) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 8 or 9.

Prediction – Furman 23, Chattanooga 19


Sacramento State (8-4) at No. 3 Seed South Dakota (9-2)

Kickoff – 2 p.m. ET at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, South Dakota (ESPN+)

Series – First meeting

Coaches – Sacramento State: Andy Thompson (8-4, first season); South Dakota: Bob Nielson (39-43, eighth overall; 225-123-1 overall)

3 Players to Watch – Sacramento State: QB Kaiden Bennett (179 of 276, 2,158 yards, 16 TDs, 7 INTs; 578 rush yards, 6 TDs), RB Marcus Fulcher (107 carries, 527 yards, 6 TDs; 16 receptions, 2 TDs), LB Armon Bailey (90 tackles, 7 TFK, 1 fumble recovery); South Dakota: QB Aidan Bouman (163 of 242, 2,178 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs), LB Brock Mogensen (103 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT), CB Myles Harden (47 tackles, 1 INT, 6 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery)

Notable – Bennett accounted for 333 yards of total offense (126 rushing) and three TDs as Sac State opened the playoffs with a 42-35 win at North Dakota. The Hornets are one of the best in the FCS on third downs, converting at a 47.9 percent success rate (No. 6 overall) and going 8 of 10 in the first-round win. That game marked the third time they’ve won when allowing 30+ points. Behind WR Carlos Hill’s 47 receptions, they’re one of only two FCS teams with 5+ players over 30 receptions (New Hampshire has six). This game extends a streak in which USD has faced a Big Sky opponent every year since its Division I transition began in 2008. The Coyotes allowed only 23 points in a three-game winning steak to end the regular season, and their 14.6 points allowed per game rank fifth in the FCS. With DE Brendan Webb leading the way, the Coyotes have twice posted seven sacks (Lamar and Southern Illinois). Their offense has a 59-to-41 percent run-to-pass rate behind Bouman’s efficiency and RB Travis Theis (740 yards). Will Leyland hasn’t missed a kick while converting 10 field goals and 32 extra points.  

Up Next – The winner will face either No. 6 seed Montana State (8-3) or North Dakota State (9-3) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 8 or 9.

Prediction – South Dakota 27, Sacramento State 17

North Dakota State (9-3) at No. 6 Seed Montana State (8-3)

Kickoff – 3 p.m. ET at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Montana (ESPN+)

Series – Montana State leads 21-16 (last meeting: NDSU won 38-10 in the FCS championship game to end the 2021 season)

Coaches – North Dakota State: Matt Entz (58-10, fifth season); Montana State: Brent Vigen (32-7, third season)

3 Players to Watch – North Dakota State: QB Cam Miller (181 of 240, 2,255 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs; 625 rush yards, 11 TDs), LT Jalen Sundell (first-team All-MVFC), LB Logan Kopp (69 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 INTs, 4 pass breakups); Montana State: QB Tommy Mellott (61 of 101, 855 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT; 539 rush yards, 3 TDs), DE Brody Grebe (43 tackles, 12 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles), DT Sebastian Valdez (36 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 5 sacks)

Notable – NDSU, following a 66-3 first-round win over Drake, seeks to take sole possession of the FCS playoff wins record, having never failed to reach the quarterfinal round in each of its first 13 all-time appearances. The Bison have eliminated Montana State in the playoffs in their four most-recent meetings, but none of those games were in Bozeman, where the Bobcats have a 26-game home winning streak. MSU ranks second in the FCS in rushing yards per game (293.7) and NDSU is fourth (240.4). Both teams utilize two QBs regularly, NDSU with Miller and Cole Payton (488 rush yards, 10 TDs), and MSU Mellott and Sean Chambers (23 total TDs). NDSU’s defense is tied for the FCS high with interceptions (17), while MSU’s best pass defense may be its pass rush (37 sacks). The Bobcats’ six turnovers are the fewest of remaining playoff teams. On field goal attempts, NDSU’s Griffin Crosa is 15 of 18 and MSU’s Brendan Hall and Casey Kautzman are a combined 10 of 17, and all three kickers have a long of 44 yards.

Up Next – The winner will face either No. 3 seed South Dakota (9-2) or Sacramento State (8-4) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 8 or 9.

Prediction – Montana State 31, North Dakota State 28

(Flex the muscles: Bison, Bobcats dominate on the offensive line)

Delaware (9-3) at No. 2 Seed Montana (10-1)

Kickoff – 9 p.m. ET at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Montana (ESPN+)

Series – Delaware leads 1-0 (Blue Hens won 49-48 at Montana in FCS playoff first round on Nov. 26, 1993)

Coaches – Delaware: Ryan Carty (17-8, second season); Montana: Bobby Hauck (126-35, 13th season; 141-84 overall)

3 Players to Watch – Delaware: QB Nick Minicucci (40 of 69, 453 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs; 160 rush yards), RB Marcus (128 carries, 871 yards, 15 TDs; 24 receptions, 311 yards, 3 TDs), LB Jackson Taylor (105 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 9 QB hurries, 2 fumble recoveries); Montana: QB Clifton McDowell(95 of 155, 1,307 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT; 565 rush yards, 7 TDs), RB Eli Gillman (152 carries, 857 yards, 10 TDs), LB Braxton Hill (91 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)

Notable – Montana has the most all-time FCS playoff appearances (27) and Delaware is third among current programs (19), although this week the Blue Hens athletic program announced a planned move to the FBS and Conference USA in 2025. The Blue Hens rallied from a 28-7 deficit to beat Lafayette 36-34 in the first round (Miniccuci, the original No. 3 QB, had three TD passes in the comeback). They seek improved offensive efficiency given their 22 turnovers are the most of the remaining playoff teams. It helps to have a healthier Yarns, who is tied for the second-most TDs (18) in the FCS. Montana is 7-0 since a QB change to McDowell, and its scoring margin is a decisive 145-24 in the last four games. The Grizzlies’ stout defense – its 14.5 points allowed per game are tied for third-lowest in the FCS – boasts DT Alex Gubner (30 tackles, 8 TFL) and Hill clugging up the middle. Junior Bergen has a 15.4-yard career average on punt returns, including a TD in each of the past two seasons.

Up Next – The winner will face either No. 7 seed Furman (9-2) or Chattanooga (8-4) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 8 or 9.

Prediction – Montana 30, Delaware 14