Coaching staffs pushing the right buttons? Yes, that describes South Dakota State and UAlbany heading into their first-ever meeting in an FCS playoff semifinal on Saturday.

South Dakota State first-year coach Jimmy Rogers has kept the defending national champion Jackrabbits (13-0 with eight Top 25 wins) as the last unbeaten FCS team for nearly two months, and he was selected as the 37th annual Eddie Robinson Award recipient.

UAlbany’s Greg Gattuso was a close runner-up in the voting, having turned around the Great Danes from a 3-8 record last year to 11-3 this season, including 11-1 against FCS competition.

Two different storylines, but a similar level of elite play.

Following is a capsule preview of the UAlbany at South Dakota State semifinal:

No. 5 Seed UAlbany (11-3) at No. 1 Seed South Dakota State (13-0)

Kickoff – 7 p.m. ET Friday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings, South Dakota (ESPN2)

Series – First meeting

Coaches – UAlbany: Greg Gattuso (50-60, 10th season; 147-92 overall); South Dakota State: Jimmy Rogers (13-0, first season)

3 Players to Watch – UAlbany: QB Reese Poffenbarger (247 of 428, 3,371 yards, 36 TDs, 10 INTs), RB Griffin Woodell (177 carries, 888 yards, 8 TDs; 31 receptions, 4 TDs), LB Dylan Kelly (155 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries); South Dakota State: QB Mark Gronowski (181 of 267, 2,618 yards, 25 TDs, 4 INTs; 299 rush yards, 7 TDs), RB Isaiah Davis (205 carries, 1,384 yards, 15 TDs; 22 receptions, 1 TD), LB Adam Bock (47 tackles, 2 sacks)

Notable – SDSU, a repeat Missouri Valley Football Conference champion, is on a 27-game winning streak and is the only FCS team (out of 128 overall) to rank in the top 10 of scoring offense (36.8 points per game, No. 7), total offense (448.4 yards per game, No. 6), scoring defense (10.5, No. 1) and total defense (253.9, No. 1). No team also has been better in converting third downs into first downs (54.4 percent success rate), with Gronowski’s offensive weapons including Davis (100+ rushing yards in 11 of 14 career playoff games) and twin wide receivers Jadon and Jaxon Janke (a combined 497 receptions, 57 TD catches in their careers). UAlbany, which earned a share of its first CAA Football title, enters on a seven-game winning streak after winning at Idaho in a quarterfinal. The Great Danes have an FCS-high 50 sacks, led by DEs Anton Juncaj (15) and A.J. Simon (12.5), although the Jackrabbits have surrendered only 10 in 13 games. Poffenbarger has accounted for three or more TDs via pass and rush in 10 different games, with WRs Brevin Easton (13) and Julian Hicks (11) joining Woodell (12) to form a trio of players with 10+ TDs. Both teams are accustomed to jumping ahead of opponents, as SDSU’s plus-87 scoring differential in the first quarter and +210 in the first half are the best in the FCS, while UAlbany is top 10 at +60 and +138, respectively. If a field goal is needed, SDSU’s Hunter Dustman is 16 of 21 (long of 49 yards) and UAlbany’s John Opalko 13 of 18 (46).

Up Next – The winner will play either No. 2 seed Montana (12-1) or North Dakota State (11-3) in the FCS championship game on Jan. 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (2 p.m. ET).

Prediction – South Dakota State 31, UAlbany 17 (2023 predictions: 4-0 last week; 130-56 overall)