FCS Quarterfinal-Round Playoff Preview and Prediction: UIW at Sacramento State
Neither Sacramento State nor UIW has trailed much this season, but both overcame a deficit in the fourth quarter of their FCS playoff game last week to advance to a quarterfinal-round showdown Friday night.
They’re hoping to continue the momentum into their first round-of-eight game. Offensive fireworks are likely with their high-scoring teams.
Following is a capsule preview of the UIW-Sac State quarterfinal:
No. 7 Seed UIW (11-1) at No. 2 Seed Sacramento State (12-0)
Kickoff – 10:30 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN+) at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California
Series – Sacramento State leads 2-0 (49-13 on Aug. 30, 2014 in San Antonio and 56-22 on Sept. 9, 2017 in Sacramento)
Coaches – UIW: G.J. Kinne (11-1, first season – has been named Texas State’s new coach); Sacramento State: Troy Taylor (30-7, third season)
3 Players to Watch – UIW: QB Lindsey Scott Jr. (273 of 377, 4,185 yards, 55 TDs, 6 INTs; 466 yards, 7 TDs), RB Marcus Cooper (170 carries, 1,148 yards, 10 TDs; 23 receptions), LB Kelechi Anyalebechi (96 tackles, 9 TFL, 2 INTs, 3 PBU, FR); Sacramento State: RB Cameron Skattebo (178 carries, 1,272 yards, 5 TDs; 25 receptions, 3 TDs), TE Marshel Martin (53 receptions, 735 yards, 10 TDs), NB Marte Mapu (70 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 4 PBU)
Notable – Each team is a conference co-champ that is making its third all-time playoff appearance this postseason. UIW (Southland) is 5-1 on the road and Sac State (Big Sky) 6-0 at home. In leading UIW’s No. 1-ranking FCS scoring offense (51.9 points per game), Scott has set FCS single-season records in touchdowns responsible for (62) and points responsible for (378). Darion Chafin (1,155 yards, 16 TDs) and Taylor Grimes (1,091-14) give the Cardinals two 1,000-yard wide receivers. Their defense has 40.5 sacks, led by DEs Chris Whittaker (7.5) and Steven Parker (seven). Sac State ranks fourth among 130 FCS teams with a 41.3-point average and seventh in offensive yards per game (479.9 with terrific balance: 235.8 rushing and 244.2 passing). The Hornets boast one of the more-productive QB rotations in FCS history in Jake Dunniway (2,189 passing yards, 17 TD passes) and Asher O’Hara (851 rushing yards, 19 TDs; 10 TD passes). In the last two seasons, Kyle Sentkowski has made 36 of 43 (83.7%) on field goal attempts, including 15 of 18 of 40+ yards.
Up Next – The winner will play either No. 3 seed North Dakota State or No. 6 seed Samford in a national semifinal on Dec. 16 or 17.
Prediction – Sacramento State 38, UIW 35