FCS South Dakota State quarterback Mark Gronowski celebrates a touchdown

Mark Gronowski celebrates a 2nd quarter touchdown run in SDSU’s win over Illinois State.

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  • The 2022 FCS Semifinals will be played on Friday, December 16th and Saturday, December 17th
  • No. 3 North Dakota State and Incarnate Word meet Friday in Fargo, N.D. while No. 1 South Dakota State hosts No. 4 Montana State on Saturday
  • Read below for 2022 FCS Semifinal odds and predictions for both matchups

Three of the top four ranked FCS teams remain in contention for the 2022 national championship. The FCS Semifinals will be played Friday, December 16th and Saturday, December 17th.

Defending champion No. 3 North Dakota State (11-2) wll play host to No. 7 Incarnate Word (12-1) at the Fargodome at 7 pm ET Friday on EPSN2. No. 1 South Dakota State (12-1) will host No. 4 Montana State (12-1) in Brookings, S.D. at 4 pm ET Saturday on ESPN2.

Here are the betting odds and predictions for the two 2022 FCS Semifinal games.

North Dakota State vs Incarnate Word Odds

Game Time (EST) Team Spread Moneyline Total
Friday, Dec. 16 Incarnate Word Cardinals +8.5 (-115) +250 Over 70.5 ( -110)
7:00 p.m. North Dakota State Bison -8.5 (-105) -315 Under 70.5 (-110)

All odds from FanDuel on Dec. 14. Claim the FanDuel Sportsbook promo code for the FCS Semi-Finals. 

Bison Will Run Over Cardinals

North Dakota State has been the class of the FCS for the last decade-plus. The No. 3-ranked Bison have won nine of the last 11 FCS titles, including a 38-10 victory over Montana State in 2021, but at +155, are listed as the second choice to win another behind No. 1 South Dakota State  (+140). The Jackrabbits beat North Dakota State 23-21 in the regular season.

The Bison are built to play in the upper Midwest, relying on a ground game that averages 269 yards per game and has 45 rushing touchdowns behind FCS All-American linemen Cody Mauch and Nash Jensen, both in their sixth seasons.

Quarterback Cam Miller has accounted for 25 touchdowns (14 rushing) and the top three running backs have gained 2,064 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. Mauch is the only lineman among the 30 candidates for the Walter Payton Award, which recognizes the best offensive player in the FCS.

The Bison scored the first 24 points in a 24-9 quarterfinal home victory over Samford last week.

Incarnate Word goes about it differently. FCS All-American quarterback Lindsey Scott has passed for 4,404 yards and an FCS-record 59 touchdowns, one short of Joe Burrow’s Division I record set at LSU in 2019. Scott began his college career at LSU in 2016.

Scott accounted for six touchdowns and threw for four capped by a 27-yarder to Taylor Grimes with 27 seconds remaining to beat host Sacramento State 66-63 in the quarterfinals. Each had 28 points in the fourth quarter in the highest-scoring game in FCS playoff history, and the Cardinals benefited from four Sac State turnovers.

Grimes and fellow wide receiver Darion Chafin were third-team FCA All-Americans. Grimes and fellow wide receiver Darion Chafin were third-team FCA All-Americans.

North Dakota State is in its element here, at home and on the frozen tundra. Take Matt Entz’s team to cover the 8.5-point spread.

  • Pick: North Dakota State -8.5 (-105)

South Dakota State vs Montana State Odds

Game Time (EST) Team Spread Moneyline Total
Saturday, Dec. 17 Montana State Bobcats +5.5 (-118) +172 Over 58.5( -110)
4:00 p.m. South Dakota State Jackrabbits -5.5 (-104) -210 Under 58.5 (-110)

Bobcats Will Exact Revenge on Jackrabbits

No. 1 South Dakota State and No. 3 Montana State will meet in the FCS semis for the second consecutive season, with the home field reserved. Montana State beat the Jackrabbits 31-17 in Boseman last season behind quarterback Tommy Mellott to qualify for its first FCS title home game since 1984.

Mellott accounted for 388 yards and all four Bobcats’ touchdowns in this game last year, and he is back as part of a two-quarterback system for the run-first Bobcats, who lead the FCS with 332 yards rushing per game.  Mellott has 1,058 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns and fellow QB Sean Chambers has 835 yards rushing, and 18 touchdowns. The Bobcats advanced with a 55-7 quarterfinal victory over William & Mary.

South Dakota State, which has made the FCS semifinals in five of the last six seasons, has won 12 games in a row after opening the season with a 7-3 loss at Iowa. In a game that matches strengths, the Jackrabbits lead FCS in rushing defense, having given up 85.4 yards per game while permitting only 10 rushing touchdowns.

South Dakota State scored the final 21 points in a 42-21 home victory over Holy Cross in the quarterfinals last week. Quarterback Mark Gronowski accounted for all three of the final touchdowns, two passing. The Crusaders rushed for 216 yards.

Montana State is healthier with the return of 2021 All-America second-team running back Isaiah Ifanse, who had 162 yrds rushing and two touchdowns against after missing 11 games while recovering from knee surgery. The Bobcats will win the rematch.

  • Pick: Montana State (+5.5)
  • Season CFB: 45-45 ATS

 

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Jack Magruder

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