SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — SDSU will play in their fifth FCS quarterfinal in the past six seasons as they seek a return trip to the semifinals. However, they’ll have to get past #4 Villanova in order to reach the final four.

You can follow the game on Saturday on in our Live Blog. You can find that story on the sports page.


Villanova University is located in Villanova, PA, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. The school has an enrollment of 10,943 (SDSU’s enrollment is 9,034).

The Wildcats won the 2009 FCS National Championship.

Villanova owns a 10-2 record this season including wins over #3 James Madison and #21 Richmond. They suffered losses to FBS Penn State and William & Mary.

They advanced to the quarterfinals with a second round playoff win over Holy Cross, 21-16.


Stat CategorySDSUVillanova
Total Offense443.1 YPG (14)380.2 YPG (45)
Scoring Offense37.7 PPG (8)30.83 PPG (33)
Passing Offense228.2 YPG (42)204.92 YPG (66)
Rushing Offense214.8 YPG (9)175.1 YPG (28)
Red Zone Offense89.7% (13)93.3% (5)
Total Defense344.3 YPG (35)262.6 YPG (3)
Scoring Defense18.8 PPG (15)15.17 PPG (7)
Passing Defense239.3 YPG (84)163.25 YPG (7)
Rushing Defense105 YPG (12)99.3 YPG (10)
Red Zone Defense72.5% (17)74.2% (23)
Turnover Margin+16 (2)+7 (16)
YPG = Yards Per Game – PPG = Points Per Game – ( ) = FCS Rank

A few things stand out when you take a look at the numbers.

There is a significant difference on the offensive side of the ball. SDSU gains more than 40 yards more per contest, while they also score nearly a touchdown more than Villanova.

However, the one thing that stands out for Villanova’s offense has to be their red zone scoring percentage. They have made 45 trips to the red zone this year and have scored 93% of the time.

Defensively, the numbers swing toward Villanova. They own the third best defense and the seventh best scoring defense in the FCS.

They are top ten in both rushing and passing defense as well.

SDSU has a top 15 scoring defense, but has struggled when it comes to allowing passing yards. Sacramento State torched the Jacks for well over 300 yards passing in the second round of the playoffs.

However, while the SDSU pass defense has struggled, so has the Villanova pass offense. Statistically, that is the weakness for each team which will be interesting to see how that plays out Saturday.

In the turnover game, both teams have been solid this season, but it’s SDSU who has been the second best this season. They’ve forced eight turnovers in their two postseason games and allowed just one.


The SDSU players to watch as always are quarterback Chris Oladokun, running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Isaiah Davis, plus the receiving core of Jadon and Jaxon Janke.

Villanova Quarterback Daniel Smith and SDSU Quarterback Chris Oladokun

Villanova’s players to watch include quarterback Daniel Smith, running back Justin Covington and wide receivers Rayjuon Pringle and Jaaron Hayek.

The eyes will focus on Smith and Covington.

Smith is a quarterback who is averaging 191.33 yards per game, while throwing 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the season.

In their first playoff game, Smith only threw 22 times and completed just eight passes for 133 yards.

The main reason for the low number of passes can be related to the number of runs. Villanova leans heavy on the rushing attack and they proved that by running 32 times in the second round of the playoffs.

Covington rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries for an average of 4.1 yards. Five different players got carries in their game against Holy Cross.

Pringle and Hayek combined for just two catches for 36 yards in the Holy Cross win, but the two have been impressive together this season.

They’ve combined for 1,330 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns on 73 receptions this season. That duo is one to watch this week.


Saturday’s game will kick-off at 1 p.m. from Villanova, PA. You can watch the game on ESPN+.

You can follow the game on Saturday on in our Live Blog. You can find that story on the sports page.