SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — SDSU has made three stops on their road back to Frisco, including wins over UC Davis, Sacramento State and Villanova. Now the Jackrabbits will meet Montana State, with a spot in the FCS Championship up for grabs.

The Jackrabbits and Bobcats will cross paths on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will air on ESPN 2 and you can follow the action on our Live Blog on

SDSU is back in the FCS Semifinals for the fourth time in the past five years, thanks to back-to-back road, playoff victories.

“The way we approached things on the road has fewer distractions. We dictate the meals and we have a secured schedule,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said.

The Jackrabbits will now face Montana State, who owns the second best scoring defense in the country.

“I think Montana State has eleven guys that are really, really, really good. I think they’re well coached. They play as hard as any team I’ve seen,” Stiegelmeier said. “I think their linebackers and nickel are really, really good and their secondary is solid, very solid. It’s going to be a test.”

The Bobcat defense is led by a talented pass rush that has collected 41 total sacks this season.

“It’s the scheme, it’s the big guys and it’s their ability against our ability. I do know this, Chris (Oladokun) is very comfortable at playing quarterback with our scheme, so I think he’ll do well,” Stiegelmeier said.

On the other side of the ball, Montana State owns the nation’s third leading rusher in Isaiah Ifanse who has rushed for 1,539 yards.

“If you can stop the run, it’s two fold, yes you make them one dimensional, but it’s also discouraging, because running the football is the physical part of the game we play and the game we coach,” Stiegelmeier said. “When you’ve had success like we’ve had once in a while, I think that impacts everybody on the football field.”

The Bobcats will start Tommy Mellot at quarterback, who has established himself as a dual threat player. He has rushed for 256 yards in their two playoff wins.

“In looking at his age and his number of games, I would say that he’s way ahead of the curve, in terms of playmaking and what looks like a comfortable feeling in the offense and in his role. Obviously, he’s a great athlete,” Stiegelmeier said.

Mellot will make just his third start this season, though the lack of film on Mellot shouldn’t interfere with the Jackrabbits.

“You’re really breaking down what the coordinator does in the red zone, second and medium and all those things. I think that will shine throughout the games,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Bobcats completed just six passes in their quarterfinal win over Sam Houston, but they averaged nearly 28 yards per completion.

“When you play man-to-man and dedicate two guys to help out, you have a lot fewer guys playing the run and we have to stop the run,” Stiegelmeier said. “It’s a chess game and when the ball is up in the air, we have to become the receiver and win the 50-50 ball, if you will.”

Saturday’s game at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman is sold out as more than 17,000 fans will watch the semifinal action, but that shouldn’t alter the Jackrabbits plans.

“Obviously we’re going to practice with noise this week, because of the number of people that will be at the Montana State game,” Stiegelmeier said. “To me, our guys are embracing a chance to get back to Frisco and that’s exciting for them, because they got a taste of that in the spring.”

Saturday’s semifinal matchup will be an opportunity for SDSU to reach their second consecutive FCS Championship, but even more than that, it’ll give the Jacks more time to be together.

“These guys are really close. They love each other and they’re brothers. It’s not just going to Frisco, it’s spending time together,” Stiegelmeier said. “The proof of that was last December when they came back for three weeks, from their Christmas vacation to work out, because of their commitment to each other. This is a special football team.”

The Jackrabbits and Bobcats will cross paths on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will air on ESPN 2 and you can follow the action on our Live Blog on