7 essential numbers to know for the quarterfinals of the 2020-21 FCS playoffs

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The quarterfinals of the 2020-21 FCS playoff bracket start with two video games at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday — No. 2 seed Sam Houston versus North Dakota State and No. 4 seed  Jacksonville State versus Delaware. No. 3 seed James Madison takes on North Dakota at 6 p.m. and No. 1 seed South Dakota State faces Southern Illinois within the nightcap at 9 p.m.

The primary spherical of the FCS playoffs supplied three one-possession video games and now 4 berths to the semifinals are on the road. Listed below are seven important numbers to know for the quarterfinals.

1) 41:26

That is how lengthy Southern Illinois possessed the ball in its 38-14 win over No. 1 North Dakota State on Feb. 27. The Salukis have already overwhelmed a No.1-ranked group this season, so can they now defeat a No. 1-seeded group?

Southern Illinois’ offense averaged 6.1 yards per play to North Dakota State’s 6.0 yards per play, however when the Salukis had possession of the ball, they have been unlikely to offer it up. They ran 73 performs on offense to the Bison’s 45, as Southern Illinois transformed on 11-of-16 third-down conversion makes an attempt, plus on the group’s solely fourth-down conversion attempt.

North Dakota State was 4-for-10 on third down, for comparability. Southern Illinois  gained the turnover battle 2-0 and punted simply 3 times — two of which pinned North Dakota State inside its personal 20-yard line. The Salukis scored on all 5 of their journeys contained in the purple zone.

If Southern Illinois is to upset No. 1 seed South Dakota State, it’s going to possible take one other dominant efficiency in all three phases, such that the Salukis management the clock with well timed and frequent first downs, a few turnovers and advantageous particular groups play.

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2) .958

That is South Dakota State’s purple zone scoring proportion, which is why Southern Illinois might want to management the clock as a lot as doable and hold the Jackrabbits’ offense on the sideline. South Dakota State has scored 23 occasions in 24 journeys to the purple zone this season, together with 15 touchdowns and eight discipline targets, with just one missed alternative. The Jackrabbits are virtually automated to attain.

3) 486.4

That is No. 2 seed Sam Houston’s common yards of complete offense per sport, which ranks ninth nationally and the very best among the many groups within the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Regardless of being the No. 2 seed within the playoff bracket, Sam Houston’s second opponent within the playoffs is a bit of program by the title of North Dakota State, which has gained the final three FCS nationwide championships and eight of the final 9.

Wins over North Dakota State are uncommon. Wins over North Dakota State within the playoffs within the final decade are particularly so.

The undefeated Bearkats common almost seven yards per play, however they’re coming off of their lowest level complete of the season — a 21-15 win over Monmouth, which was ranked No. 10. In Sam Houston’s first three video games of the season, it scored 43, 71 and 62 factors, so factors aren’t usually laborious to return by for a group that averages 44.8 per sport.

Quarterback Eric Schmid averages 337 passing yards and 46 extra on the bottom, whereas working again Ramon Jefferson averages a team-high 79 speeding yards per sport. Huge-play menace Jequez Ezzard averages one landing per sport wherein he is appeared this season and 30 yards per catch and 101 yards per sport.

North Dakota State’s opponents common 2.3 touchdowns per sport this season, so one thing might need to offer, and Sam Houston’s offense is greater than snug enjoying in a high-scoring affair if required.

4) 13

That is what number of FCS playoff video games North Dakota State has gained in a row, together with three nationwide championships. The Bison’s final defeat within the playoffs got here on Dec. 16, 2016, in opposition to James Madison within the FCS semifinals, when the Dukes gained 27-17. In these 13 video games, North Dakota State outscored its opponents 479-164, or a median of a 36.8 factors scored to 12.6 factors allowed.

5) 213.5

That is what number of yards the chief in complete protection, No. 3 seed James Madison, permits per sport, which is greater than 50 yards fewer than No. 1 seed South Dakota State. James Madison was the final non-North Dakota State nationwide champion, because the Dukes gained all of it in 2016, one thing no different program not nicknamed the Bison has completed since Villanova in 2009.

If James Madison defeats North Dakota, then within the semifinals it could both face No. 2 seed Sam Houston State (the leaders in complete offense among the many groups that stay within the FCS playoffs, as detailed above) or the juggernaut of North Dakota State. Both can be a compelling matchup; or, North Dakota, which already beat No. 1 seed South Dakota State by 11 and Southern Illinois, which sarcastically faces South Dakota State within the quarterfinals, by 23, so North Dakota possesses upset potential, too.

Solely North Dakota State has held North Dakota to fewer than 21 factors this season.

6) +7

That is North Dakota’s turnover margin in six video games this season. That ranks eighth nationally and is the second-best of any groups left within the FCS playoffs. No. 3 seed James Madison, which is North Dakota’s opponent within the quarterfinals, is even in turnover margin this season, with 9 compelled and 9 misplaced. North Dakota ranks second in turnover margin among the many remaining groups within the FCS playoffs due to…

7) +1.83

Delaware has posted a ridiculous plus-11 turnover margin by means of six video games this season, which is the very best within the nation. That interprets to a plus-1.83 turnover margin benefit per sport. Enjoying No. 4 seed Jacksonville State, Delaware might want to discover a bonus someplace and if the Blue Hens can play as much as their season common in turnover benefit, that is place to start out. 

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