FCS Second-Round Playoff
The Matchup – Southeastern Louisiana (8-4, 6-3 Southland) at No. 6 seed Montana (9-3, 6-2 Big Sky)
Kickoff – 3 p.m. ET at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Montana
Coverage – ESPN3
Series – First meeting
Coaches – Southeastern Louisiana: Frank Scelfo (12-11, two seasons); Montana: Bobby Hauck (95-25, nine seasons; 110-75 overall)
3 Players to Watch – Southeastern Louisiana: QB Chason Virgil (275 of 416, 3,355 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTS), RB Devonte Williams (1,099 scrimmage yards, 12 total TDs), DE Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (59 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 7½ sacks); Montana: QB Dalton Sneed (2,904 yards of total offense, 24 total TDs), RB Marcus Knight (1,169 scrimmage yards, 21 TDs), MLB Dante Olson (151 tackles, 9½ tackles for loss)
The Skinny – Southeastern is coming off a shootout win in the first round and this game could be another one as the Lions are ranked eighth in the FCS in points per game (37.3) and Montana 13th (35.9). In the Lions’ win over Villanova, Virgil connected with C.J. Turner for a game-tying touchdown with 2:56 left and then Bryce Broussard’s PAT provided their first and only lead needed. Scelfo has utilized Arkansas transfer QB Cole Kelley (10 rushing TDs) often off the bench, but Virgil took control of the win with a career-high 474 passing yards and three TDs. The Southland squad is the only FCS team with five players above 500 receiving yards, led by WRs Austin Mitchell (837) and C.J. Turner (815). CB Ferlando Jordan (5 INTs, 8 PBUs) will play a big role against Montana’s WR triumvirate of Samori Toure, Samuel Akem and Jerry Louie-McGee, who have a combined 172 receptions for 2,415 yards and 18 TDs. Sneed has big-time help in the offensive backfield with Knight, the Big Sky newcomer of the year who’s scored a TD in nine straight games. The Griz boast two first-team All-Big Sky linebackers in Olson (302 tackles the last two seasons) and Jace Lewis (116 tackles). S Robby Hauck, the coach’s son, is a third Griz over 100 tackles with 120.
Up Next – The winner will play either Kennesaw State (11-2) or No. 3 seed Weber State (9-3) in the quarterfinals Dec. 13 or 14.
Prediction – The Griz have had two weeks to clear the cobwebs from a 48-14 loss to rival Montana State to end the regular season. A raucous crowd will aid the home team. Montana, 38-28.