FCS Playoffs: UAlbany at Montana State

NCAA Football

FCS Second-Round Playoff

The Matchup – UAlbany (9-4, 6-2 CAA) at No. 5 seed Montana State (9-3, 6-2 Big Sky)

Kickoff – 3 p.m. ET at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Montana

Coverage – ESPN3

Series – First meeting

Coaches – Albany: Greg Gattuso (33-36, six seasons; 129-68 overall); Montana State: Jeff Choate (26-21, four seasons)

3 Players to Watch – Albany: QB Jeff Undercuffler (244 of 427, 3,270 yards, 39 TDs, 8 INTs), WR Juwan Green (80 receptions, 1,263 yards, 16 TDs), DE Eli Mencer (23 tackles for loss, 14½ sacks, 4 takeaways); Montana State: QB Tucker Rovig (122 of 207, 1,426 yards, 10 TDs), RB Isaiah Ifanse (518 rushing yards, 7.1-yard average, 4 TDs), DE Bryce Sterk (56 tackles, 16½ tackles for loss, 13 sacks)

The Skinny – Undercuffler threw six TD passes to five different receivers in a 42-14, first-round rout of Central Connecticut State, giving him an FCS single-season record for a freshman (39). RB Karl Mofor caught one of the scores, but the CAA runner-up needs him to produce on the ground – he has seven 100-yard rushing games this season. Three Great Danes have reached 100 tackles: Levi Metheny (113), Danny Damico (101) and A.J. Mistler (100). Their defense is allowing 148.2 rushing yards per game and bracing for Montana State’s run-heavy offense, which ranks sixth in the FCS in rushing yards per game (270.1) and has 39 TDs on the ground. The Bobcats, who enjoyed a first-round bye, unveil a deep unit of running backs, including Ifanse, their 2018 rushing leader who has returned from injury to produce 248 yards and four TDs on 31 carries the last two games; Logan Jones (788 yards, four TDs), the team’s leading rusher; and Troy Andersen, who has a nose for the goal line. The Big Sky squad is plus-10 in turnover margin with Brayden Konkol responsible for four takeaways. Jered Padmos is ranked fifth nationally with a 44.9-yard punting average.

Up Next – The winner will play either Austin Peay (10-3) or No. 4 seed Sacramento State (9-3) in the quarterfinals Dec. 13 or 14.

Prediction – That UAlbany allowed 199 rushing yards in last week’s win suggests it will struggle to stop the Bobcats on the ground. Montana State, 35-21.

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