Nov. 30—SIOUX FALLS — It became obvious a few years back that a North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State FCS national championship game could one day happen.
After a couple near misses it finally did last winter, creating a uniquely upper midwest feel in January in northeast Texas. Seas of blue and green took up sides at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, and the Jackrabbits claimed their first title with a 45-21 win.
I spent the better part of a week down there in Texas mingling with fans from both sides, and, a little selfishly, came away from it thinking, you know, as fun as this is, how cool would it be if we someday got a Jackrabbits-Coyotes national championship?
It seemed far-fetched. It seemed impossible. It seemed, at the very least, a long ways away from ever happening.
Less than a year later, it is a realistic possibility.
Yeah, I know — you’re jinxing it, Zimmer. But hey, we have to address it. The stars might never align quite like this again.
South Dakota State has continued its dominance since winning it all, carrying a 25-game winning streak into Saturday’s second round playoff game against Mercer (1 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, ESPN+). USD is a playoff seed for the first time ever, ranked 3rd in the nation behind the Jacks and Montana. They’ve already won nine games, their most at the Division I level. The Coyotes host Sacramento State on Saturday (1 p.m. at the DakotaDome, ESPN+), looking for their first home playoff win at the FCS level.
There’s no denying that USD faces a challenging road to Frisco. If they beat the Hornets on Saturday, which is itself no small task, the Coyotes get the winner of Montana State and North Dakota State. Win that and they’re likely looking at a trip to Missoula to face Montana. I’ll go ahead and be the one to provide USD with some bulletin board material — I don’t…