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2016 FCS Playoffs: Villanova vs. South Dakota State Preview

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A Top-10 matchup this early in the Playoffs? Yes please.

South Dakota State v TCU Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

When the Villanova Wildcats and South Dakota State Jackrabbits meet this Saturday, one of the best passing offenses in the country will face off against one of the best defenses in the country.

The forecast calls for cold weather and some wind - but clear skies - in Brookings on Saturday. We shouldn’t expect too much of a deviation from each team’s regular gameplan which has brought them this far.

Here are three things to watch on Saturday afternoon.

Battle of the dual-threat sophomores

Villanova’s Zach Bednarczyk and the Jacks’ Taryn Christion have both put together excellent seasons on the ground and through the air. Bednarczyk has used his legs (4.5 ypc, 2 TDs) to keep defenses honest, but a big improvement in his passing (60.5%, 18 TDs, 10 INTs) has allowed for some big plays with a young WR corps.

Christion is one of the games elite passers. His line this season (64.1%, 3369 yards, 29 TDs, 8 INTs) is elite at the FCS level. He can run too (3.4 ypc, 6 TDs), so the ‘Cats will neded to keep contain on him when they bring pressure.

It goes without saying, the QB that has the better game will likely lead his team to victory.

Stopping Jake Wieneke and Dallas Goedert

Christion’s favorite receivers are a pair of big targets in Wieneke and Goedert.

Now in his third season playing with the Jacks, the 6’4” Wieneke (70 receptions, 1204 yards, 16 TDs) has topped 1000 yards receiving ever year. He’s a big-play threat downfield and Christion loves to throw fades in the redzone. Expect to see plenty of Malik Reaves on him who possesses good size at CB.

Goedert, a 6’5” 250 lb. tight end, is equally as dangerous. He posted 78 receptions for 1146 yards and 10 touchdowns. Villanova likes to bring pressure from all three levels and Goedert is talented enough to expose the gaps left behind.

Can the Wildcats control the clock?

While not nearly as explosive as the Jacks, Villanova’s ball-control offense has put up plenty of point this year. They can strike when given the opportunity, but will likely prefer to control the clock and keep their defense fresh.

Expect to see heavy doses of Aaron Forbes, Javon White and Matt Gudzak. All three provide a different skillset and will be necessary to wear down the Jackrabbit defense.