South Dakota vs. South Dakota State Odds, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Marquee FCS Matchup
Photo by Tommy Martino/University of Montana via Getty Images. Pictured: Tre Thomas, Myles Harden & Dennis Shorter (South Dakota)
- The South Dakota Coyotes take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Saturday FCS college football action.
- This matchup marks one of the best rivalries in the FCS, so we're looking to bet it.
- Check out Keg's full breakdown and betting pick for USD vs. SDSU below.
South Dakota vs. South Dakota State Odds
The 117th meeting of the South Dakota Showdown will take place on Saturday. It won't be the most wagered on game or the most-watched game, but it just might be the most interesting.
To fully appreciate this matchup, you must understand its history. South Dakota State and South Dakota played each other for the first time in 1889. It is the oldest rivalry between two public universities in the same state, which the names are "University of ____ vs. ____ State University."
That first game in 1889 ended in a 6-6 tie and was part of a two-day Olympiad-style event between the two schools. School records indicate it took two days traveling by horse for SDSU to get to Sioux Falls for the event. The series resumed in 1900, but USD went 19 years before giving up a loss to SDSU.
The series took a break when SDSU transitioned to the FCS in 2004, but picked back up again in 2012 when South Dakota joined it. Since 1990, SDSU is 21-5 against the Coyotes. However, the Jackrabbits barely hold the lead in the all-time series, currently at 55-54.
Most importantly, the Coyotes are on a two-game win streak in the series for the first time since 1989.
Due to the COVID-19 year, these teams didn't play in 2020. But in 2019, the Coyotes took down their rival for the first time since joining the FCS.
They followed that program-defining win last year by pulling off a miracle in the DakotaDome.
SOUTH DAKOTA WINS IT WITH A HAIL MARY 🤯
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 13, 2021
Now ranked third in the FCS standings, the Jackrabbits will look to reclaim bragging rights in the state for the first time in nearly four years. South Dakota might not have the magic of the DakotaDome on its side this year, but it's coming off of a bye week.
Is there any chance South Dakota can win three in a row for the first time since 1987? Or will the third time truly be the charm for the Jackrabbits?
The Coyotes have received votes for the FCS top 25, but have yet to crack the rankings.
In their last game, they went to the half with a 17-10 lead over No. 1-ranked North Dakota State. Unfortunately, the Coyotes could not hold off the powerhouse Bison and lost the game 34-17.
The Coyotes' offense has focused primarily on the ground game, averaging 143 rushing yards per contest.
South Dakota also expects to have its top linemen available for the first time this season when it meets the Jacks on Saturday.
Establishing the run will be one of the most critical factors for the Coyotes if they want to keep this game close.
However, SDSU has yet to give up a run of more than 15 yards this season. Opponents have averaged just 2.7 yards per carry against the Jackrabbits.
Defensively, the Coyotes rank fifth in the Valley in scoring defense, but have struggled specifically with run defense, giving up 239 rushing yards per game so far this season while also surrendering 5.6 yards per carry.
Myles Harden is the focal point of the defense and one of the best defenders in the country, FBS or FCS.
Harden has four forced fumbles on the season and three interceptions to go along with it. He has four tackles for loss on the season and ranks ninth in the Valley in tackles per game.
The Jackrabbits are led by possibly the best quarterback you've never heard of: Mark Gronowski.
He missed all of last season due to an ACL tear in the FCS Championship game during the 2021 spring season, but he's back and primed for a huge year.
Gronowski led the team to an FCS Championship as a true freshman while racking up a trophy case full of accolades, including;
- Phil Steele FCS Freshman of the Year (2020-21)
- Stats Perform Jerry Rice Award Finalist/Runner-up (2020-21)
- HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-America Team (2020-21)
- Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year (2020-21)
- MVFC Newcomer of the Year (2020-21)
- MVFC Freshman of the Year (2020-21)
- All-MVFC First Team (2020-21)
It's been a slow start to 2022 for Gronowski — who ranks sixth in the Valley in passing yards per game and fifth in efficiency — but this can somewhat be attributed to the Jacks' success running the ball.
South Dakota State ranks second in the Valley in rushing attempts and yards. Expect the running game to be once again be the backbone of the offense against a Coyotes team that is last in the conference in rushing yards allowed.
South Dakota vs. South Dakota State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how South Dakota and South Dakota State match up statistically:
South Dakota Offense vs. South Dakota State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
South Dakota State Offense vs. South Dakota Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||—||—|
|Seconds per Play||—||—|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
South Dakota vs. South Dakota State Betting Pick
South Dakota may be 1-3 on the season, but that has been against one of the most demanding FCS schedules imaginable — Kansas State and two of the top-three ranked FCS teams.
The Jackrabbits aren't playing buy games, either — they rank sixth in strength of schedule among FCS teams.
However, after seeing this line open up at +12 for South Dakota, I have no choice but to back the Coyotes here. South Dakota had a lead against the No. 1 team in the nation at halftime last week, and for the first time this season, it will have a healthy offensive line.
Carson Camp threw the Hail Mary pass to beat South Dakota State last year, and he knows what this rivalry is about. Not only has he experienced it, but he's also a part of one of the greatest plays in its 117-year history.
He'll also have eight other Coyotes who were a part of the 2018 win over SDSU.
SDSU standouts Gronowski and Isaiah Davis will have their first experiences in the South Dakota Showdown on Saturday, a series in which three of the last four meetings have been decided by three points or less.
Take the Coyotes and the points in what I expect to be another classic.