BROOKINGS — The second season gets underway Saturday for the South Dakota State football team in the FCS playoffs.

The Jackrabbits, who are making their 10th consecutive playoff appearance, will host the University of California, Davis at 2 p.m. at Dykhouse Stadium in an FCS first-round game.

Aside from both having 8-3 records, the teams have their similarities, being ranked in the top-5 a few weeks ago before difficult late-season losses. Both teams won season openers against FBS opponents, with SDSU winning 43-23 over Colorado State and UC Davis winning 19-17 at Tulsa. Those games were at the beginning of hot starts to the season, with SDSU winning its first four games and starting 5-1, while UC Davis 5-0 and 8-1 at various points in the season before a 38-20 loss at Eastern Washington and a 27-7 loss vs. rival Sacramento State last week.

The schools were charter members of the Great West Football Conference in 2004, both making the leap up to Division I football. Coincidentally, the two teams are scheduled to play again in 2022 for SDSU’s home opener on Sept. 10 in Brookings.

SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier described the Aggies as a team with no weaknesses and a lot of skill. It’s a matchup of the two conferences that got the most teams in the 24-team bracket, with six teams from the Missouri Valley and five from the Big Sky Conference. (Northern Iowa at Eastern Washington is another matchup between the Valley and Big Sky on the opening weekend.)

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“We’re going to have to beat them, they’re not going to beat themselves,” he said. “They’ve had to play their tails off every week to win in their league. They beat an FBS team like we did, so they’re a good football team, right out of the chute.”

If not for a Hail Mary, final-second defeat at South Dakota on Nov. 13, the Jackrabbits would have closed the regular season with four straight wins. That loss moved SDSU to playing on the first weekend of the postseason and playing without a seed and a bye for the first time since 2015. Even then, SDSU has been 7-1 in home playoff games since that season.

“I think the pressure or the expectations comes from within our locker room and having finished second in the spring not that long ago, to have that opportunity again is motivation/pressure,” Stiegelmeier said. “Twenty-four teams got in, and seed or no seed, they’ve all got the same goal to get to Frisco, (Texas).”

The winner will head west next week to take on No. 4-seeded Sacramento State (9-2) for an 8 p.m. Central time game on Dec. 4. Unless there are major upsets later in the bracket, Saturday's game will be the last home game of the season for SDSU.

If there’s one matchup to watch, it’s likely when UC Davis has the ball and wants to run it. The Aggies rank in the top-30 nationally for rushing yards per game at 175 per contest, while SDSU is allowing just 2.9 yards per rush and 11th in rushing defense at 98 yards allowed rushing per game.