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SDSU football receives No. 7 seed in FCS playoffs

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South Dakota State quarterback Keaton Heide throws a pass during a Nov. 23 game against South Dakota at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

The South Dakota State University football team knew it was getting into the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs Sunday.

Getting a first-round bye? That was a surprise.

The Jackrabbits (8-4) were seeded seventh in the 24-team bracket, despite a 24-21 loss to rival South Dakota on Saturday in the regular-season finale but won't have to play on Thanksgiving weekend. SDSU is the first four-loss team to be seeded since the field was expanded in 2013 but will make its eighth-straight FCS playoffs appearance.

The Jacks will host the winner of San Diego and Northern Iowa at 1 p.m. on Dec. 7 in Brookings. SDSU beat Northern Iowa on Nov. 16 in a 38-7 triumph in Brookings, and also hosted UNI in a second-round game in 2017, which the Jacks' won 37-22.

The winner of that game will potentially face No. 2 James Madison in the FCS quarterfinals. SDSU, which has made the tournament semifinals in each of the last two years, lost three of its final five games in the regular season after a 6-1 start but the team has been hurt by injuries to starting quarterback J'Bore Gibbs and running backs Pierre Strong and C.J. Wilson.

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NCAA Division I FCS playoffs

Opening round -- Nov. 30

North Dakota (7-4) at Nicholls State (8-4), 3 p.m.

Illinois State (8-4) at Southeast Missouri State (9-3), 1 p.m.

Central Connecticut State (11-1) at Albany (8-4), noon

Furman (8-4) at Austin Peay (9-3), noon

Kennesaw State (10-2) at Wofford (8-3), 12:30 p.m.

Villanova (9-3) at Southeastern Louisiana (7-4), 3 p.m.

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San Diego (9-2) at Northern Iowa (8-4), 1 p.m.

Holy Cross (7-5) at Monmouth (10-2), 11 a.m.

Second round -- Dec. 7

North Dakota/Nicholls State winner at No. 1 North Dakota State (12-0), 2:30 p.m.

Illinois State/SE Missouri State winner at No. 8 Central Arkansas (9-3), 3 p.m.

Central Conn. St./Albany winner at No. 5 Montana State (9-3), 2 p.m.

Furman/Austin Peay winner at No. 4 Sacramento State (9-3), 8 p.m.

Wofford/Kennesaw State winner at No. 3 Weber State (9-3), 2 p.m.

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Southeastern Louisiana/Villanova winner at No. 6 Montana (9-3), 2 p.m.

Northern Iowa/San Diego winner at No. 7 South Dakota State (8-4), 1 p.m.

Holy Cross/Monmouth winner at No. 2 James Madison (11-1), noon.

Related Topics: FOOTBALLFCS FOOTBALL
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