Sam Houston State faces South Dakota State in the FCS National Championship Game at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Sunday, May 16, 2021 (5/16/21).
How to watch FCS National Championship game?
- What: FCS National Championship Game
- Who: South Dakota State vs. Sam Houston
- When: Sunday, May 16, 2021
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- Where: Toyota Stadium
- TV: ABC
FCS National Championship Preview: SAMHOU vs SD State
Jequez Ezzard’s catch-and-run for a touchdown and punt return for a score were among two of three touchdowns Sam Houston State scored in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter en route to a 38-35 comeback win against James Madison on Saturday.
“At no point I thought we would lose,” Bearkats coach K.C. Keeler said in an interview after the game.
Second-seeded Sam Houston State (9-0) advances to the FCS title game to face No. 1-seed South Dakota State (8-1) on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. The Jackrabbits dismantled Delaware 33-3 earlier Saturday. It’s the Bearkats’ first trip to the title game since losing in 2012 to North Dakota State.
James Madison led 24-3 at halftime and were up 27-10 with three minutes left in the third before Ezzard struck.
Eric Schmid threw a slant to Ezzard who caught the ball about 14 yards into his route and he took it the rest of the way for a 69-yard touchdown reducing the deficit to 27-17.
After forcing James Madison to three-and-out, Ezzard ran back a punt 80 yards to cut the lead to three. Zyon McCollum then picked off Cole Johnson after his pass bounced off the hands of his intended receiver on the Dukes’ first play of the drive.
Schmid ran it in from 20 yards out as time expired to end the third quarter for a 31-27 Sam Houston State lead it never gave back.
Ezzard finished with 107 yards receiving on four receptions.
Johnson threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns for James Madison.
Mark Gronowski passed for two touchdowns and caught a 24-yard TD pass from Pierre Strong Jr. to help top-seeded South Dakota State beat Delaware 33-3 in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
South Dakota State, in its ninth consecutive FCS playoffs appearance, advanced to the championship game for the first time in program history. The Jackrabbits (8-1) will face Sam Houston State in the championship game on May 16 in Frisco, Texas.
Gronowski had 115 of his 162 yards passing, 23 of his 27 yards rushing and all of his 24 yards receiving in the first half to help South Dakota State build a 27-3 lead.
Strong ran 14 times for 73 yards and a touchdown and Isaiah Davis added 70 yards rushing on nine carries. Jaxon Janke caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt 55 yards in the second quarter.
The Blue Hens (7-1) took a 3-0 lead on Ryan Coe’s field goal with 3:44 left in the first quarter. South Dakota State needed only 7 minutes, 26 seconds time of possession to score TDs on its next four drives.
Nolan Henderson completed 18 of 21 passes for 142 yards for Delaware. The Blue Hens won six national championships between 1946 and 2003. Since advancing to the FCS championship game in 2007 and 2010, the program had appeared in the playoffs just once, in 2018, before this season.
The Jackrabbits defense had seven sacks and held the Blue Hens to 68 yards rushing on 45 carries.