South Dakota State earns top seed for spring FCS playoffs


South Dakota State (5-1), winner of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, earned the top seed in the 16-team field for spring FCS playoffs, which was announced Sunday. South Dakota State, which is making its 10th appearance in the championship, will open play April 24 against Holy Cross (3-0), the Patriot League champion.

Sam Houston (6-0) of the Southland Conference is the No. 2 seed, with James Madison (5-0) of the Colonial Athletic Association the No. 3 seed and Jacksonville State (9-2) of the Ohio Valley Conference the No. 4 seed.

The field includes 10 automatic qualifiers and six at-large teams. All the first-round games will be played April 24, with the quarterfinals on May 1 and 2. The semifinals are scheduled for May 8, with the championship game May 16. All games will be aired on the ESPN family of networks, with the title game on ABC at 2 p.m.

First-round games, April 24
All games ET and on ESPN3

Monmouth (3-0) at Sam Houston (6-0), noon
Davidson (4-2) at Jacksonville State (9-2), 2 p.m.
VMI (6-1) at James Madison (5-0), 2 p.m.
Holy Cross (3-0) at South Dakota State (5-1), 3 p.m.
Eastern Washington (5-1) at North Dakota State (6-2), 3:30 p.m.
Missouri State (5-4) at North Dakota (4-1), 4 p.m.
Southern Illinois (5-3) at Weber State (5-0), 4 p.m.
Sacred Heart (3-1) at Delaware (5-0), 7 p.m.

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