South Dakota State, the No. 8 team in the FCS preseason rankings, finished 8-4 last season and fell to Montana, 24-17, in the first round of the FCS playoffs. Both SDSU and TCU posted victories over Kansas last season. SDSU won, 41-38, in its season opener in Lawrence, Kan. TCU defeated the Jayhawks 23-17 on Nov. 14 in Fort Worth.
SDSU quarterback Taryn Christion, a sophomore, begins his first full season as the Jackrabbits’ starter. Christion, who posted a 3-1 record as a starter last year, won the starting job in fall drills. in 2015, Christion ranked second on team with 1,286 passing yards and third on squad with 347 rushing yards.
He was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week after throwing for 221 yards and a touchdown and running for 99 yards and a score in Oct. 10 debut versus Indiana State. He repeated as MVFC Newcomer of the Week the next week at Youngstown State as he scored on a 70-yard run and completed 8-of- 14 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Finally, Christion started the team’s FCS playoff game at Montana and finished the afternoon 18-of- 43 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown to go along with 19 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.
South Dakota State returns its top three running backs from a season ago — all of whom recorded at least 100-yard rushing game. Junior Brady Mengarelli led the team with 742 rushing yards — averaging 5.8 yards per carry — and added 23 receptions for 232 yards, while finding the end zone a total of eight times – six on the ground and two through the air. Senior Kyle Paris, who finished second on the team with 428 yards rushing, and Isaac Wallace, who tallied 198 yards on the ground, also are back South Dakota State is 4-6 in its last 10 openers, including a 1-3 mark against FBS opponents.
Why Bet on TCU?
Obviously the Frogs are much more talented. Replacing Boykin at QB will be Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill. Hill, the starting quarterback at Texas A&M for eight games in 2014, had been competing with third- year sophomore Foster Sawyer for the job. Hill succeeded Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at A&M in 2014 and achieved immediate stardom as a sophomore, breaking the school’s single-game passing record with 511 yards in a blowout road win over then-No. 9 South Carolina in his first career start. He threw for 2,649 yards and 23 touchdowns on almost 67 percent passing during his stint as the Aggies’ starting quarterback and led the team to a 5-0 start. But he was benched after a three-game losing streak capped by a 59-0 loss at Alabama. He eventually was suspended and left.
The Horned Frogs return 13 starters (seven defensive, six offensive) from last season. That total doesn’t include six starters (four defensive, two offensive) who were sidelined for the year due to injury. The Horned Frogs have the Big 12’s best overall record (23-3) and conference mark (15-3) over the last two seasons.
TCU is 11-4 in season debuts under Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs have won their last two season openers and 11 of the past 13, including victories over No. 5 Oklahoma in 2005 and No. 22 Oregon State in 2010. The Frogs have won their last 14 home openers for the nation’s fifth-longest active streak, trailing only Florida (27), Illinois (19), Arizona State (17) and Arizona (16).
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