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Montana State, Montana get first-round byes in FCS playoffs

November 24, 2019 GMT
Montana State running back Isaiah Ifanse pushes through the middle during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Montana, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 in Bozeman, Mont. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP)
Montana State running back Isaiah Ifanse pushes through the middle during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Montana, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 in Bozeman, Mont. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP)

The Montana State and Montana football teams received first-round byes in the FCS playoffs.

Montana State (9-3) was seeded fifth and Montana (9-3) sixth in the 24-team field announced Sunday, a day after the Bobcats beat the Grizzlies 48-14. The top eight teams will host second-round games.

The winner of the first-round game between Albany and Central Connecticut will travel to Montana State for a second-round game while the Southeast Louisiana-Villanova winner will play at Montana. Both games are at 1 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Only two of the four Big Sky Conference teams in the field could advance to the semifinals. If they all win their second-round games, Montana would meet third seed Weber State (9-3) in the quarterfinals and Montana State would take on fourth seed Sacramento State (9-3).

North Dakota State (12-0), which has won seven out of the last eight FCS championships, is seeded first. James Madison (11-1), the 2016 champ and 2017 runner-up, is seeded second.