Rants & Raves: UAPB

Wow!  I never ever thought I would see a game like that live.  I never really understood how a game could get so out of control like that but after watching it live I now understand.  To be honest, I thought UAPB would put up more of a fight.  UAPB choosing to hold out their top two quarterbacks out of the game definitely added an unforeseen wrinkle.  However, I entirely did not expect their defense to be completely unable to tackle our skill players.  So with that, here are a few rants and raves this week.

Rave: I feel great about the wide receiver group.  Cade Johnson (5 rec, 162 yards, and 2 TD), Adam Anderson (4 rec, 128 yards, and 1 TD), Marquise Lewis, and Jacob Brown (1 rec, 9 yards, and 1 TD) are a great group.  Alex Wilde (4 rec, 66 yards) also made a few really nice catches on Saturday.  The Jacks will still be adding Deyon Campbell into the mix too.  I would not be surprised if he made his debut against NDSU.

Rave: Reece Winkleman made a statement in his first start, finis…

3 Matchups to Watch: UAPB

In 2017 "3 Matchups to Watch" was my favorite blog every week.  Digging into the rosters and figuring out how the teams match up is part of the fun.  Every team has strengths.  Every team has weaknesses.  Sometimes one teams strengths align with the opponents strengths creating a "unstoppable force meets unmovable object" scenario.  How the opponent works to exploit those weaknesses or minimize the opponents strengths is part of the fun.

So here we go with the 2018 version...

3 Matchups to Watch:

1. Jordan Brown vs. Josh Wilkes
This matchup has me pumped for Saturday!  JB is one of the best cornerbacks in the FCS and is drawing interest from NFL scouts.  Wilkes, a former Eastern Michigan commit, is 2nd in the FCS in receiving yards with 420 yards.  I would fully expect Brown to lock in on Wilkes wherever he lines up.  Last year, Wilkes was playing at junior college powerhouse Butler CC and was receiving offers from FBS schools, including Southern Mississippi.  He posse…

Game Preview: University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

The Jackrabbits are 1-0 after a statement 45-14 victory against Montana State last Saturday.  This week the Jackrabbits face the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) Golden Lions who are 1-1 on the season.  I believe this is the first meeting between the two institutions.  Last week, Pine-Bluff defeated Cumberland University from the NAIA 55-0.   UAPB has a new head coach this season in Cedric Thompson.  Previously he was the defensive back coach at Alcorn State since 2012.  One area that they need to clean up is their penalties.  Coach Thompson addressed this in his postgame interview following the Morehouse defeat.  Through just two games they have been called for 21 penalties for 248 yards.

Through two games it is pretty evident that the Golden Lions want to air the ball out through a spread attack.  As a team they have passed for 826 yards versus just 280 on the ground. The quarterback,  #10 Shannon Patrick is a junior who has been really letting it rip this season.  …

Rants & Raves: Montana State

(Photo by Larry Sellers)

Wow! Wasn't Saturday fun?  I forgot how much I missed college football Saturdays!  I apologize that I haven't been able to do opponent previews the past two weeks.  In a bit of personal news, I am now working at another institution.  The first few weeks have been some long hours and a big learning curve.  However, I'm hoping that this week the days aren't quite as long and I'll have some time to write in the evenings again. 

Rants and Raves
This week's "Rants & Raves" are difficult as the Jacks came out and played a pretty clean game so there will be lots of "raves" and few "rants."

Rave: Obviously, Cade Johnson had a big game (9 rec. 138, 4 TD) but Adam Anderson also came up big with 4 rec for 86 yards.  Marquise Lewis made two timely catches and Mikey Daniel caught four passes out of the backfield.  The big question entering the season is who is going to step up and make plays on the outside.  Saturday…

2019 Class: Where do the Jacks stand?

UPDATED to reflect the verbal commit of Diamond Evans on 9/17/18.

Since the June 23rd weekend the recruits have been coming in at a slower pace.  However, after making such a big splash early in the period it is not surprising that things have slowed down.  One thing that hasn't changed is the quality.  The quality of player the Jackrabbit coaching staff is finding has never been higher.  The success in the playoffs, the outstanding facilities, and landing a player in the second round of the NFL draft are all playing a role.  But when I talk to recruits, the number one thing that sells them on SDSU is the coaching staff and the culture that has been built in Brookings.  So, I thought it would be helpful if I updated where the class is at and included the link to each player's HUDL tapes in case there are any more recruiting nerds out there.

Keaton Heide- Quarterback- 6'3, 190- Plymouth, Minnesota
Karst Hunter- Quarterback- 6'4, 200- Miller, South Dakota
Canyon Bauer- Wid…

5 Potential Breakout Players To Watch: Offense

Yesterday we took a look at the potential breakout players for the Jackrabbit defense and today we are looking at the breakout candidates for the offense.  This group is interesting because of the losses of some outstanding seniors.  However, the cupboard is far from bare.  The Jackrabbit offense will likely be more of a balanced attack in 2018.  There are many experienced returning players (Taryn Christion, Wes Genant, Jacob Brown, Marquise Lewis, Mikey Daniel, Isaac Wallace, Tiano Pupungatoa) but there are also others who Jackrabbit fans may not be as familiar with.    

#20 Pierre Strong and #8 CJ Wilson are two freshmen running backs who have very different styles.  Strong is powerful with the ball in his hands and seems to always fall forward.  Strong seems to fit the classic mold of the powerful workhorse back that Jackrabbit fans have enjoyed over the years.  Wilson is shifty and really dynamic carrying the ball.  The Jacks have not had a running back like him in recent memory …

5 Potential Breakout Players to Watch: Defense

The beauty of college football is that every year players step out of nowhere and make a difference.  Some may be transfers, some may be incoming freshmen, and others may be players who worked on their craft for a few years and everything has finally clicked.  This year is no different as players have taken a leap and will now be counted on to be impact players.   We are focusing today on the defensive side of the ball which has been really impressive so far in fall camp.  Last year I think we nailed a couple of the names on our breakout list as we recognized both Ryan Earith and Logan Backhaus.  The others all had nice seasons and will look to continue that upward trajectory in 2018.  Overall this summer the defense is playing fast and physical.  I'm really looking for this unit to take a big step forward this season and become a dominant, shutdown, hit-you-in-the-mouth type of defense.

#69 Krockett Krolikowski was one injury away from playing last year as a true freshmen.  He d…