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3 Matchups to Watch: USD

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Photo by Abby Fullenkamp
Well the game is just a day away.  I've received a fair amount of heat for my predicted score, a ten point SDSU victory.  After watching three USD games, I think that it will be tight.  USD is not a bad team.  Their defense played GREAT against WIU last week in a game that Western really really need to win.  Their offense is capable but mistake prone.  If they put it together again, it will be a close game.

3 Matchups to Watch
1. Jackrabbit defense vs. Austin Simmons
At the start of the season Coyote fans were quick to tell anyone that would listen that Simmons was Chris Streveler 2.0.  Simmons has been okay and has played very well the past two weeks. The Jacks haven't been great against mobile quarterbacks and Simmons certainly brings that dimension to the game.  If the Jacks can limit his impact on the ground and make it just a passer, they will win.

2. Evan Greeneway vs. Darin Greenfield
Greenfield is a pain but Greeneway has been great in 2018.  Gree…

Game Preview: University of South Dakota

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Saturday brings another rivalry game. Yes the Jackrabbits (7-2) have dominated the Coyotes (4-6) for many many years (some of the players on the roster weren't born when USD last defeated SDSU) but it is still a rivalry game and USD tends to play up for this game.  The Coyotes have talent on both sides of the ball but have struggled in 2018 to put it all together.    
Bob Nielson is at the helm for his 3rd season with the Yotes.  He's a good coach that supposedly spurned an FBS offer in 2017 to stay with the USD.  I still think he will get USD turned around but the team certainly needs a dose of self-discipline as their games have been marred by silly penalties and antics that distract from the success of the team.  They are coming off a big win against WIU that ended a four game skid.  They played Kansas State tough in the season opener but have not replicated that type of performance since.     
Offense USD is not the dynamic offense they were in 2017 when Chris Streveler wa…

Rants & Raves: SIU

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Photo By Abby Fullenkamp
The Jackrabbits won on Saturday to push their record to 7-2 and have likely secured a playoff spot.  Their was chaos all over the rest of the MVFC so it was good to see SDSU take care of business.  The Jacks won 57-38 and the outcome never felt much in doubt.  The defense can play better but SIU's offense is tough and they do have some very good athletes.  I think SIU is headed in the right direction and will be relevant in a year or two considering how many one score losses they had this season. 

Rants and Raves
Rave: The #605Hogs dominated on Saturday.  The Jackrabbits averaged 8.1 yards per carry and Taryn was only sacked twice, both coverage sacks.  It is apparent that the starting five, when healthy, are as good as any offensive line SDSU has trotted out on the field in recent years.  Watching Eagan and Tiano pull and eliminate defenders is a thing of beauty.  Also, the guy doesn't get a ton of love but Tyler Weir has become a really really good ri…

3 Matchups to Watch: SIU

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Photo by Abby Fullenkamp
As I shared yesterday, SIU is a dangerous team.  They are playing well and they have talented players on the roster.  The Jackrabbits will have to play a good game to come away with a win.  SIU is multidimensional on offense and can move the ball on the ground or through the air.  Their defense has been decimated by injury.  If SIU is able to sneak out a victory, it will be because of a shootout. 

3 Matchups to Watch
1. Dalton Cox & Logan Backhuas vs.  Running back D.J. Davis
This is a big IF because I can't tell if D.J. Davis is hurt or not and I can't find anything in the news that says he is.  He is the most explosive weapon that SIU has but he hasn't gotten his typical amount of touches the past two weeks. Last week, he fumbled midway through the second quarter and only had one other touch the rest of the game.  If he is hurt, the SIU offense is not as dangerous as the option isn't as scary without the home run threat.  However if he doe…

Game Preview: Southern Illinois University

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The Jackrabbits (6-2, 4-2) travel to Carbondale, Illinois to take on the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Salukis (2-7, 1-5). SIU has had a disappointing season but they are much better than their record indicates.  Their only "blow-out" loss came at Illinois State but they have certainly been competitive in every other game.  Analyzing their roster shows that there is talent there but they maybe don't have the depth and experience quite yet to come away with a victory in a close MVFC game.

Nick Hill is in his third year as the head coach and has really rebuilt the roster from the ground up.  SIU has brought in a number of transfers to speed up the rebuilding process but Hill's recruits are starting to take-over the playing time.  Next season may be Hill's last opportunity to prove that he is the guy for the job.  I'm sure the players and coaching staff would love to start building momentum for next season by ending the current season on a two game winning…

Rants & Raves MSU

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Wow! What a game in Brookings on Saturday.  I was nervous heading in, mostly because of the weather but also because Missouri State's offense can put points on the board.  However, the Jacks put together their most complete game of the year and dominated from start to finish.

Rants & Raves
Rave: The Jackrabbit defense was awesome but it started with the front four.  Ryan Earith was everywhere and when he wasn't applying pressure Elijah Wilson, Austin Smenda, Krockett Krolikowski, Xavier Ward, Thomas Stacker, Spencer Hildahl, Reece Winkelman, Caleb Sanders, or Tolu Ogunrinde were in the face of Huslig.  It didn't matter who was in the game, there was pressure on the MSU quarterback.  It was the best performance from a Jackrabbit "front four" that I have seen in the 12 years I have been closely following Jackrabbit football. 

Rave: Sticking with the theme of winning in the trenches... the #605Hogs controlled the line of scrimmage.  Taryn was hit on the first 3…

3 Matchups to Watch: Missouri State

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I want to first apologize for the lack of coverage this week.  It has been a perfect storm with travel for work and evening activities with my family nearly every night I have been home.  Tonight (Thursday night) is the first real opportunity I have had all week to research and write.  The opponent preview takes about 2.5 hours of researching and writing and if I get to watch any games on ESPN+ that is additional time, "Rants & Raves" takes an hour to write and edit, while "4th & Goal" has taken at least 2 hours both times I have written it.  As most of you know, I do this for free so my priorities need to be with my family and my job as I haven't quite figured out how to pay the bills off this little adventure yet.  I appreciate your understanding and hopefully will get back on the regular schedule with content next week.

Missouri State enters Dana J. Dykhouse stadium as an improved and dangerous team.  However, the Jackrabbits are coming off of maybe…