Showing posts from September, 2017

3 Matchups I'm Watching: Youngstown State University

Since the initial game preview, we have learned that YSU quarterback, Hunter Wells, is healthy and ready to go.  Shoulder injuries can be tricky so we will see if the Jacks can get some pressure on him and make him uncomfortable.  The Jacks should be mostly healthy with only Tyler Weir's status in the air earlier this week.  On Thursday, this game was named the "Hero Sports FCS Game of the Week."  There are lots of eyes on this matchup between MVFC powers, lets see how they perform!

Here are the 3 matchups that I'm watching this weekend.

1. Jackrabbit Offensive Line vs. the YSU pass rushers
This seems to be a theme every week.  The strengths of the three opponents we have played so far has been the defensive line.  However, YSU's line is on another level.  Their line is not huge but they are athletic, fast and tenacious.  They want to get sacks.  They rotate 5 defensive ends and have strong returning starters in the interior.  Keep a special eye on #4 Justus Re…

Game Preview: The Youngstown State University Penguins

The Jackrabbits are in action again this week as they start MVFC play traveling to Youngstown, Ohio to face the Penguins of Youngstown State University (YSU).  The Penguins are coached by Bo Pelini and are coming off of last year's run to the National Championship game before losing to James Madison.  This year that have a 2-1 record with wins against Robert Morris (2-2) and Central Connecticut State (1-3) and their loss, in overtime, is against FBS member, Pitt (1-3).  Most folks thought that there would be a drop-off from the excellent defense that YSU played last year. However an influx of talented transfers has helped Youngstown remain a force and capture the #6 ranking in the STATS FCS Poll and #5 ranking in the Coaches Poll.  The game should be a great one as YSU and SDSU always battle hard.  YSU's stadium, Stambaugh Stadium, holds over 20,000 people.  YSU holds an impressive 164-54-1 record since moving to the stadium in 1982.

The penguin offense features a bal…

Rants & Raves: Drake

This weeks "Rants and Raves" will be pretty mild.  The Jacks did exactly what they needed to do; get up big, rest starters, get valuable experience for younger players.  I'm sure there are things for the team to clean up but it is important they get healed up before traveling to Youngstown State.

Rants & Raves
Rave: The Jackrabbit secondary bounced back from a poor performance against Montana State and had a really strong game against Drake.  They were out to set the tone early with Jordan Brown having a pass breakup on 1st down, Anthony Washington making a strong tackle for minimal gain on 2nd down, and Marshon Harris having a pass breakup on 3rd down.  Drake quarterback Grant Kraemer finished with 201 yards passing, but 62 of that came on a single play where the safety ran into Harris knocking him out of the play.  Also playing well was Zy Mosley who made strong open field tackles a couple of times in the game.  Additionally, the group held the leading receiver for…

3 Matchups I'm Watching: Drake

The Jacks take on the Drake Bulldogs on Saturday at 6pm in the 51st annual Beef Bowl.  The Jacks hold a 29-21 record in the Beef Bowl and will look to get win number 30.  The Beef Bowl, along with admissions recruiting event, Senior Day, always bring a big crowd to the game.  The general consensus is that the Jacks should have no problem with Drake.  Drake graduated their best players and their defense gave up 77 points in their only division 1 game against USD.  Lets hope the team can get off to a fast start and that the starters can get rested up, enjoy the bye, and prepare for the start of MVFC play and Youngstown State.

1. Jackrabbit secondary vs. The passing attack of Drake
The one key starter on offense that Drake returns is the quarterback, Grant Kraemer.  Kraemer is a capable passer and he throws a decent ball.  The issue is that he has an entirely new cast around him.  Mitch McFarlane made some plays in their victory last week but otherwise no one else has jumped off the pag…

Game Preview: The Drake Bulldogs

The Drake Bulldogs return to Brookings for the second consecutive year in non-conference action.  Last year the Jacks defeated Drake 56-28 but Drake certainly put up a fight.  However, that Drake team was loaded with seniors including their tight end, Eric Saubert, who is now with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL after being drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL draft.  Drake comes in on the season 1-1.  They were blown out by USD 77-7 in week one but dominated the NAIA's Southwestern (Kansas) Moundbuilders 55-14 in week two.  We don't have a lot to go by with this version of the Bulldogs but lets see if we can diagnose who they are and what they do.

Highlights from tonight's 55-14 win over Southwestern (Kan.) — Drake Football (@DrakeBulldogsFB) September 10, 2017Offense
Last year the Bulldogs scored an average of 28 points per game.  Through two weeks they are averaging 31 but the statistical reliability isn't very good…

Rants & Raves; Montana State

On Saturday night, the Jacks won a wild one against Montana State, 31-27.  The Jacks started fast one both sides of the ball but the Bobcats refused to go away and dominated two out of the three phases in second half.  At the end of the day, the Jacks came away with a victory and lots to improve upon.

Rants & Raves

Rave: The coaches for having the guts to call the fake field goal.  The coaches know that Vinatieri can make a 48 yard field goal.  He had booted a 47 yarder in the first quarter that would have been good from 55.  However, the Bobcats were selling out to block the kick and the fake was wide open.  It was fun because I had seen this play in practice in early August.  At that particular practice, Vinatieri broke through the line but then lost his footing and would have been tackled for a short gain.

Rant: The referees seemed to struggle the entire game.  Bignell's hit on Taryn in the first half was text book "targeting".  He lowered his head, struck with th…

3 Matchups I'm Watching: Montana State

(Photo Courtesy of Larry Sellers)
Earlier this week we broke down what you can expect from Montana State. Their localsports station did a nice half hour podcast that featured Jeff Choate's, the head coach, press conference earlier this week along with what the broadcasters expect out of SDSU.  It was a pretty insightful podcast and I would encourage any fan to take the time and listen to it.   

So here are the 3 match-ups that have my attention.

1. Jackrabbit OLB's vs. QB Chris Murray and the option.
Logan Backhaus looked great last week against Duquesne.  He was all over the field making plays.  Two plays that stand out to me are his great open field tackle and diving interception at the boundary.  Eric Kleinschmit was also making his first start.  Although he was pinned inside on an early 16 yard PJ Filmore run he rebounded to have a nice game finishing with 2 tackles including one for a loss.  Against the option they will have to be disciplined with their assignments.  They…

Game Preview: The Montana State University Bobcats

Montana State University  is a proud program, winners of 3 National Championships, that had a rough 2016, finishing 4-7.  However, they are a dangerous team who is on the upswing after going through a coaching change, adding Jeff Choate, before the 2016 season.   The Jacks last met Montana State in the 2014 FCS playoffs which was played in a blizzard and featured long Zach Zenner runs into the end zone.  The Jacks won that game 47-40. Montana State is picked to finish 8th in the Big Sky preseason poll.  The Bobcats return 6 returning offensive starters and 9 defensive starters.  To start the year they played at FBS #24 ranked Washington State and lost 31-0.  This game will be the first for both programs as part of the "Big Sky/MVFC Challenge Series".

Montana State deploys a hybrid option/spread attack which uses a heavy dose of the run to set-up chunk passing plays.  This may sound similar to what Cal Poly showed in 2016, but they are much less physical than the…

Rants & Raves: Duquesne

After every game I will have a "Rants and Raves" that captures the good and bad from the game.

Rants & Raves

Rave: How about that student section?  4,251 showed up to lend their voice to the Jacks.  It was an impressive showing for an unknown opponent.  There were certainly more students in attendance than the typical Labor Day Saturday opener.

Rave: The Jackrabbit run defense for holding AJ Hines to only to 34 yards on 13 carries for a 2.6 ypc average.  The Dukes got down quickly and weren't able to stay as balanced as they wanted, but in Hines' early runs, the Jackrabbit defense was up to the task.  There were a lot of nerves about the front 7 which features so many new players.  They seemed up to the challenge.

Rant: I feel I jinxed the offensive line as I was commenting to a friend that I thought it was weird that Evan Greeneway was the only offensive line sub for that drive.  The next play, Weir goes down with an apparent leg injury.  Hindsight is 20/20, bu…