Showing posts from October, 2017

Game Preview: North Dakota State University

Well here we are, the Dakota Marker Game.  SDSU vs. NDSU.  The clash of two of the marquee teams in the MVFC.  At the start of the season there was a lot of chatter in the media and among fans about both teams coming in potentially undefeated.  The Jacks didn't live up to their end of that bargain but are coming in hot after two big road victories where the offense finally lived up to its potential and the defense played solid.

The Bison are the Jackrabbits biggest rival and have won 11 of 16 matchups, including 3 playoff wins, since the duo made the leap from Division 2 to the FCS together and name the game "The Dakota Marker Game."  However, the Jacks did outplay the Bison in the 2016 regular season match-up but were thrashed in the playoff victory when the Bison held the ball for nearly 41 minutes of the game including a 20 play 12 minute drive in the second quarter where the Jacks could not get a 3rd down stop. This ball control keep away is the same blueprint that…

Rants & Raves: WIU

Wow! What a game for the Jackrabbits coming away with a 52-24 victory.  I certainly had my doubts but the Jacks proved me wrong.  That was the offense we saw in the second half against MSU and that was the defense that we had hoped for heading into the season.

HIGHLIGHTS: @GoJacksFB comes away with a big win at Western. — #GoJacks (@GoJacksSDSU) October 29, 2017
3 Matchups to Watch Review
1. Jackrabbit defensive line vs. WIU running game
The Jackrabbit defense did a good job for the most part taking away the run; only allowing 130 yards on 22 attempts.  Yes, they allowed the 39 yard run to McShane but the defensive line did a good job of stringing him out. The Jacks just needed to tackle better.  Overall, this was a win for the Jacks as they held WIU to 42 less yards than their season average.

2. Jackrabbit passing game vs. WIU cornerbacks
This was a huge victory for the Jackrabbits.  The WIU corners were outmatched in speed and athleticism throughout the day.  Thi…

3 Matchups to Watch: WIU

Tomorrow at 1pm the Jackrabbits take on Western Illinois University.  I'm nervous for this game.  Mathematically this isn't a "must win" but mentally it is.  WIU is a good and balanced offense.  They have an experienced offensive line with two skilled running backs.  Their defense is okay but is susceptible to the big play.

3 Matchups to Watch     
1. Jackrabbit defensive line vs. WIU running game
To be frank, this is the matchup that will decide the game.  In the Jacks two losses, the opponents controlled the time of possession and kept the Jackrabbit offense on the sidelines for long stretches.  The WIU offensive line is big and experienced.  They come in averaging 172.9 rushing yards per game and out perform their opponents in time of possession.  The Jackrabbit defense is yielding 172.3 yards per game but it is not a higher number because of strong efforts in the non-conference season.  In the four MVFC games, the Jacks have allowed 310, 84, 218, and 235 yards on …

Jackrabbit Women's Basketball: 3 Impressions from Moorhead

With snow in the air this morning it is easy to believe that winter sports season is upon us!  The first to tip-off was the women's basketball squad.  Last night they took on Minnesota State University Moorhead in exhibition action.  The Jacks won convincing 93-58 with all healthy players getting game action.

If you haven't watched it yet, here is a video preview that came out last week.

Here are 3 thoughts I have from the game.

1.  Depth
The Jacks will make a return to the deeper line-up that has really been the backbone of their successes since Aaron Johnston (AJ) has been the coach.  The past two seasons have maybe featured a shorter bench then the Jacks are used to.  As fans it is fun to watch as entire new 5 check-in.  It frustrates the opposing coaches and wears down the opposing players.  In the past there hasn't been much, if any, of a drop-off in talent from the first 5 to the second 5.  In preseason interviews,  AJ has repeatedly stressed the position flexibilit…

Game Preview: Western Illinois University

This week the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits (5-2 and 2-2) look to build on an impressive second half against Missouri State and travel to Macomb, Illinois to take on the Western Illinois Leathernecks (5-2 and 2-2).  WIU is a loaded with talented upperclassmen.  All but one of their starters on offense or defense is a junior or senior.  WIU is coming off of a tough loss to NDSU (24-12) and will be looking to stay in playoff contention, just like the Jackrabbits.  In 2016, the Jacks won this matchup 52-14 in Brookings to open MVFC play.

WIU features a balanced offensive attack.  QB Sean McGuire and RB Steve McShane are equally capable of taking a game over and winning it.  The Leathernecks average 37.57 ppg with 172.9 yards per game and 260 passing yards per game.  They are efficient in the redzone, converting on 23 of 25 opportunities and are good for a 41% conversion rate on 3rd down.  So far, McGuire has only been sacked 14 times, 5 of which were from NDSU last we…

Rants & Raves: MSU

This seemed to be a tale of two halves... but I sure I liked what I saw in the second half!

"3 Matchups to Watch" Review
1. Jordan Brown vs. Malik Earl
Jordan faced another one of the Valley's top receivers.  He shadowed him MOST of the game but MSU tried to take advantage when he didn't.  Earl's 44 yard gain came when another CB was on him so Brown held Earl to just 5 receptions for 30 yards and 0 TDS and drew a huge offensive pass interference in the first half.  

2. Tyler Weir/Evan Greeneway vs. Colby Isbell
 Tyler Weir played a really good game.  Isbell only managed two tackles, 1 for a loss, and zero sacks.  Neutralizing him was a big factor in the passing games success.  Greeneway did okay at left tackle after right guard Wes Genant left with a lower leg injury and Charlie Harmon moved to guard.  I felt the offense played a little better with Harmon at left tackle and Eddie Miller at guard.

3. Jackrabbit run defense vs. MSU option
 The Jacks did a good job o…

3 Matchups to Watch: MSU

This week has been pretty quiet. There hasn't been much talk from Missouri State or SDSU, coaches or players. I'm very interested to see how the Jacks start the game. Can the Jacks start fast again like they did against SIU? I'm really curious to see how the team comes out.

3 Matchups to Watch

1. Jordan Brown vs. Malik Earl
The last few weeks, Jordan has played exceptional football.  He has locked up with the opponents top receiver and has almost played perfect football.  Again, he could have made a play on the TD pass to Fountain last week, but otherwise covered him well.  Malik Earl is a beast.  He stands 6'3 and is physical.  Earl has 506 yards on the season with 2 TD's.  He is the primary target in the passing game.  I expect this to be a fun matchup.  With the MSU QB tossing a few picks this year, I would love to see Jordan get one.

2. Tyler Weir/Evan Greeneway vs. Colby Isbell
 Weir and Greeneway struggled last week at the right tackle position.  Whether it …

Game Preview: Missiouri State Univeristy Bears

The Jackrabbits travel to Springfield, Missouri to take on the Missouri State University (MSU) Bears.  MSU is a team that has struggled for a long time.  However, they always compete hard and seem to have a dangerous receiver or returner every year.  The Bears come in to the game with a 1-5 record and are winless in MVFC play.  However, their offense can be explosive and the Jackrabbit defense will need to be on their toes.  MSU is also averaging 10,416 fans per game as well at Plaster Field. 

Dave Steckel Press Conference: via @YouTube— Missouri State Bears (@MissouriStBears) October 16, 2017
The Bears have been inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball so far in 2017.  The are scoring 20.2 points per game, 144 yards per game rushing, and 191 yards per game passing.  Against FBS Missouri in their season opener, they passed for 353 yards but since then have not broken the 200 yards passing mark. Their running has been pretty consistent this season.

Rants & Raves: UNI

Well... that is certainly not what any of us expected.  Rants & Raves will be a bit different this week as we sift through the wreckage.  Hopefully I can offer some hope. 

Rants & Raves
Rants: Offensive line (both run and pass blocking), special teams fumbles, missed FG and XP, the rain that ruined a beautiful day, lack of a consistent pass rush, inability to stop the run, poor throws and poor effort to haul in passes, and poor adjustments to what UNI showed us in their opening possessions; both offense and defense. 

Whew... that is out of the way.  I could write a paragraph on each one of those, but it wouldn't do much good.  I'm sure we have all been sitting around today super frustrated with what transpired on Saturday in the Dana.  This loss stings because the Jacks lost to a team they should have beaten soundly.  However, it is time to move forward.

Game Balls:
Offense: Dallas Goedert
Dallas has been banged up this season.  On Saturday he gutted it out for the tea…

3 Matchups I'm Watching: Univeristy of Northern Iowa

Here we go!  As the week has gone along I have become more and more excited for this match-up.  When I was a student at SDSU, UNI had our number every season.  UNI quarterback, Pat Grace, seemed to have the Jackrabbit's number every game.  However, the tables have turned with SDSU winning 3 of the last 4, with many Jackrabbit fans feeling that this should be 4 for 4.   This season UNI is again coming to Brookings after a tough non-conference schedule and a difficult loss last week against Western Illinois.  This is realistically a "must win" for UNI if they hope to make the playoffs this season.   If the weather isn't terrible, this should be a great day!

Here are the 3 matchups I'm watching this week:

1. Jordan Brown vs. UNI wide receiver #10 Daurice Fountain
 Jordan is coming off maybe his best game as a Jackrabbit.  He had an interception and was a force throughout the game making tackles in the run game and making sure that every pass that SIU completed on hi…

Game Preview: University of Northern Iowa

The Jacks (4-1 and 1-1) enter week 3 of MVFC play coming off a big win over the Salukis of Southern Illinois.  This week is Hobo Week and Saturday is capped by the 105th  Hobo Day with the Jacks taking on the University of Northern Iowa Panthers (2-3 and 1-1).  UNI is always dangerous.  They are a proud program and usually are really physical on both sides of the ball.  UNI is coming off a tough loss to Western Illinois, 38-29, after earning a close win over SIU in week one of MVFC play.  Two years ago UNI spoiled Hobo Day with a 10-7 victory in a very frustrating game for the Jacks.

Last season the Jacks dominated the Panthers 45-24.  The Jacks offense was firing on all cylinders and the game was capped off by a very memorable Kellen Soulek interception and touchdown rumble.

The UNI offense has shifted from a power running game to more of a passing offense.  This season they are only averaging 72.6 rushing and only 2.4 per attempt.  The passing offense has been better and av…

Rants & Raves: SIU

Sorry for the delay in getting these out.  My daughter was baptized yesterday so my Sunday was spent with family.  The Jacks rebounded from a rough MVFC opener to play their best game of the season.

"3 Matchups to Watch" Review  
1.  CB's vs. SIU pass game: SDSU held SIU to just 179 yards passing.  90 in the first half and 89 in the second half.
2. Jackrabbit front seven vs. ground game of SIU: SDSU held SIU to just 84 yards rushing total and only 9 yards in the first half.
3. Jackrabbit #2 receiver vs. the SIU secondary: Oh did they step up. We will write about this below.

Rants & Raves
Rave: The Jackrabbit defense was exceptional.  Coach Stig had really challenged them and seemed to call them out following the YSU game.  They responded.  As I shared above, 179 yards passing and 84 yards rushing are tremendous totals.  Furthermore, SDSU only allowed 3 of 12 3rd down conversions and dominated the time of possession 41:30 to 18:30.  The defense also harassed the SIU QB…

3 Matchups I'm Watching: Southern Illinois University

Last week my matchups mostly focused on the Jacks offense versus the YSU defense.  The YSU defense lived up to their reputation.  However,  I didn't envision that the Jackrabbit defense would get steamrolled by the YSU ground game.  This week we are flipping the script and 2 of the 3 matchups will focus on the SDSU defense as they matchup against the SIU offense.

Here are the matchups I'm watching on Saturday.

1. Jackrabbit CBs vs. the SIU quick hitting pass game.
The Saluki offense is predicated off of a quick hitting passing game.  This is part of the reason they have only allowed 1 sack so far this season.  Brown, Washington, and Mosley are good tacklers and can be physical.  I'm very interested to see how the staff handles this challenge and if they ask the CBs to get up and press.  This is risky because if they get beat off the line, they give up a home run.  However, if the CBs sit-back it appears that SIU is completely happy dinking and dunking down the field.  If …

Game Preview: Southern Illinois Salukis

The Jackrabbits (3-1) are set to face the Southern Illinois Salukis (2-2) in their second game of the MVFC conference season.  Last year the Jacks and Salukis put on an impressive offensive display with over 1,000 yards of total offense in the Jacks 45-39 win.

Both teams are coming off tough opening losses.  SDSU fell to Youngstown 19-7 in a game that saw there offense sputter and their defense unable to get off the field on 3rd down.  SIU lost to University of Northern Iowa 24-17 in a lower scoring game than was expected.

Their Head Coach, Nick Hill, is back for his second season.  SIU was a once proud program that has fallen on tough times in the past five years.  Hill is an offensive mind forsure and was the quarterback for SIU during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.  The defense is led by former Montana defensive coordinator, Kraig Paulson who helped lead Montana to the 1995 National Championship.   

SIU has outscored it's opponents 138 to 88 this season.  There offense h…

Rants & Raves: YSU

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I'm certainly not mad about the result, but I am disapointed.  This game felt and looked like the mirror image of the playoff loss to NDSU last year.  I'm sure the team will move forward and be okay, but there aren't a ton of positives to take out of this game.

Rants & Raves
Rave: Nice work on the fast start by the Jackrabbit offense.  Two possessions and two deep drives into YSU territory.  Goedert's fumble in the red-zone was unfortunate.  We have seen him break those type of tackles for scores so it is hard to fault his effort.

Rant: The Jackrabbits have been incredibly improved on 3rd down defense this season.  That is what makes the performance on Saturday frustrating.  YSU went 10-16 on 3rd down.  YSU converted through the pass and the run.  A 3rd and 13 conversion was especially frustrating.

Rave: The defensive stand at the end of the game to keep YSU from scoring was impressive.  It would have been easy for the d…