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Showing posts from October, 2018

3 Matchups to Watch: Illinois State

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It has been a quiet week from both SDSU and Illinois State.  Both teams are coming off a loss and both teams realize the importance of this game in terms of holding out hope for a seed in the playoffs.  Whichever team walks away with a loss will then need to win-out to make the playoffs.  This game has plenty of meaning as the second half of MVFC play begins.

Matchups to Watch
Cade Johnson vs. the Redbird secondary
Last week, NDSU's Darrius Shepherd had a big week against this UNI secondary (6 rec. 126 yards).  Shepherd and Johnson play the same role for their offenses and are built similarly.  Johnson also had a big game last week (7 rec. 121 yards).  This could be a chance for Cade to build on his excellent 2018 (29 rec. 555 yards, 8 TD) against a young cornerback group. 

#605Hogs vs. ISU 3 man front
A week after struggling against a similar alignment, the #605Hogs will look to regain their dominance of the line of scrimmage.  Illinois State's three down linemen are young and…

Game Preview: Illinois State

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The Jackrabbits (4-2, 2-2) travel to Normal, Illinois to take on the Illinois State Redbirds (5-2, 2-2).  This is a pivotal match-up for both teams.  It is not a "must-win to reach the playoffs" type of game but it will certainly go a long way if either team has hopes of still receiving a seed and first round bye.  Both teams are coming off tough losses ISU to NDSU (28-14) and SDSU to UNI (9-24).  Both teams had success moving the ball but failed to finish drives.  The only common opponent they have so far this season is NDSU, who they both lost to in the Fargo dome.  It was expected by many that the Redbirds would be down this year after graduating a very good senior class (especially on defense) but that has not been the case.  There are just four games left in the regular season and its time to see how this messy and competitive MVFC shakes out.  
Offense 
The Redbird offense has hummed along to the tune of 39 ppg this season.  The offensive line is big and experienced an…

Rants & Raves UNI

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Photo by Abby Fullenkamp
Well most clear-headed Jackrabbit fans knew that this was going to be a tough game.  UNI is a good team, playing at home, and playing in front of a rabid home coming crowd.  The Jacks had plenty of injuries and were starting a number of redshirt freshmen and sophomores.  The game didn't necessarily go how the Jacks had hoped but there is plenty to be excited about.

Rave: The Jackrabbit defense has played some inspired defense for all but one game this season.  On Saturday they held UNI to just 17 points and UNI to just over 326 yards of total offense and forced 9 punts!  The only problem is that they didn't force any turnovers or record any sacks.  There were a number of times the ball was bouncing around on the turf but it magically seemed to bounce back into the lap of a UNI player. 

Rave: Individual standout performances for the defense include Christian Rozeboom, Dalton Cox and Seven Wilson.  They were all over the field making tackles. I thought i…

3 Matchups to Watch: UNI

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The Jacks travel to Cedar Falls to take on UNI tomorrow.  Again this week, Matt Zimmer has done a great job of breaking down the history between UNI and SDSU.  I hinted at it in my preview blog for UNI but I really think there is a dislike between these programs.  In my opinion, there is still a level of respect between SDSU and NDSU but I don't think the same feeling is present between UNI and SDSU.  I think this game is going to be incredibly physical which I don't think favors either team when they both seem to be banged up.

3 Matchups to Watch
1. Evan Greeneway and Aron Johnson/Jon Gruetzmacher vs. Ricky Neal
Greeneway played an outstanding game last week against YSU and completly erased whoever lined about across from him.  Evan has had a very good start to his 2018.  Johnson and Gruetz played well enough last Saturday but will have to play even better tomorrow.  Ricky Neal is a different beast.  Listed as an outside linebacker but playing primarily with his hand in the gr…

4th & Goal: UNI Week

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1. Taryn in the record books
There has been some debate among the Jackrabbit faithful about where Taryn Christion ranks on the list of all-time great quarterbacks of Jackrabbit football.  Here are the top 3 in my opinion.

Taryn Christion (2015-2018)40 games played (team has a record of 32-12 while he has been on the roster) 61% completion rate, 9,675 passing yards, 88 TD1,311 yards, 23 TDAustin Sumner (2011-2014)44 games played (team had a record of 32-20 while he was on the roster)58% completion rate, 9,458 passing yards, 65 TD-174 career rushing yards, 5 TDRyan Berry (2005-2008)34 games played (team had a record of 27-18 while he was on the roster)61% completion rate, 6,023 passing yards, 56 TD-52 career rushing yards, 4 TD
I think if you look at these three from a statistical standpoint, Taryn rises to the top fairly easily.  He is one of the most dominant players in SDSU history and will leave the school as the leader in every major passing category as well as leading the MVFC in n…

Game Preview: University of Northern Iowa

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The Jackrabbits (4-1, 2-1) hit the road to take on the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Panthers (3-3, 2-1) in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Saturday.  This blogger has a strong dislike for UNI.  It all stems from my student days and Paul Grace taunting our student section after a touchdown run.  They were a cocky team then and I think they are still.  Before the playoff game last year I have heard that the UNI players were talking plenty of trash as the teams warmed up on the field.  It had to be extra satisfying for the Jackrabbit players to redeem their Hobo Day loss with a 37-22 victory that wasn't as close as the 15 points indicate.

The 2018 UNI team comes in very balanced on both sides of the ball.  The Panthers play solid defense and have a balanced approach on offense.  The UNI Dome is also a challenging place to play and the crowd may be extra amped up because of homecoming.

Offense
The UNI offense comes in averaging 31 points per game in 2018.  Their running game (129 ypg) hasn&…

Rants and Raves: YSU

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Another Hobo Day is in the books and SDSU earned it's fourth victory of the season.  To be 100% truthful, I didn't get to watch much of the game live.  I was there for the entire first half and long enough in the 3rd quarter to see CJ Wilson's big touchdown run.  My kids had a blast at tailgating and at the game but they definitely consumed plenty of my attention.  Luckily, I was able to rewatch the game on ESPN+.  So here are my rants and raves from Saturday.

Rants & Raves
Rave: Ryan Earith and Logan Backhuas had phenomenal first halves.  They both were flying around and shutting down the outside runs of YSU. Eartith finished with a sack and 2 tackles for loss and Backhaus finished with a tackle for loss and a huge field goal block.  Backhaus had to drop out right before halftime so lets hope that he is okay and can hopefully make it back this season.

Rave: Last week Evan Greeneway was featured in a Matt Zimmer article  and he followed it up with maybe his best perfor…

3 Matchups to Watch: YSU

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Hobo Day is almost here!  Happy happy Hobo Week.  As an undergrad and as a staff member, this was my favorite week of the year and leaves Little I week as a distant second.  YSU enters the game needing a win to keep its name in the playoff discussion.  SDSU needs a win to get the bad taste out of it's mouth after losing the Dakota Marker tilt and struggling on defense against Indiana State.  The weather keeps looking better for tomorrow and I'm personally excited to bring my daughter to her first ever Hobo Day and my son will be making his second appearance.  
Matchups to Watch 1. Christian Rozeboom vs. Tevin McCaster Rozeboom is the best middle linebacker in the MVFC and McCaster is one of the top running backs.  On the season he has broke free for 535 yards behind a big and physical offensive line.  If the defensive line can do their job and eat up blockers then Rozeboom will be free to roam and make plays.  The Jacks need him to play fast and physical like he did against NDS…

4th and Goal: Hobo Week

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(Photo by Larry Sellers)
I've decided to add a new weekly blog called "4th and Goal" where I look at 4 things related to SDSU football or athletics in general.  These could be looking at historic trends, current happenings, or recruiting tidbits.  We'll see where this goes.

1. Hobo Day
With this weeks festivities culminating in Hobo Day, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at SDSU's division one record on Hobo Day.  A common belief among the Jackrabbit faithful is that the team struggles on Hobo Day for a variety of reasons.  In the last five years, the Jacks are just 1-4 BUT in the D1 era they are 9-5 with an average score of 32.35 to 22.5 points per game.  The Jacks have played Youngstown in four of these Hobo Day games and are 3-1 and have outscored YSU 30.5 to 22 ppg.

I expect the Jacks to come out playing with their best effort.  Last week's scare against Indiana State should be a wake-up call and the hangover from the Dakota Marker loss should be lo…

Game Preview: Youngstown State University Penguins

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Youngstown State (2-3, 1-1) comes to Brookings for the 2018 Hobo Day game to take on the Jackrabbits (4-1, 1-1).  Youngstown is having an up and down 2018 season but is dangerous as always.  YSU can be counted on to play tough, physical football.  This will be the third game in a row for the Jackrabbits that fits this mold.   

Offense
The Youngstown State offense has been plagued by inconsistency in 2018.  They are up and down but like any Penguin offense, they like to run the ball.  In 2018, they are running the ball for 169 yards per game (YPG) and are passing for 229.6 ypg.  They have turned the ball over 7 times, 5 INT's and 2 fumbles.  They convert 39% of their 3rd down opportunities and only score a touchdown on 54% of their redzone visits. 

The Youngstown offense is lead by the dynamic #37 Tevin McCaster. The 5'10, 195 senior has 578 rushing yards on the season and is averaging 107 ypg to go along with 6 touchdowns.  On his career McCaster has raced for 2,257 yards an…

Rants and Raves: ISU

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If you like offense, Saturday night at The Dana was the place for you.  With the teams totally 105 points collectively, defense was hard to find.  It was a chilly day of tailgating followed by a cold night in the stadium but the Jackrabbit offense did not disappoint. Lets take a look at this weeks Rants and Raves.

Rave: The Jackrabbit offense is so multidimensional.  They can run or pass with equal efficiency.  They finished with 293 yards rushing and 229 yards passing. Three players had at least 75 yards rushing and the team finished with a whopping 6 ypc average.  To start the game, the Jacks were passing it all over the field.  At the start of the second half, they were pounding the ball with physical runs from Mikey Daniel and Isaac Wallace.

Rant: As good as the offense was they can still "clean it up."  The quarterback read exchanges between Taryn and his running backs wasn't clean enough which resulted in 2 fumbles.  The Jacks were fortunate to only lose 1 of thes…

3 Matchups to Watch: Indiana State

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As one Twitter follower noted on my opponent preview, there are indeed no easy weeks in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.  Indiana State may not be at the top of the conference but that doesn't mean they don't have talent or the will to compete.  I'm sure they would love nothing more than knocking off the Jackrabbits at home and jump starting their rebuild.  Indiana State does have some pieces in place to be competitive and will likely score an upset or two in MVFC play this fall.

Matchups to Watch
1. Ryan Earith vs. Tate Leavitt
This is a fun match-up to watch as Earith is one of the best defensive ends in the MVFC.  Earith has just 9 tackles on the season but 2 have been tackles for loss and 1.5 have been sacks.  Earith is a very good pass rusher and is equally as skilled holding the edge on the run.  Leavitt was selected as a 2nd Team All-SEC selection in 2017 when he played at Kentucky.  Leavitt is a mauler and part of the reason ISU has had such luck running the…

Jackrabbit Basketball Recruiting Update

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I know that I am very football centric, especially on recruiting.  I thought it might be helpful to take a step back and see where the Jackrabbit basketball teams are at in their recruiting efforts for the next few classes.  We'll take a look at who has verbally committed to SDSU and provide a link to their highlights page so you can watch what they bring to the Jackrabbits.

Women's Basketball
Class of 2019
Tori Nelson- 6'0 wing from Henry Sibley High School in St. Paul, Minnesota
I'm very excited to announce my commitment to further my education and play D1 basketball at South Dakota State University! #GoJacks 🐰🏀 pic.twitter.com/LMdbjHEjtV — Tori Nelson (@nelsontori9) February 12, 2017

Regan Nesheim- 6'0 Forward from Johnston High School in Iowa
So excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic & athletic career at SDSU! Thanks to everyone that's supported me 💙💛 #gojackspic.twitter.com/46307auer1 — Regan Nesheim (@ReganNesheim) June 22, 2017
Kal…

Game Preview: Indiana State University Sycamores

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In the home opener of MVFC play, the Jackrabbits (2-1 and 0-1) take on the Indiana State University Sycamores (2-2 and 0-1).  Indiana State has put 49 and 55 points on the scoreboard so they can score.  However, they have also scored just 7 and 0 points in their other two contests.  Last week, they were shut out 0-33 by UNI in a rare Thursday night showdown.

Curt Mallory is in his second year running the Sycamore program.  He has seemed to change the culture around Indiana State.  They have been at the bottom of the MVFC for a long time but have begun to make some headlines with recent recruiting "wins" and there just seems to be a better feeling around the program, even if it hasn't translated to the field yet.  It may take some time but I expect Indiana State to be more competitive soon. 

Offense: 
The Sycamores are young offensively with just three seniors on the two-deep.  They have scored nearly 28 points per game and have rushed for 250 yards per game while passin…

Rants & Raves: NDSU

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NDSU and SDSU proved on Saturday that they are two of the best teams in the FCS.  Saturday was fun but it could have been even better with just a few adjustments.  I predicted a 27-23 Jackrabbit victory and feel that this easily could have happened with just a couple plays.  As I said on Twitter immediately after the game, I still feel optimistic about the Jacks beating the Bison if they meet again this season.  Both teams have so much talent and know each other so well.  The Jacks are one of the few teams in the FCS who can stand toe-to-toe for four quarters with the Bison and who have legitimate shots to win every time they play. 

Rants & Raves
Rave: The #605Hogs impressed the heck out of me.  As I said in my "3 matchups to watch", I felt they had played a bit uneven so far in 2018.  However, Saturday they played really well against a very good, if not great, Bison defensive line.  Yes, Taryn was sacked three times but frequently had plenty of time to deliver throws d…