SDSU prepares for season finale
Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. at Hanson Field on the Western Illinois University campus in Macomb, Ill.
SDSU enters its season finale riding a season-best two-game winning streak following a 43-34 Hobo Day victory over Southern Illinois last week. The Jackrabbits, 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the MVFC, have also won two consecutive road games: 35-28 at Youngstown State on Oct. 8 and a 43-36, double-overtime win at Missouri State on Oct. 29.
A playoff qualifier in 2010, Western Illinois is in the midst of a rebuilding season, posting a 2-7 overall record and 1-5 mark in league play so far this season. The Fighting Leathernecks are slated to wrap up their season Nov. 19 by hosting league-leading North Dakota State.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Saturday's game will be available for viewing and listening on a variety of platforms.
Audio coverage of Saturday's game is scheduled to be available via the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com, the official website of SDSU athletics. Monthly subscriptions for the Jackrabbit Extra, which includes live audio and video streaming of select contests are available for $11.95 per month or $99.95 for an entire year of coverage.
Local radio coverage Saturday begins on Jackrabbit Sports Network flagship station WNAX 570 AM at 12:30 p.m. Central Time, with an expanded pre-game show. Tyler Merriam will call the play-by-play, with former Jackrabbit player Mike Struck providing color commentary.
Coverage across the Jackrabbit Sports Network begins at 1:30 p.m. Central Time Network affiliates include:
* KJJQ 910 AM-Brookings
* KRKI 99.1 FM-Rapid City
* KGFX 1060 AM-Pierre
* KOLY 1300 AM-Mobridge
* KBFS 1450 AM-Belle Fourche
* KSDR 1480 AM-Watertown
Video coverage of Saturday's game is part of the Valley Live streaming package through www.valley-football.org.
THE SERIES: Saturday's matchup marks the ninth meeting between Western Illinois and South Dakota State on the gridiron. SDSU has tied the series at 4-all on the strength of winning each of the three meetings between the two squads as members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The Jackrabbits' 27-7 victory in the 2009 regular season finale at Macomb marked the largest margin of victory in the series.
Following are the final scores from each of the previous seven meetings:
* Sept. 11, 1976: Western Illinois 28, SDSU 21 (at Brookings)
* Sept 3, 1977: SDSU 23, Western Illinois 6 (at Macomb, Ill.)
* Sept. 13, 1980: Western Illinois 33, SDSU 27 (at Brookings)
* Sept. 12, 1981: Western Illinois 17, SDSU 13 (at Macomb, Ill.)
* Aug. 30, 2007: Western Illinois 29, SDSU 26 [4 OT] (at Macomb, Ill.)
* Sept. 13, 2008: SDSU 24, Western Illinois 22 (at Brookings)
* Nov. 21, 2009: SDSU 27, Western Illinois 7 (at Macomb, Ill.)
* Oct. 9, 2010: SDSU 33, Western Illinois 29 (at Brookings)
FINISHING STRONG: The Jackrabbit football team has made a habit out of ending the season on a high note during John Stiegelmeier's tenure as head coach. SDSU is
13-1 in regular season finales under Coach Stig and has won four in a row. The only time the Jackrabbits have lost their final regular season game of the season was a 41-28 setback at North Dakota State in 2006, in a game that decided the Great West Football Conference title. SDSU returned the favor the next season by handing the undefeated Bison a 29-24 defeat to win the GWFC title and start the current streak.
CAPTAINS: Leading the Jackrabbit football team on the field and in the locker room are four senior captains:
• Kyle Harris, kicker, Florissant, Mo.;
• Dirk Kool, linebacker, Fairfield, Iowa;
• Mike Lien, linebacker, Castaic, Calif.;
• Jake Steffen, defensive end, Mount Vernon, S.D.
Kool holds the distinction of being the third generation of his family to serve as a captain for the Jackrabbit football team. His late grandfather, Marv, was a team captain in 1951, while his father, Mark, served as a captain on the Jackrabbits' NCAA Division II playoff squad in 1979. Mark Kool later served as an assistant coach at SDSU from 1987-90.
Harris, meanwhile, suffered a season-ending injury in the Oct. 1 game versus Indiana State. He made 3-of-4 field goal attempts - with a long of 33 yards - and connected on 5-of-7 extra-point tries for a team-best 14 points prior to his injury.
LAST MEETING: South Dakota State scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the game-winner on a 13-yard pass from Thomas O'Brien to Colin Cochart with 1 minute, 36 seconds remaining, to lift the Jackrabbits to a 33-29 victory over 20th-ranked Western Illinois on Oct. 9 at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
Playing before a Beef Bowl crowd of 11,353, SDSU picked up its first win of the season, improving to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Leathernecks dropped to 4-2 overall, 2-1 in league play.
Western Illinois missed out on a pair of potential scoring opportunities in the first quarter, missing a 27-yard field goal on its opening drive and being stopped on a fourth-down play from the SDSU 24 on its next possession.
The Jackrabbits capitalized after taking over on downs, marching 75 yards on 12 plays before Kyle Minett crossed the goal line from 2 yards outs. For Minett, it was his first touchdown of the season and the first first-half score by SDSU this season.
WIU knotted the game at 7-all in the final minute of the first half as Lito Senatus caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barr to cap an eight-play, 93-yard drive that took only 1:28 off the clock. A screen pass from Barr to Bryce Flowers on third-and-15 covered 35 yards and kept the drive alive as the Leathernecks moved into SDSU territory.
Minett, who topped the 100-yard mark for the fourth consecutive game and 18th time in his career, gave the Jackrabbits the lead midway through the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run.
The Fighting Leathernecks came right back to tie the game on a 9-yard pass from Barr to Senatus with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter, then took the lead on the second play of the fourth quarter as Terriun Crump broke through the Jackrabbit defense on a 46-yard pass play from Barr.
Crump ended the night with 10 catches for 183 yards, with Senatus adding 10 receptions for 125 yards.
SDSU answered behind the passing of O'Brien and running of backup running back Tyler Duffy. O'Brien completed all three pass attempts for 51 yards and Duffy gained the other 31 yards on the 10-play drive, including a 1-yard leap into the end zone. However, a low snap on the point-after try prevented the Jackrabbits from tying the game.
The Jackrabbit defense held on the next WIU possession and the special teams unit came up big as Cole Brodie put SDSU at the Leatherneck 22 with a 35-yard punt return. Five plays later, Minett scored his third touchdown of the night, from 2 yards out, with 6:54 to play. SDSU missed the two-point conversion to keep the score at 26-21.
Once again, WIU answered to take the lead. Bryce Flowers recorded gains of 14 and 16 yards to move the ball deep into Jackrabbit territory before Barr connected with Josh Gableman on a 4-yard scoring strike. The Leathernecks converted the two-point conversion to go up 29-26.
Brodie again came through on special teams, returning the ensuing kickoff 32 yards and had another 15 yards tacked on by a personal foul penalty to give the Jackrabbits the ball at their own 47 with 4:23 to play. Minett ground out 18 yards before O'Brien connected with Tyrel Kool for another 18 yards to put the ball at the WIU 17. On second down, O'Brien found Cochart across the middle for the decisive score.
Western Illinois wasn't done, however. Barr converted a fourth-and-10 with a 20-yard scramble to the Leatherneck 34 and moved into SDSU territory on an 18-yard pass to Senatus. On first-and-10 from the Jackrabbit 36, Corey Jeske sacked Barr for a loss of 19 yards. WIU got the ball back to the SDSU 32, but Barr's last-second pass to the end zone was knocked down by Chris Tracy to seal the victory for the Jackrabbits.
Barr accounted for 382 of Western Illinois' 542 yards of total offense, completing 26-of-44 passes for 351 yards and four touchdowns, and adding 31 yards on 12 carries. Flowers led the Leathernecks with 91 yards on 13 carries.
For SDSU, Minett finished the game with a season-high 143 yards on 26 carries. Duffy added career highs of 15 carries and 76 yards.
Kool led the Jackrabbit receivers with seven catches for 85 yards. O'Brien ended the night 18-of-28 passing for 206 yards.
Defensively, Jeske led the Jackrabbits with a career-high 17 tackles. Darryl Jackson added nine stops.
Kyle Glazier led all players with 21 tackles for Western Illinois.
SCOUTING WESTERN ILLINOIS: Western Illinois will attempt to play the role of spoiler as it hosts South Dakota State and North Dakota State to close out a rebuilding season in 2011.
The Fighting Leathernecks have played from behind most of the season as they have been outscored 189-62 in the first half and are averaging a league-worst 15.6 points per game.
Wide receiver Terriun Crump has been the top performer on the offensive side of the ball for Western Illinois, ranking among the Missouri Valley Football Conference leaders with 52 catches for 854 yards - 16.4 yards per reception - with five touchdowns. One of Crump's touchdowns covered 92 yards in the season opener at Sam Houston State (Texas).
Junior Josh Hudson has taken most of the snaps at quarterback for WIU, completing 58.2 percent (110-of-189) of his passes for 1,471 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
The Fighting Leatherneck ground game has been paced by Caulton Ray, who has gained 516 yards and scored three touchdowns in seven games.
Defensively, linebacker Kevin Palermo leads the way with 80 tackles, including four for loss. Theon Dixon has added 61 tackles and a team-high seven tackles for loss. Dwight Harris has recorded a team-high three sacks, with Kieron James notching two of the team's six interceptions.
CAS TURNS 50: The 2011 campaign marks the 50th season of football at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Overall, SDSU has compiled a 164-102 record (.617 winning percentage) on its home field.
The Jackrabbits have enjoyed even more of a home-field advantage at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium since making the move to the Football Championship Subdivision level.
Since joining the FCS ranks at the start of the 2004 season, the Jackrabbits have posted a 30-11 mark at CAS, including an 11-5 record in Missouri Valley Football Conference games.
Lights were installed at CAS prior to the 2001 season and SDSU has turned in a 22-8 record in home night games.
A celebration of the history of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium was observed Oct. 22, when SDSU hosted North Dakota State in the annual Dakota Marker game. Festivities that day included halftime recognition of the 50-player Coughlin-Alumni Stadium All-Time Team.
WORKING OVERTIME: SDSU's 43-36 double-overtime victory at Missouri State last week ended a four-game losing streak in overtime games for the Jackrabbits.
Overall, SDSU is 2-4 in overtime games, with both home contests played on Hobo Day. The Jackrabbits won their inaugural overtime game, 30-27 in two overtimes against Nebraska-Omaha in the 1998 Hobo Day game, then dropped a 46-44, triple-overtime decision to McNeese State (La.) in the 2008 Hobo Day game.
Following is a complete list of SDSU's overtime games:
1998: SDSU 30, Nebraska-Omaha 27 (2 OT - at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium)
2002: Augustana 39, SDSU 33 (3 OT - at Sioux Falls)
2004: Southern Utah 23, SDSU 17 (2 OT - at Cedar City, Utah)
2007: Western Illinois 29, SDSU 26 (4 OT - at Macomb, Ill.)
2008: McNeese State 46, SDSU 44 (3 OT - at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium)
2011: SDSU 43, Missouri State 36 (2 OT - at Springfield, Mo.)
SUMNER NAMED TO RICE LIST: South Dakota State University quarterback Austin Sumner has been added to the official watch list for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision.
A redshirt freshman from Brandon, Sumner moved into the starting lineup at the beginning of Missouri Valley Football Conference action in late September after incumbent signal-caller Thomas O'Brien left the team. In nine games, including seven starts, he has completed 163-of-266 passes - 61.3 percent - for 2,174 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Sumner has topped the 300-yard mark in five of the last six games, and has posted two of the top 10 single-game passing yardage totals in school history: 354 yards against second-ranked Northern Iowa on Oct. 15 and 377 yards at Missouri State on Oct. 29. He also tied an SDSU single-game record with 37 completions versus UNI.
Conference awards have been rolling in for Sumner in recent weeks. He was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week after Jackrabbit road victories Oct. 8 at Youngstown State and Oct. 29, and added MVFC Offensive Player of the Week accolades following SDSU's Hobo Day victory over Southern Illinois on Nov. 5.
The Jerry Rice Award will be presented by The Sports Network on the eve of the FCS National Championship, Jan. 6, 2012, in Frisco, Texas. Sumner is one of 18 players currently being considered for the award.
DUAL THREAT: South Dakota State's Tyrel Kool made the most of his first career start at running back, racking up 107 yards on the ground and another 79 through the air in the Jackrabbits' season opener against Southern Utah on Sept. 3.
A junior from Yankton, Kool began his collegiate career as a running back, but switched to wide receiver during the 2010 season, when he led the team with 64 receptions for 808 yards. His receptions total was fifth-most in a season by a Jackrabbit player, while his receiving yards mark stands 10th in a single season.
Kool's rushing total against Southern Utah marked the 10th time in 11 games a Jackrabbit running back eclipsed the century mark. Kyle Minett ran for 100 yards in eight straight games and Tyler Duffy added a 100-yard outing to close out the 2010 season.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING: Redshirt freshman running back Zach Zenner has put together a series of impressive all-around performances during the 2011 season.
A redshirt freshman from Eagan, Minn., Zenner compiled 139 all-purpose yards in the Jackrabbit victory Sept. 3 against Southern Utah. He returned four kickoffs for 74 yards, caught three passes for 24 yards and carried the ball five times for 41 yards. He scored the first touchdown of his career, scampering 27 yards around left end on the final play of the third quarter.
Zenner currently ranks third in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with an average of 123.1 all-purpose yards per game. He made his first career start Oct. 29 at Missouri State.
DYNAMIC DUO: South Dakota State's tandem of Dale Moss and Aaron Rollin have established itself as the top receiving duo in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season.
The pair have nearly identical receiving numbers entering Saturday's game: Rollin has caught 56 passes for 837 yards and seven touchdowns, while Moss has tallied 54 receptions for 861 yards and six touchdowns. Both receivers tallied 100 receiving yards in the same game for the second consecutive contest and third time this season last week versus Southern Illinois. Each player has four 100-yard games in 2011, with Moss ranking ninth in the Football Championship Subdivision for total receiving yards and Rollin ranking 12th.
Moss, who previously played basketball for the Jackrabbits, was named MVFC Offensive Player of the Week after catching seven passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the Jackrabbits' 43-36 double-overtime victory at Missouri State on Oct. 29. His game-tying 80-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter marked SDSU's longest play from scrimmage in the Division I era.
THE WRIGHT BROTHERS: The Jackrabbit football team has received valuable contributions from brothers Winston and Dom Wright during the 2011 season.
Natives of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Blue Springs South High School, both joined the SDSU football program in the fall of 2010. A sophomore, Winston Wright has started all 10 games this season at cornerback and shares the team lead with two interceptions to go along with 52 tackles. He began his colllegiate career at Missouri, redshirting during the 2009 season.
Dom Wright is a redshirt freshman wide receiver who has seen most of his action as a kick returner. In eight games, he has averaged 15.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns to rank second on the squad.
COACH STIG: John Stiegelmeier has built the South Dakota State University football team into a consistent winner and a program on the rise in the ranks of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
Overall, Coach Stig has led the Jackrabbits to a 92-72 record (.561 winning percentage). SDSU has posted eight winning seasons in the last 10 years, including six of the school's first eight campaigns at the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) level. The Jackrabbits have had a winning record in 11 of Stiegelmeier's 15 full years as head coach, including six with seven or more victories.
HOME-GROWN TALENT: SDSU has effectively used the services of home-grown talent the past few seasons.
In 2011, three Jackrabbit players hail from Brookings: junior wide receiver Dan Schmidt, sophomore offensive lineman Alex Parker and sophomore running back Mason Winterboer. In all, 28 players on the roster hail from the state of South Dakota.
JACKRABBIT INSIDER: Throughout the 2011 football season, head coach John Stiegelmeier will be a guest on the "Jackrabbit Insider," a weekly behind-the-scenes look at South Dakota State University athletics.
The half-hour television show which features interviews with Jackrabbit coaches and student-athletes, airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on Sioux Falls-based KTTW FOX 7. The show is also broadcast on FOX Sports North at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and on FOX College Sports Central at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Online, the show can be viewed at GoJacks.com.
A LOOK AHEAD: Saturday's game closes out the 2011 season.
SDSU is scheduled to open the 2012 campaign at Kansas on Sept. 1