Jacks make way to Louisiana
Two teams in search of their first win of the season square off Saturday night, when South Dakota State travels to Southeastern Louisiana in a non-conference football game.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, La.
Both teams are coming off losses to Football Bowl Subdivision teams in their respective season openers. The Jackrabbits dropped a 31-17 decision at Kansas on Sept. 1, while Southeastern Louisiana fell 62-10 at Missouri on the same evening.
THE SERIES: Saturday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between South Dakota State and Southeastern Louisiana in football.
The two programs are slated to complete their home-and-home series with a game Sept. 14, 2013, in Brookings.
VERSUS THE SOUTHLAND: South Dakota State has fared well against Southland Conference opponents since moving to the Football Championship Subdivision in 2004, compiling a 7-2 record. The Jackrabbits lost their first-ever game against a Southland opponent, falling 42-12 at since-departed league member Texas State in 2004, then reeled off seven consecutive victories before dropping a triple-overtime game to McNeese State (La.) in 2008 — SDSU’s last matchup against a Southland foe.
Following are the Jackrabbits’ all-time results against Southland Conference opponents:
• 2004: Texas State 42, SDSU 12
• 2006: SDSU 24, Nicholls State (La.) 17
• 2006: SDSU 20, McNeese State (La.) 17
• 2006: SDSU 20, Central Arkansas 7
• 2007: SDSU 38, Texas State 3
• 2007: SDSU 45, Stephen F. Austin (Texas) 0
• 2007: SDSU 38, Central Arkansas 10
• 2008: SDSU 50, Stephen F. Austin (Texas) 48
• 2008: McNeese State (La.) 46, SDSU 44 [3 OT]
RETURN TO LOUISIANA: The Jackrabbits will attempt to stay undefeated in the state of Louisiana during their Football Championship Subdivision run.
South Dakota State is 3-0 in the Pelican State since joining the Division I Football Championship Subdivision in 2004. The Jackrabbits recorded their first-ever win over an FCS opponent on Sept. 25, 2004, with a come-from-behind victory at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
The Jackrabbits then reeled off wins in consecutive weeks during the 2006 season, posting a 24-17 win at Nicholls State in Thibodaux on Sept. 23 and a 20-17 comeback victory at McNeese State in Lake Charles on Sept. 30.The pair of victories ignited a seven-game winning streak during the 2006 campaign — SDSU’s longest in the Division I era.
ONLINE COVERAGE: 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 are available for $11.95 per month or $99.95 for an entire year of
Local radio coverage Saturday begins at 6 p.m. on the Jackrabbit Sports Network. Tyler Merriam will call the play-by-play, with former Jackrabbit player Mike Struck providing color commentary and Scotty Kwas providing sideline updates. Yankton-based WNAX 570 AM will again serve as the flagship station of the Jackrabbit Sports Network, which includes the following affiliates:
• KJJQ 910 AM-Brookings
• KBFS 1450 AM-Belle Fourche
• KBFS 1450 AM-Belle Fourche
• KMSD 1510 AM-Milbank
• KORN 1490 AM-Mitchell
• KORN 1490 AM-Mitchell
• KOLY 1300 AM-Mobridge
• KGFX 1060 AM-Pierre
• KGFX 1060 AM-Pierre
• KOTA 1380 AM-Rapid City
• KSDR 1480 AM-Watertown
• KSDR 1480 AM-Watertown
Free video streaming is scheduled to be available at the following URL:
CAPTAINS: Leading the Jackrabbit football team on the field and in the locker room are five captains:
• Seth Daughters, Sr., tight end, Winner, S.D.;
• Bo Helm, Sr., defensive back, Childress, Texas;
• Ross Shafrath, Sr., linebacker, Hampton, Iowa;
• Austin Sumner, So., quarterback, Brandon, S.D.;
• Winston Wright, Jr., defensive back, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
The Jackrabbits broke from tradition this season by naming two non-senior players — Sumner and Wright — as captains. Previously, all team captains were selected from the senior class.
VALLEY PREVIEW: South Dakota State has been picked to finish sixth in the 2012 Missouri Valley Football Conference Preseason Poll, which was announced in early August.
Defending national champion North Dakota State gained the top spot, receiving 37 of 38 first-place votes in the poll conducted by league coaches, sports information directors and select media. Northern Iowa, which tied NDSU for the league regular season title a year ago, finished second in the poll, followed by Youngstown State and Illinois State.
Indiana State rounded out the top half of the poll, with SDSU taking sixth. Southern Illinois, South Dakota, Western Illinois and Missouri State completed the poll.
Individually, three Jackrabbit players were recognized on the 2012 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team. Offensively, senior wide receiver Aaron Rollin and tackle Bryan Witzmann were honored along with defensive back Winston Wright.
Rollin, an honorable mention all-league performer last season, tied for the team lead with 61 receptions last season. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native also gained 906 yards through the air and reccorded a team-best seven touchdowns in 2011.
Witzmann, a junior from Houlton, Wis., also earned honorable mention all-MVFC honors in 2011. He has started all 22 games at left tackle over the last two seasons.
Wright, a junior from Lee’s Summit, Mo., was a second-team all-MVFC selection in 2011 after recording a team-best three interceptions from his cornerback position. Wright also notched 57 tackles and a team-best seven pass breakups.
Also recognized on the preseason team was honorable mention selection Andy Mink on the defensive line. A native of Ashland, Neb., Mink racked up 75 tackles, including team-best totals of 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2011.
SCOUTING SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA: Southeastern Louisiana opened the Ron Roberts era with a 62-10 defeat at the hands of Missouri Sept. 1 in Columbia, Mo.
Missouri scored 28 first-quarter points, returning both an interception (20 yards) and fumble (7 yards) for touchdowns. Missouri also scored on a 76-yard run in the opening quarter.
Southeastern put together a sustained drive at the end of the first half, cracking the scoring column on a 31-yard field goal by Seth Sebastian on the final play of the half to cap a nine-play, 69-yard drive.
Missouri again struck with big plays — this time on special teams — to put the game further out of reach as Marcus Murphy tallied punt returns of 70 and 72 yards for touchdowns
Southeastern Louisiana gained only 58 net yards rushing in the contest. Michael Chaney carried 14 times for 35 yards, while Zeke Jones added 35 yards on seven carries.
Nathan Stanley completed 21-of-33 passes for 165 yards with an interception. He also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley late in the fourth quarter. Smiley caught five passes for 44 yards.
Marice Sutton led the Lion deense with 10 tackles.
Roberts took over the Southeastern Louisiana program after winning four Gulf South Conference titles and making four NCAA Division II appearances in five seasons as head coach at Delta State (Miss.). The Statesmen played in the 2010 NCAA Division II national championship game.
SUMNER AT THE HELM: South Dakota State University quarterback Austin Sumner will attempt to build off an impressive freshman season a year ago.
Although not expected to play in the Sept. 1 season opener at Kansas due to an injury suffered in practice the previous week, Sumner entered the game in the third quarter and led the Jackrabbits on two scoring drives, including throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tyrel Kool early in the fourth quarter. Sumner finished the game 14-of-31 passing for 175 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted four times.
A native of Brandon, S.D., Sumner started the final eight games of the 2011 season, leading the Jackrabbits to a 4-4 record and setting the Missouri Valley Football Conference freshman record with 2,382 yards passing. Sumner, who finished third in the voting for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision, also tied a Jackrabbit single-game record with 37 completions versus nationally ranked Northern Iowa on Oct. 15, 2011.
Sumner topped the 300-yard mark five times in 2011, including throwing for a career-best 377 yards in a double-overtime win over Missouri State.
ROLLIN ROLLING ALONG: Senior wide receiver Aaron Rollin is poised to enter the Jackrabbit career top 10 in a pair of receiving categories during the 2012 season.
A native of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Rollin has recorded 96 receptions for 1,311 yards in his first three seasons with the Jackrabbits. He enters Saturday’s game 20 catches away from cracking the SDSU careeer top 10 and 347 receiving yards shy of top-10 status.
Rollin put together a breaktrhough 2011 campaign, leading the team with seven touchdowns while sharing the team lead with 61 receptions. He teamed with Dale Moss to give SDSU one of the top receiving tandems in the nation as both receivers topped the 900-yard mark.
Rollin was held without a catch in the 2012 season opener at Kansas, ending his streak of consecutive games with a reception at 21, dating back to the 2009 season.
DUAL THREAT: South Dakota State’s Tyrel Kool has shifted all around the field during his Jackrabbit career and will see action both in the backfield and at wide receiver in 2012.
A senior from Yankton, Kool began his collegiate career as a running back and kick returner, but switched to wide receiver during the 2010 season, when he led the team with 64 receptions for 808 yards. His receptions total is fifth-most in a season by a Jackrabbit player, while his receiving yards mark stood 10th in a single season as he earned honorable mention all-Missouri Valley Football Conference recognition.
In 2011, Kool moved back to running back and led the team with 534 yards rushing. He 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’ 2011 season opener against Southern Utah.
Kool started at wide receiver in the Sept 1 season opener at Kansas and recorded a team-high eight receptions for 76 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter. He stands at 99 career receptions entering Saturday’s game at Southeastern Louisiana.
Additionally, Kool saw time at defensive back late in the 2009. He recorded 10 total tackles, including three in the Jackrabbits’ playoff game at Montana.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING: Running back Zach Zenner put together a series of impressive all-around performances last season and is off to a record-setting start in 2012.
Zenner set career highs with 23 carries and 183 rushing yards in the Jackrabbits’ season-opening loss at Kansas on Sept. 1. He opened the scoring with a 99-yard touchdown run — the longest offensive play from scrimmage in program history, surpassing Mike Lunde’s 95-yard run against North Dakota in 1976. Zenner also caught four passes for 27 yards, giving him 210 all-purpose yards in the contest.
A sophomore from Eagan, Minn., Zenner compiled 139 all-purpose yards in the 2011 season-opening Jackrabbit victory 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 ranked third in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2011 with an average of 123.1 all-purpose yards per game, earning him a spot on the league’s all-newcomer team. He made his first career start Oct. 29 at Missouri State.
SHAFRATH STICKING OPPONENTS: Senior linebacker Ross Shafrath opened the 2012 season with a career-high 16 tackles Sept. 1 at Kansas. His total was the most by a Jackrabbit player since linebacker Mike Lien notched 18 tackles in a 2010 game at North Dakota State.
A senior from Hampton, Iowa, Shafrath ranked fourth on the team in 2011 with 66 tackles despite being a part-time starter. His previous career high was 13 tackles at Missouri State on Oct. 29, 2011. Shafrath has tallied double digits in tackles in three of the last four games dating back to last season.
THE WRIGHT BROTHERS: The Jackrabbit football team 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 junior, Winston Wright started all 11 games at cornerback last season en route to earning second-team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors. He led the team with three interceptions to go along with 57 tackles. He began his colllegiate career at Missouri, redshirting during the 2009 season.
Dom Wright is a sophomore wide receiver who saw most of his action as a kick returner. In nine games last season, he averaged 15.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns to rank second on the squad.
HELM NOMINATED FOR GOOD WORKS TEAM: South Dakota State University senior Bo Helm is one of 117 college football players to be nominated for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The award, which is presented in conjunction with the American Football Coaches Association, recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation.
A native of Childress, Texas, Helm has been involved in a number of community service activities during his Jackrabbit career. He has served as a tutor, been a mentor for the Flandreau Indian School Success Academy, volunteered for a number of youth camps and clinics and has played an active role in organizing drives for the Brookings Food Pantry and Feed My Starving Children. Helm also has devoted countless hours to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and recently completed a mission trip to Jamaica.
From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team
members and prominent college football media members will select two 11-player Good Works Teams — one comprised of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and another representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA. The 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be announced in late September.
COACH STIG: John Stiegelmeier has built the South Dakota State University football team into a consistent winner in the ranks of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
Overall, Coach Stig has led the Jackrabbits to a 93-73 record (.560 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 years as head coach, and have a 21-11 record in Missouri Valley Football Conference games.
The 2009 season proved to be a memorable one as Stiegelmeier led the Jackrabbits to their first FCS playoff appearance and the program's first postseason appearance in 30 years. The Jackrabbits finished as runner-up in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with a 7-1 record and finished the season 8-4 overall. SDSU led for much of its playoff game at top-seeded Montana, before falling 61-48 to the eventual national runner-up Grizzlies. Nationally ranked for the entire season, including appearing in the top 10 for two weeks, the Jackrabbits finished the 2009 campaign ranked 11th in both the FCS Coaches’ and Sports Network media polls.
In 2008, the Jackrabbits entered another new era in their Division I pursuits as they joined the nine-team Missouri Valley Football Conference. With the transition from Division II completed, SDSU fell just short of a playoff berth in its first season of eligibility, ending the year with a 7-5 overall record and 6-2 mark in the MVFC. Of SDSU’s five losses, four came against ranked FCS opponents, including conference co-champions Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois. The team's other loss was at the hands of Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Iowa State in the season opener. That game marked the first time the Jackrabbits had played an FBS opponent since moving to Division I at the start of the 2004 season.
Under Stiegelmeier’s guidance, SDSU has appeared in the FCS rankings in four of the last five seasons. The Jackrabbits cracked the national poll for the first time in late October 2006, after posting back-to-back come-from-behind victories over Cal Poly and UC Davis. After climbing as high as No. 19 on the final week of the regular season, the Jackrabbits finished the 2006 season ranked 22nd by the Sports Network.
WORKING OVERTIME: SDSU’s 43-36 double-overtime victory at Missouri State last season 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.)
JACKRABBIT INSIDER: Throughout the 2012 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 select times (check listings). Online, the show can be viewed at GoJacks.com.
STIG SHOW: The John Stiegelmeier Radio Show airs each Monday throughout the 2012 football season.
The show is scheduled to air at 5 p.m. on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, originating with flagship station WNAX 570 AM in Yankton. In addition, the weekly show also will be streamed online at GoJacks.com as part of the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service.
Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the John Stiegelmeier Radio Show will also feature interviews with Jackrabbit student-athletes and assistant coaches. Jackrabbit fans are encouraged to attend the show in person at Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill, 307 Main Ave., in downtown Brookings.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits are scheduled to open the home season Sept. 15 by hosting UC Davis in the 17th Annual Cereal Bowl.
Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.