The South Dakota State University football team opens the home portion of its schedule Saturday afternoon, hosting UC Davis in the 17th Annual Cereal Bowl.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The game is scheduled to be televised on regional cable systems by Midco Sports Network.
Both teams enter Saturday’s matchup with 1-1 overall records, with each squad dropping a contest against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. South Dakota State opened the year with a 31-17 loss at Kansas on Sept. 1, while UC Davis fell 45-13 at San Jose State (Calif.) on Sept. 8.
UC Davis, which is in its first season as a football-only member of the Big Sky Conference, has yet to face a Football Championship Subdivision opponent this season. The Aggies kicked off their 2012 campaign with a 41-3 victory over NCAA Division II opponent Azusa Pacific (Calif.) on Aug. 30.
THE SERIES: Saturday’s game marks the seventh meeting between SDSU and UC Davis on the gridiron, dating back to the 1997 season. The Jackrabbits hold a 4-2 series advantage on the strength of winning each of the last three contests when the two programs both competed in the Great West Football Conference.
Previous results include:
• Sept. 13, 1997: SDSU 17, UC Davis 7 (at Davis, Calif.)
• Sept. 12, 1998: UC Davis 30, SDSU 13 (at Brookings)
• Sept. 9, 2004: UC Davis 52, SDSU 0 (at Davis, Calif.)
• Oct. 8, 2005: SDSU 16, UC Davis 14 (at Sioux Falls)
• Oct. 28, 2006: SDSU 22, UC Davis 21 (at Brookings)
• Oct. 27, 2007: SDSU 28, UC Davis 21 (at Davis, Calif.)
CEREAL BOWL HISTORY: The Cereal Bowl is South Dakota State University’s recognition of the state’s commodity groups which contribute more than $3 million annually in research grants, scholarships and donations to SDSU, which is the state’s Land-Grant institution.
South Dakota State enters Saturday’s game with a 12-4 record in previous Cereal Bowl games.
The first Cereal Bowl game was played on Oct. 12, 1996, when the Jackrabbits defeated in-state rival South Dakota, 28-17. SDSU reeled off six consecutive Cereal Bowl victories between 2000 and 2005.
ONLINE COVERAGE: Audio and video 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 1 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
• KMSD 1510 AM-Milbank • KORN 1490 AM-Mitchell
• KOLY 1300 AM-Mobridge • KGFX 1060 AM-Pierre
• KOTA 1380 AM-Rapid City • KSDR 1480 AM-Watertown
A pay-per-view option for Saturday’s game also will be available through the Jackrabbit Extra. Cost is $6.95.
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.
SAMARITAN’S FEET: Head coach John Stiegelmeier and the South Dakota State University football team will help raise awareness for Samaritan’s Feet during Saturday’s game.
Stiegelmeier, along with UC Davis coach Bob Biggs, plans to go barefoot during pre-game warmups, and the entire Jackrabbit football team plans to wear orange sweatbands with the Samaritan’s Feet logo. Following the game, SDSU players will remove their shoes on the field and walk back to the locker room in bare feet.
In addition, the drum majors from the Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band plan to conduct their halftime show in bare feet.
Samaritan’s Feet is a humanitarian relief organization that puts shoes on the feet of children all around the world. The goal is to provide 10 million pairs of shoes for 10
million impoverished people in 10 years. To date, more than 4 million pairs of shoes for children around the world have been distributed. A monetary donation of $1,000 helps buy 100 pairs of shoes.
It was started in 2003 by President and Founder, Manny Ohonme. Ohonme received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from a missionary. He started playing basketball and other sports with these new pair of shoes. He earned a spot on a traveling basketball team and eventually his high school team. Upon graduating high school, he was offered a scholarship to play basketball at University of North Dakota (Lake Region).
Ohonme spent 10 years in the marketing and logistics business before he started Samaritan’s Feet to help children and pay it forward to what he was given-a pair of shoes that gave him hope. Samaritan’s Feet, based in Charlotte, N.C., is dedicated to taking a life-changing message of hope and equipping the feet of impoverished children in the United States and around the world with shoes. The focus is on children from Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the U.S.
Jackrabbit men’s basketball coach Scott Nagy has coached a game barefoot the last four years and plans to do so again this season. Wrestling coach Chris Bono and baseball coach Dave Schrage also have committed to raising awareness for Samaritan’s Feet during their upcoming seasons.
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.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Jackrabbit players Zach Zenner and Will Castle were honored as players of the week by the Missouri Valley Football Conference for their efforts in the Sept. 8 win at Southeastern Louisiana.
A sophomore from Eagan, Minn., Zenner also was honored as the National Running Back of the Week by College Football Performance Awards and was named Co-National Offensive Player of the Week by the Sports Network.
Zenner’s yardage total of 278 on 34 carries was the most by an SDSU player in the Division I era (previous record 259 by Cory Koenig against Cal Poly in 2007) and was the third-most in school history – 13 yards shy of tying the school record.
In two games this season, Zenner has gained a Division I-best 461 yards and is averaging 8.1 yards per carry. His 278 yards are the most in a game by a Division I back this season and the second-highest single-game total in all divisions of NCAA football so far in 2012.
Castle, meanwhile, earned MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors after helping clear the way for a 305-yard team rushing performance — the highest in a game by the Jackrabbits since 2007. He played in 68 of the team's 74 offensive plays, earning a team championship grade of 1.84.
SCOUTING UC DAVIS: UC Davis is closing one era and opening another during the 2012 football season.
The 2012 campaign will be the last for longtime head coach Bob Biggs, but the first for the Aggies in the Big Sky Conference. UC Davis, like South Dakota State, was a charter member of the now-defunct Great West Football Conference, which began operations in 2004.
The 2012 Aggies have yet to face a Football Championship Subdivision opponent, defeating NCAA Division II newcomer Azusa Pacific (Calif.) in the season opener on Aug. 30, before falling at Football Bowl Subdivision opponent San Jose State (Calif.) on Sept. 8.
Through two games, the Aggies are averaging 27 points and 318 yards of total offense per game. Much of the offense has come through the air as junior quarterback Randy Wright has completed 64.3 percent (27-of-42) passes for 360 yards and a two touchdowns. Wright, along with backup London Lacy, have connected with 13 different receivers in the Aggies West Coast offense.
Alex Cannon has caught four balls for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Corey Galindo and T.J. King also share team-high honors with four receptions. Taylor Sloat has added big-play potential from the tight end position with three receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Wright is protected by a veteran offensive line anchored by senior left guard Sean Davies and fellow senior Ray Wilburn at center.
The running game has been paced by Colton Silveria, who has gained 128 yards with an average of 5.1 yards per carry. Marquis Nicolis, who sat out last week at San Jose State, gained 79 yards on 11 carries in the season opener.
Defensively, linemen Andrew Benjamin and Bobby Erskine return after strong 2011 campaigns during which each ranked among the team leaders in tackles for loss. Erskine has made five tackles, including 1.5 for loss, thus far in 2012, while Benjamin has been credited with three tackles.
Senior linebacker Jordan Glass leads the team with 13 tackles through two games, with another senior, Byron Gruendl ranking second with 11 stops.
Free safety Kevyn Lewis, who has made eight tackles over the first two weeks, is the lone senior starter in the secondary.
On special teams, the Aggies are averaging 26.8 yards per kickoff return. Alex Hines leads the way with an average of 28.8 yards on four returns.
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. He followed with a two-touchdown performance at Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 8.
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.
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 100 career receptions entering Saturday’s game versus UC Davis.
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.
He followed that performance by again establishing career highs with 34 carries for 278 yards at Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 8. Zenner scored on a 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
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.
ROLLIN OUT: Senior wide receiver Aaron Rollin was poised to enter the Jackrabbit career top 10 in a pair of receiving categories during the 2012 season, but is currently sidelined after suffering an injury Sept. 8 at Southeastern Louisiana.
A native of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Rollin recorded 96 receptions for 1,311 yards in his first three seasons with the Jackrabbits, but has been held to one reception for 21 yards thus far in 2012. He stands 19 catches away from cracking the SDSU careeer top 10 and 326 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.
SHAFRATH STICKING OPPONENTS: Senior linebacker Ross Shafrath has led the team in tackles each of the first two games of the season.
Shafrath opened 2012 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. He then notched eight stops in the Sept. 8 win over Southeastern Louisiana.
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 and punt returner. In nine games last season, he averaged 15.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns to rank second on the squad. This season, he has returned six punts for 50 yards (8.3 yards per return), including a career-long 39-yard return Sept. 8 at Southeastern Louisiana.
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 94-73 record (.563 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.
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 Missouri Valley Football Conference slate Sept. 22 at Indiana State.
Kickoff is slated for 2:05 p.m. Eastern Time (1:05 p.m. Central) at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, Ind.