#6 South Dakota State Beats #11 Youngstown State, Hosts Northern Iowa for Hobo Day
Three weeks into the 2015 Missouri Valley Football Conference season, South Dakota State is on a roll.
The Jackrabbits made it back-to-back league victories, and five wins in six games overall, with a road win at then #11 Youngstown State, 38-8, in Ohio. last weekend.
SDSU's Dallas Brown got things started on the opening kickoff, forcing, and recovering a YSU fumble inside the Penguins 30 yard line.That set up a Brady Mengarelli four-yard touchdown run and put the Jacks up 7-0, 51 seconds into the game.
Freshman quarterback Taryn Christion got his second straight start in place of the injured Zach Lujan, and the Youngstown defense was waiting, sacking him three times in the first half.
With Christion limited in the first 30 minutes, the Jackrabbits turned to running back Kyle Paris, who picked up 75 of his career-high 128 yards, in the first half.
Defensively, the SDSU defense kept YSU running backs Martin Ruiz and Jody Webb to a combined 13 yards rushing, 157 yards below their combined 170-yard average per game this season.
The Jacks also put a tremendous amount of pressure on Penguin quarterback Hunter Wells, sacking him once, intercepting him once (Je Ryan Butler), and hurrying him all afternoon long.
In the last ten quarters, the SDSU defense has allowed just two touchdowns.
The win moved South Dakota State up to #6 in the STATS FCS rankings this week, the second highest Missouri Valley team (Illinois State is #3) in the nation.
This week, the Jackrabbits host a team that was considered a serious contender for the MVC title, Northern Iowa. But the Panthers have instead started the season with three straight losses in league play.
The latest setback for UNI came at home last Saturday to league co-leader Western Illinois, 24-19, in Cedar Falls. All of the Panthers MVC losses have come by eight points or less. UNI had two impressive non-conference wins over ranked teams in September, beating then #7 Eastern Washington at home and then #17 Cal Poly on the road.
Offensively, the Panthers play two quarterbacks - Aaron Bailey and Sawyer Kollmorgen. Bailey is the running threat, averaging nearly 80 yards per game on the ground, Kollmorgen is the thrower.
Defensively, UNI is one of four teams in the MVC that has picked off seven passes (corner back Deondre' Hall has 3) , the Panthers are tied for 2nd in the league with 14 sacks, and are #3 in the MVC against the run. Linebacker Brett McMakin leads the league with three forced fumbles, putting him in the top five in the nation.
Saturday is the final Hobo Day game at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, which transforms into Dykhouse Stadium next year. Kickoff is 2:00 PM in Brookings.
Here is my interview with SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier on the Youngstown State win, the match-up with Northern Iowa, and the latest on injured former Jackrabbit running back Zach Zenner, now a member of the NFL's Detroit Lions: