These are exciting times for the South Dakota State football program. The Jackrabbits are in the midst of the most successful run on the gridiron in school history, with four straight FCS playoff appearances and a trio of post season wins during that time.

In 2016, SDSU is looking to build off of that past success with a brand new place to call home in the not-too-far-off future - Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium - which opens in less than four months.

At the 2016 Spring Game, it was the Jackrabbit offense defeating the defense, 62-47.

Some of the headlines from Spring camp:

  • Not only are there new faces on the roster, but new faces on the coaching staff as well, as head coach John Stiegelmeier welcomes four new position coaches.
  • Senior Zach Lujan and sophomore Taryn Christion continue to be the quarterbacks for the Jacks, although Lujan was limited physically during Spring camp. His absence on the field opened the door for true freshman Kanin Nelson to get a significant number of reps in practice. the Mitchell native threw for a pair of scores and ran for another during the Spring game.
  • Running back will again be a committee approach with senior Kyle Paris, junior Brady Mengarelli, and sophomore Isaac Wallace getting the bulk of the carries.
  • All-Conference receiver Jake Wieneke will once again be the focus of the passing attack, with tight end Dallas Goedert emerging as a top weapon last season. Sophomore Alex Wilde (Brandon) and redshirt freshman Marquise Lewis both caught TD passes during the Spring game.
  • Up front, junior center Jacob Ohnesorge anchors the line with Charlie Harmon and Nick Carr trying to come back from injuries.
  • Defensively, there is an abundance of talent on the interior of the defensive line with senior Cole Langer and junior Kellen Soulek back. Senior Shayne Gottlob and sophomore Blake Whitsell are more than adequate backups. The defensive end spot has some question marks with Jared Blum and Chase Kern returning, but no other experience on the depth chart.
  • Senior Jesse Bobbit leads the linebacking corps. Dallas Brown is a three-year starter, while Daltion Cox is trying to make the transition from special teams this season.
  • In the secondary, the Jackrabbits are strong at safety with the 'double Nick attack' - senior Nick Mears and junior Nick Farina - returning. The biggest question mark on defense comes at cornerback, where no starters return and inexperience runs rampant.  Ezekiel Herndon and Jordan Brown have played limited snaps over the past two seasons. This could be the one spot on the roster where a true freshman makes an impact this Fall.
  • On special teams, a Vinatieri will once again kick for SDSU. Sioux Falls native Chase Vinatieri (Roosevelt), nephew of former Jackrabbit and NFL great Adam Vinatieri, will take over placekicking duties. Brady Hale is back as the SDSU punter. The return game is wide open with a pair of redshirt freshmen, Adam Anderson and Marquise Lewis looking to take over.

I talked with SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier about what he saw from his team and new coaches, during Spring ball:

The Jackrabbits open the 2016 season at Texas Christian, September 3. They open Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, September 10, with Drake.

Here is the complete 2016 schedule:

  • 9/3 - at TCU
  • 9/10 - DRAKE
  • 9/17 - CAL POLY
  • 10/8 - at Southern Illinois
  • 10/15 - at North Dakota State
  • 10/29 - at Illinois State
  • 11/12 - SOUTH DAKOTA
  • 11/19 - at Northern Iowa

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