Jackrabbits Operating Without a Net as They Travel to #1 North Dakota State
It's never an easy task when you take on the #1 team in the country at their place, but the level of difficulty grows exponentially when you throw the 'must win' tag into the mix.
That's exactly what's facing South Dakota State as they travel to Fargo Saturday to battle North Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits come into the game already saddled with two losses in the Missouri Valley Conference, the latest coming at home to Youngstown State last weekend, 30-27.
SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier told me it was a defeat that really rocked the program about as hard as any loss has in recent memory:
Stiegelmeier insists that even with the two league losses after four games, his Jackrabbits have only had to alter - not abandon - their pre-season goals for 2014:
One bright spot for South Dakota State fans last weekend was seeing senior quarterback Austin Sumner in uniform for the first time since he broke his foot in the season-opener at Missouri back in August.
But Stielgemeier told me, until Sumner is ready to practice, he won't be seeing any game action:
The Jackrabbits open the second half of the Missouri Valley schedule at North Dakota State Saturday. The Bison are the top ranked team in FCS, the three-time defending national champs, owners of a 32-game overall winning streak, and have won five in-a-row against SDSU.
NDSU is in the first year of the Chris Klieman era. The former Bison defensive coordinator took over for Craig Bohl, who is now the head coach at Wyoming.
I asked Coach Stiegelmeier what - if anything - is different in Fargo:
Kickoff is 2:30pm at the Fargodome Saturday.
SDSU is on the road again next Saturday at Indiana State.