South Dakota State Preview: #4 Jackrabbits at Montana State
After breezing through their home opener, South Dakota State takes its high powered offensive attack on the road for the first time in 2017, when they travel to Montana State, Saturday (September 9).
The Bobcats (0-1), out of the Big Sky Conference, opened the season with a 31-0 loss at Washington State, the first time MSU has been shutout since 2006.
Montana State is trying to bounce back after going 4-7 in 2016.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Murray took over halfway through last season and finished with 860 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. He has struggled throwing the ball, never completing more than 10 passes in a game in his career. In 2016, Murray threw eight interceptions and just six touchdowns passes.
Against Washington State, Murray completed just five passes and was sacked three times.
The Bobcat running game will be missing senior Nick LaSane, who is serving a four-game suspension. He averaged better than seven yards a carry last season.
Defensively, Montana State has an experienced line, but one that has struggled with putting pressure on the quarterback, recording just 15 sacks in 11 games last year.
Linebacker Mac Bignell is MSU's best player on defense. He had 14 tackles for loss in 2016, but because of injuries, has been moved around this year.
The Bobcats secondary will look to limit South Dakota State's big play ability by allowing shorter passes to be completed in front of them.
The Jackrabbits offensive line, already down suspended starter Matt Clark for the next five games, is even thinner heading to Montana State. Clark's replacement, Tyler Weir, will miss a few weeks with injury. Sophomore Evan Greenway will get the start against the Bobcats.
Kickoff is 7:00 PM (Central), Saturday in Bozeman.
The Jackrabbits (1-0) opened the season with a 51-13 win over Duquesne last Thursday (August 31).
SDSU wasted no time showing off their big play ability, as Taryn Christion hit Adam Anderson for a 57-yard gain on the first drive of the game, setting up a touchdown.
On the Jacks next drive, it was Christion doing it with his feet, scrambling for 90-yards to set up another score.
Touchdown number three was setup by a Christion to Dallas Goedert 37-yard strike on the third possession, and the Jacks were up 20-0 after one quarter.
Christion finished the night 17-of-26 for 254 yards and five touchdowns thru the air. Jake Wieneke caught six passes, including four for scores.
In all, South Dakota State racked up 609 yards of total offense, while limiting the Dukes to 259.
Defensively, the Jackrabbits held last season's FCS Freshman of the Year, AJ Hines, to just 34 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Austin Barrett and Kellen Soulek each had a sack. Linebacker Logan Backhaus had an interception.
I talked with Jackrabbit head coach John Stiegelmeier about the Duquesne win and the matchup with Montana State: