South Dakota State’s John Stiegelmeier on South Dakota Win, Youngstown State Match-up
Another week, another must win for South Dakota State, with the Jacks margin of error razor thin, as they close out the regular season Saturday at Youngstown State, knowing a win puts them in the FCS playoffs for the second straight year.
Last weekend, SDSU (7-4) ran its win streak to three with a 27-12 win at South Dakota. It was a game that saw the Jacks show great balance on offense (175 yards passing, 140 yards rushing), but several key defensive plays secured the win after the offense turned the ball over twice and the special teams had a field goal blocked.
A couple of sacks and a Winston Wright 80-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed the victory in Vermillion:
The victory is the latest in what has become a very successful month on the calendar for the SDSU program. Since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, the Jacks are 10-4 in November, thanks to a number of different factors:
Saturday's game at Youngstown State (8-3) will be the fourth straight 'must win' for the Jacks to keep their post dreams alive. Is there any concern that this stretch of game is putting too much pressure on the players?
South Dakota State's defense is 2nd in the Missouri Valley Conference in fewest points allowed, and they will be put to the test Saturday going up against the #2 scoring offense in the league.
The Jackrabbits will be facing a veteran quarterback Saturday, as Kurt Hess leads the Penguins after being limited last week against North Dakota State with an ankle injury. The senior has thrown for nearly 7,000 yards in his career.
Hess has never beaten SDSU in his career (0-3), and has been picked off four times in the last two meetings with the Jacks, but Stiegelmeier says don't let that fool you:
On offense, South Dakota State needs to find a way to exploit the worst pass defense and worst overall defense in the Missouri Valley Conference, while still being able to run the ball:
Kickoff in Youngstown is 1:00pm Saturday.
The Jackrabbits have won five straight against the Penguins.