South Dakota State’s Quarterback Position Still up for Grabs in 2016
John Stiegelmeier is getting a lot of mileage these days out of a conversation that happened 20 years ago.
It was back when Stiegelmeier first became South Dakota State's head coach and he sought out some advice from a veteran head coach about what to expect from the new job.
That veteran coach told Stiegelmeier the best thing he could have is a returning starter at quarterback.
Two decades later, Stiegelmeier has two.
As the Jackrabbits get ready to open the 2016 season in less than a month, both senior Zach Lujan and sophomore Taryn Christion are making their bid to be the number one signal caller in Brookings.
And both have a case to make.
Christion, from Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, wasn't supposed to play at all in 2015, but ended up having his redshirt pulled after Lujan was hurt , and ended up playing in eight games.
I those eight, Christion completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,286 yards, throwing seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
Christion also showed off his running ability, gaining nearly four yards a carry, while rushing for five scores.
Lujan came into last season as the number one starter, but missed two games in October with an injury.
The Anchorage, Alaska native threw for better than 1,800 yards in 2015, completing 58 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
When both Lujan and Christion were healthy late in the year they traded off duties at times.
In week nine, it was Christion taking over for Lujan to orchestrate a come-from-behind win at home against Illinois State. One week later, the roles were reversed as Lujan spelled Christion off the bench at South Dakota, rallying the Jackrabbits to victory in Vermillion.
So far in fall camp there is no clear cut starter. But, coach Stiegelmeier that will change soon enough:
The Jackrabbits open the season at TCU, Saturday, September 3, 2016.