For the first time in the 2015 football season, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits will take the field after a loss when they host Indiana State Saturday night in Brookings.

SDSU looked rattled during last week's Missouri Valley Football Conference opener, losing 28-7 to #3 North Dakota State in front of the largest crowd ever at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium - 17,348.

The defeat dropped the Jacks three spots in the latest STATS FCS rankings - from #5 to #8.

Several factors contributed to the loss:

  • SDSU finished the night with -4 yards rushing.
  • SDSU committed 10 penalties, several falling into the 'mental mistake' category.
  • Lack of production on the ground and abundance of penalties led to a number of third and longs for the SDSU offense, which converted just twice in 15 tries.
  • The SDSU offensive line was unable to contain the NDSU pass rush, which led to three sack of Zach Lujan, who was also hurried and knocked down on a number of other snaps.
  • The SDSU defense was unable to get any meaningful pressure on Bison quarterback Carson Wentz, as he completed 70 percent of his passes (19-of-27) for 183 yards and a touchdown.

The road doesn't get any easier for SDSU in the talent-rich MVFC. Next up is #19 Indiana State who beat Missouri State 56-28 in their conference opener last weekend. In four games this season, the Sycamores have scored more points than any other Missouri Valley team (151).

ISU is led by sophomore quarterback Matt Adam, the reigning MVFC offensive player of the week, who threw for 265 yards and four touchdowns last week.

The Sycamores feature a number of looks on offense, including the Wildcat featuring wide receiver Kelvin Cook, who racked up 114 all-purpose yards against Missouri State.

On defense, linebacker Kendall Walker had 15 tackles last week (10 in the first quarter). Walker had eight tackles for the Sycamores against South Dakota State last season, in a game the Jackrabbits won 32-17.

Kickoff is 6:00 PM in Brookings, Saturday.

Here is my interview with SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier on the North Dakota State loss and the match-up with the Sycamores: