BROOKINGS – It was a revenge game at the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium Saturday, and the No. 6 South Dakota State Jackrabbits flipped the script from their Hobo Day loss against No. 21 Northern Iowa Panthers in a 37-22 victory in front of 7,518 fans.
Coming into the week, the Jacks made it apparent how to beat the Panthers this time around.
- Don’t turn the ball over
- Win the time of possession
- Stop Marcus Weymiller
- Contain Darius Fountain
For John Stiegelmeier’s team, they were able to do all that. Despite turning the ball over twice in the second quarter, the Jacks were able to tie the turnover margin as the defense forced an interception and a forced fumble.
Taryn Christion, SDSU’s junior quarterback, threw one of the turnovers. The interception happened as his arm was hit by a Panther defender when he threw the ball. Christion finished the day with 237 yards and three touchdowns.
The other turnover came from a Mikey Daniel fumble in the fourth quarter.
“We still had two turnovers today, which is still two too many,” Christion said after the game in a press conference.
A big factor in the Hobo Day loss for the Jacks was getting the football, and being unable to hang on to it when they did. The Jacks held the ball for 35 minutes and ran ten more plays than the Panthers.
Defense was led by Logan Backhaus with eight total tackles on the day. Ryan Earith stepped up for the defensive line and was able to pressure UNI quarterback Eli Dunne into bad throws. Earith had one tackle for a loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries.
“First time around we missed a lot of tackles,” Earith said about the Hobo Day game.
This time around, the Jacks defense didn’t miss those tackles, got off the field and contained running back Marcus Weymiller.
Weymiller was held to just 59 yards on 13 attempts, and the Jacks were able to shut down the other ground options for the Panthers. As a team, the Panthers finished with just 82 rushing yards on 24 carries.
Despite not having a running back over 50 yards, the Jacks out rushed the Panther’s 82 yards to the Jacks’ 143 yards.
Through the air, the Jacks contained Daurice Fountain yet again, as Jordan Brown was assigned man-on-man coverage for him. Brown kept him to 28 yards on three carries and a touchdown.
The leading receiver for the Panthers was Briley Moore, who had six catches for 90 yards.
Christion found his NFL prospect, Dallas Goedert, six times for 83 yards and touchdown. Goedert was targeted eight times. Jacob Brown also contributed to the cause with three receptions, 51 yards and a touchdown.
The Panthers contained SDSU standout receiver Jake Wieneke again this week as he had eight targets but three catches for 50 yards.
Cade Johnson scored a receiving touchdown, but his biggest play came from a 70-yard kick return that set the Jacks up for a field goal.
Special teams, where the Jacks faltered last matchup against UNI, was where they excelled this time. Chase Vinatieri was three for three and connected on a career-long 55-yard attempt.
“He’s in a zone right now,” Stiegelmeier said. “He’s kicking well.”
The Jacks were aggressive all game, as they went for three fourth-down attempts and converted on all of them.
“Not only did it result in points, we also got confidence,” Stiegelmeier said.
A shakeup occurred in Arkansas, where the New Hampshire Wildcats defeated the fourth-seeded Central Arkansas Bears. That means the Jacks have not played their last home game of the season. New Hampshire will travel to Brookings to take on the Jacks either Friday, Dec. 8, or Saturday, Dec. 9.
“I didn’t care, I just wanted to get this win,” Stiegelmeier said about Central Arkansas falling to New Hampshire.