SDSU’s struggles continue


A motivated Bison squad forced SDSU to make lethal mistakes in the rivalry game. 

Leading up to the Dakota Marker showdown, much ado was made about NDSU head coach Craig Bohl’s lack of wins in Brookings in recent years.

NDSU hadn’t beaten the Jacks at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium since a 28-7 win in 1999.

“Really pleased with our players’ effort. It’s a difficult place to come in and win. We had not done that since 1999 and as a football team we addressed it,” Bohl said

Whatever Bohl said worked as his team made sure that streak came to an end.

“He instilled an attitude in us,” NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen said. “It feels really good to come out of this hostile environment with a win.”

The Bison rolled to a 38-14 victory to remain undefeated and set up a big Missouri Valley showdown with UNI this weekend in Fargo.

“I thought our guys showed great resolve and belief in one another and made plays when we needed to and came up with a great win,” Bohl said.

SDSU has now dropped the last two Dakota Marker games after winning three in a row from 2007-2009.


Strong start screeches to halt

1st and goal at the one yard-line.

For most teams, having three chances to gain a yard is a piece of cake.

Unfortunately SDSU didn’t have a fork.

Quarterback Austin Sumner’s first down throw flew just out of reach of open receiver Aaron Rollin in the end zone. After a long SDSU drive and the first and goal play, NDSU’s defense tightened up.

The Bison stuffed Tyrel Kool up the middle and deflected a would-be touchdown on a fade-route pass thrown to Rollin.

To top things off, Justin Syrovatka missed an 18-yard field goal wide-right.

“That’s not good football,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “We need to go into those situations and try to bury it instead of make bad decisions.”

A closer look at the four-play sequence unearths some of the struggles the Jacks have faced on offense in 2011.

The offensive line was viewed as a strong point entering the season and Tyrel Kool was tasked with replacing Kyle Minett at running back but the running game has been shut down most of the season. The inept running attack forced SDSU to pass twice from the one yard line, which isn’t an ideal situation with a freshman quarterback.

After a NDSU touchdown and field goal, the Jacks found themselves inside the 10 yard-line again but had similar results.

The Bison once again stuffed the run and Syrovatka once again missed a field goal, this time from 28 yards in the second quarter

Business as usual for the SDSU offense.


Third facet fails Jacks

Struggles have been aplenty on both sides of the ball for the SDSU football team this season but the special teams units previously offered some consistency.

Then came two missed field goals by Syrovatka and NDSU receiver and punt return specialist Ryan Smith to break SDSU’s steady constant.

Smith returned a punt 41 yards to put the Bison up 24-7 in the fourth quarter with 9:24 left on the clock. He was grinning from ear-to-ear after the game.

“Ever since I’ve gotten on the field I’ve wanted to get a touchdown,” Smith said. “Just to score the first touchdown, it’s fun. I had a lot of fun today playing football.”

Before the touchdown, SDSU only trailed by 10 points but Smith’s scoring scamper was the play that broke the camel’s back.

“Killed us,” Stiegelmeier said of the return. “There was some lack of effort out there and that is one thing that’s unacceptable.”

Steigelmeier said he was “disappointed” in the play of his special teams.

“Four games ago that’s the highlight,” Stiegelmeier said.