Jacks barely topple T-Birds



For one team Saturday, it was hard to take the heartbreak. The other was happy to take the victory.

Dirk Kool denied a game-winning two-point-conversion reception with two seconds left that stopped Southern Utah’s attempts at a comeback, giving SDSU a season-opening victory they almost let slip through their fingers.

That scenario looked unlikely after the Jackrabbits rattled off 29 unanswered points in the middle two quarters of the game and held a 29-7 lead after the third quarter. SDSU quarterback Thomas O’Brien found both Tyrel Kool and Kyle Sheehan for touchdowns and Zach Zenner ran for a 27-yard touchdown, seemingly putting the game out of reach before a Southern Utah rally.

Until the fourth quarter collapse, SDSU’s defense played well against the passing attack of Sorensen, sacking him four times and forcing two interceptions. Winston Wright picked the T-Birds quarterback off with 1:56 left in the game, but a fumble by Tyrel Kool allowed Southern Utah a final chance.

“There’s always a number of unique emotions in a game like this. To win the game after some of the mistakes we made says a lot about the fiber of our team,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier.

Tyrel Kool led the team with 186 all-purpose yards, 107 of those rushing variety in his first career start at running back. O’Brien finished the game with 279 yards passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Sorensen finished the game completing 31-of-46 passes, 340 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

SDSU plays next Saturday at Big Ten foe Illinois but the importance of the first win is not understated.

“We stress 1-0 each week and the most important goal is 1-0,” defensive end Jake Steffen said. “We had to win that first one and it was huge.”