Sycamores shutdown Jackrabbits



A 78 yard interception return for a touchdown by Indiana State cornerback Johnny Towalid proved to be the final blow to the Jackrabbits in a 38-28 loss in the 45th annual Beef Bowl Saturday night.

“We came out and in my opinion, for some reason there was a change in our football team. We lost our ability to tackle and to adjust,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said.

Indiana State (4-1, 2-0 MVFC) took advantage of their standout running back Shakir Bell finding his form in the third quarter, busting for 122 of his 199 rushing yards including a 30 yard touchdown run that gave ISU a 24-15 lead with three minutes left in the third frame. Quarterback Austin Sumner had the Jacks (1-4, 0-2) driving towards the end zone but saw his pass deflect into the hands of Towalid, who weaved to end zone to put the Sycamores up 31-15.

As if there was any doubt, Bell pounded in one more touchdown, this time a four yard run to put the game out of reach at 38-15.

“I have no idea why we always start slow. It’s tough. I don’t think [it’s deflating] but we obviously need to turn it around,” Jacks defensive lineman Andy Mink said.

SDSU’s ineptitude in the red zone marked the first half, as three trips to the red zone each resulted in field goals, leaving the Jackrabbits down by a point, 10-9 at halftime. By the time that they added late touchdown runs by both Tyrel Kool and Sumner, Indiana State had assured themselves of their first 2-0 start in the Missouri Valley Football Conference since 1994. Meanwhile, the Jacks are back in at 1-4 overall for the second year in a row.

“When you don’t have results, your foundation crumbles and you lose some belief. When you do that, you leave stuff to chance,” Stiegelmeier said.

A struggling SDSU squad, off four consecutive losses will now try to find some sort of semblance winning football next Saturday at Youngstown State.

NOTES: Stiegelmeier said that kicker Kyle Harris is done for the season after breaking his leg during the first quarter while attempting to kick off … Sumner threw his first career touchdown to tight end Vince Benedetto in the third quarter and recorded his first 300-yard passing game, throwing for 305 yards … Bell was named the Beef Bowl’s Most Outstanding Player; it’s the 16th time in Beef Bowl history that the award has gone to a non-SDSU player.