Jackrabbits run past, over and through Missouri State Bears

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

On Nov. 1, the Jackrabbits, newcomers to the Missouri Valley Football Conference, wanted to defend their home turf and prove that they are a top-notch team in the conference.

If there was any doubt about SDSU’s place in the league, ask the Missouri State Bears.

The Jacks ran over, through and on top of the Bears for a 43-13 victory in front of 6,117 faithful fans at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

“Physically, they beat the heck out of us,” MSU defensive tackle Chris Brehmer said.

The Jacks surpassed the Bears by 380 yards (580-200) and beat a Valley Football team by more than 30 points for the second game in a row.

SDSU’s place-kicker Peter Reifenrath gave the Jacks a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, with 20- and 29-yard field goals.

Early in the second quarter after finding themselves down by only six, Missouri State was driving and looking to put points on the scoreboard. Then, MSU’s running back Kingjack Washington suffered an ankle injury, which prevented him from coming back into the game. After the injury, the Jacks had a scoring onslaught.

The Jacks’ three biggest offensive threats had extremely good games:

1. Quarterback Ryan Berry completed 20 of 26 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Receiver JaRon Harris had 10 catches – a career high – for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

3. Running back Kyle Minett rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 20 carries and scored a season-high 56-yard touchdown. This was Minett’s second straight game with a career high in rushing yards.

When asked about Minett’s performance, Jacks head coach John Stiegelmeier guessed his running back would credit the “fat guys up front” and his tight ends.

The coach was correct; Minett credited others for the holes that opened for him.

“The O-line and tight ends and even the wide receivers, like JaRon, did a good job up-front for me,” Minett said.

Minett had a 56-yard touchdown run to make the game 19-0 late in the first half.

The running back got a hole and did the rest of the work.

“I just ran through an opening and had to shed a linebacker,” said Minett. “Then, it was a matter of my legs taking me as fast as I could move them.”

The Bears scored a touchdown off a 14-play drive to end the half.

MSU (3-5 overall, 2-3 in conference play) quarterback Cody Kirby found Chris Geisz for a three-yard pass.

The Jackrabbits (5-4 overall, 4-1 in Valley Football play) added 23 points, including two Harris touchdown catches.

The Bears’ next score would be a meaningless touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Kirby found Chase Mejia for an 11-yard pass.

“It wasn’t a good day for us,” said MSU head coach Terry Allen. “We got our tails kicked. All the credit should go to South Dakota State. This is what I was afraid of. They’re talented, and they’re tough.”

The Jackrabbit coaching staff was pleased with the SDSU players’ performance.

“It was our day,” Stiegelmeier said.

Next, the Jacks will take on the Redbirds of Illinois State on SDSU’s Senior Day on Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. on national television (Fox College Sports).

#1.882230:4157252406.jpg:SDSU_vs_MSST_football_sab-0092.jpg:JaRon Harris, right, of SDSU shakes a tackle from Missouri State defender Chris Farrar, left, Nov. 1 at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Harris had 169 yards receiving with two touchdowns.:Stephen Brua