The fourth-largest crowd ever to see a football game at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium was given more time to enjoy the 95th annual Hobo Day game.
It took three overtimes, but the McNesse State Cowboys stopped SDSU in the last play of the game to earn the victory, 46-44. The crowd of 15,521 saw two top 25 ranked teams battle for over 60 minutes.
SDSU had a chance to end the game before the third overtime, but it literally slipped through the Jackrabbit players’ fingers.
In the second overtime, after a fumble and illegal forward pass penalty, the McNesse State Cowboys faced a fourth down and 21. McNeese State quarterback Derrick Fourroux rocketed a pass into a host of SDSU defenders. Jackrabbit junior linebacker Jimmy Rogers linebacker had his hands on the ball, but it bounced off.
All-purpose back Steven Whitehead caught the ball off the lucky bounce off Rogers and made a diving catch at the 1-yard line.
“I thought we lost,” said Fourroux while he was on the Coughlin-Alumni turf. “Whitehead caught the ball, and then we punched it in.”
Fourroux behind a fast and talented offensive line did sneak the ball in for a touchdown from the 5-yard line.
Both teams – coaches and players – agreed that it was a shame that one team had to lose.
One SDSU player who left it all on the field on the 95th Hobo Day game was senior wide receiver JaRon Harris. Harris has eight catches for 176 receiving yards, along with a career-high three touchdowns.
SDSU’s senior quarterback, Ryan Berry, felt fortunate to have Harris on his team.
“To me, JaRon is probably the best player on the field, anywhere we go,” said Berry who is 1-1 in Hobo Day games that he has started in. “It makes my job a lot easier to know that he is going to beat his guy.”
Berry used Harris’ superb ability to pass for over 300 yards (302) for the third straight game.
However, the most memorable play was the last play. SDSU called on Harris to tie the game and force the fourth overtime. Harris came in motion from the right. Harris took the end around, which was stopped by a “storm of Cowboys yards away from the end zone. I should have called timeout when I saw that they were blitzing off the edge,” said Stiegelmeier.
Stiegelmeier gave credit to linebacker Derek Domino’s first quarter 82-yard, pick-6 as a reason why SDSU was in the game in the first place. Without even touching the ball on offense, the Jackrabbits were up 7-0.
The SDSU offense’s first play from scrimmage saw Berry losing the ball via a sack. A Cowboy defender jumped on the ball and made McNeese State even in the turnover department. McNeese State had nearly seven more minutes of possession than SDSU in the first quarter. The first quarter ended 14-7 in favor of the Cowboys.
Both teams would trade scores until the Jacks faced a pivotal fourth down in the fourth quarter.
With the wind being a factor all game, instead of going for the first down, the Jacks went for a 21-yard field goal. Peter Reifenrath came through and made the 3-point try at the 5:58 mark. With Reifenrath’s field goal, the game was all tied up at 24-24. There would be no more scoring in regulation.
It seemed that whoever had the ball last would win the non-league game. But Stiegelmeier made note of the Cowboys ability to be the better team.
“They made one play better than us tonight,” said Stiegelmeier.
SDSU falls to 3-3 and is 2-1 in the Missouri Valley Football League. McNesse State improves to 3-1 and has yet to play a game in the Southland Conference.
The current 3-3 record does not deter SDSU, according to Jackrabbit running back Kyle Minett.
“If we win the league, we’re in the playoffs no matter what,” he said. “Right now, we are in a really good spot to do that.”
SDSU will take next week off and host Cal Poly on Oct. 18.
#1.882385:3448217250.jpg:Football.HoboDay.Fans.ES.jpg:Jackrabbit fans react to the Jackrabbits’ heartbreaking loss on Hobo Day (Oct. 4). The then fourth-ranked McNeese State Cowboys beat SDSU 46-44 in triple overtime.:Ethan Swanson#1.882384:3588336923.jpg:Football.HoboDay.ES.jpg:Glen Fox (17) holds the ball for Peter Reifenrath (99). Reifenrath went 1-for-3 in field goal tries in the Hobo Day game.:#1.882383:2917258498.jpg:Football.Hobo Day.ES.4.jpg:Senior wide reciever Glen Fox is tackled by a Cowboys defender.:Ethan Swanson