Jacks cut down Indiana Sycamores

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

The Indiana State/SDSU football game was far from ordinary.

A linebacker punted, and a defensive back played quarterback. The Jacks forced a safety, ISU got two points via an extra-point block and return and a halfback pass turned into a touchdown.

In the end, the outcome was predictable as ISU lost its homecoming game, 49-9, at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 25.

ISU (0-8 overall, 0-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference) lost its 22nd game in a row: the nation’s longest current losing streak.

The Jacks (4-4 overall, 3-1 in MVFC) had more rushing yards from sophomore Kyle Minett (145) than all of the Sycamores combined (79). Minett also had two touchdowns and four catches for 65 yards. ISU’s top receiver, Darrius Gates, had 61 yards.

Indiana State did have 125 yards gained but lost 46 yards on tackles for loss, and the Jacks also had four total sacks in the conference game.

ISU’s freshman quarterback Ryan Roberts – who was a defensive back for the first six games – had 25 rushes (more than three times any other ISU ball carrier) but ended the day with negative eight rushing yards.

During the game, ISU attempted the option with their inexperienced signal caller. Needless to say, ISU’s option was ineffective due to SDSU’s coverage.

“This whole week we emphasized doing our own job. We had a guy on the pitch man and the quarterback,” said Jacks’ defensive end Antonio Thompson, who graduated from Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School.

“We all did our job and stopped their option real good.”

The deficit would have been closer if not for ISU’s ineffectiveness during scoring opportunities.

ISU, who only has scored more than 10 points in a game one time this year, missed two field goals (39 and 47 yards out).

The Sycamores also had a shot at the end zone in the first half; ISU had fourth and goal from the one. Down 7-0, Gates was given the ball and was unable to get a yard, and the Jacks took over at the one.

“We have to execute and finish drives, and basically, just score,” Gates said. “Today, we didn’t and they did.”

ISU got on the board through a Gates halfback pass to Jeramie Gray. The Sycamores also got two points via an extra-point block early in the third quarter.

The Jackrabbits got their own two-points from a Thompson safety. Jimmy Rogers and Derek Domino led the Jacks with eight tackles each. SDSU’s freshman Erich Feller had the only interception late in the fourth quarter.

SDSU’s quarterback Ryan Berry had four touchdowns on the day and finished with 261 yards. Glen Fox had two touchdowns, and tight end Colin Cochart had a receiving touchdown, as well. Harris added another score with a tiptoe touchdown catch.

The Jacks had a visitor to their sideline in current Indianapolis Colts kicker, Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri told the football team to follow their dreams, said Jackrabbits’ head coach John Stiegelmeier.

Vinatieri, a 1995 graduate of SDSU, might have been surprised who the listed kickers were for the Jacks.

Starting punter Dean Priddy was out with an illness, and starting field goal kicker Peter Reifenrath was reprimanded for not following team rules for one game. Kyle Harris went 5-of-6 in point after touchdowns field goals.

Dirk Kool, SDSU’s back-up linebacker, did a great job of taking over for Priddy; he had three punts for an average of 44 yards. Kool also had a touchback, along with his first punt that was fair-caught by ISU at the 8-yard line.

Stiegelmeier said Kool should be given special recognition by the Missouri Valley Football Conference for his play.

Jacks play Missouri State on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.