For the second week in a row, the SDSU football team held the lead as they went into their away locker room. Unlike last week at UC Davis, the visiting team did not let up in the second half and beat the University of Central Arkansas 38-10 at Estas Stadium in Conway, Ark.
“At halftime we were really focused on playing a good second half, and finishing the job” said head coach John Stiegelmeier.
Kyle Minett continued his coach’s sentiments. “At half-time we knew the game was not over,” he said. “We wanted to play four quarters and finish the game out.”
SDSU scored 17 points via a Parker Douglass field goal, a Cory Koenig one-yard run and a two-yard pass from Ryan Berry to Chris Wagner to give the Bears their worst home loss since 2002.
UCA head coach Clint Conque was impressed with the Jackrabbits performance. “[SDSU] whipped us in every phase of the game offense, defense and everything,” he said. “SDSU came prepared to play on the road. They had a massive offensive line, but we have been the smaller team all year.”
The whipping started early. Adam Monke took the opening kick and returned the ball to the 30-yard line. On the Jackrabbits’ first play from scrimmage SDSU’s Ryan Berry used a great play action fake hand off. The Bears’ cornerback was faked out, which caused Jacks wide out Saunders Montague to be wide open. He caught the ball in full stride to cause the Jacks to go up 7-0 with just 14 seconds off the clock.
“On that first play, we were in man coverage, and it was just a great throw and catch,” said Conque.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears, who were down by seven points, bobbled the ball at the one-yard line and gave UCA a long field.
Later in the game, the Bears went ahead 10-7 on a one-yard run from sophomore Leonard Ceaser. The lead was shortlived and SDSU scored 31 straight points and did not allow another point to UCA.
Underwood, Iowa native Cory Koenig ran for more than 100 yards for the third consecutive game and ended up running for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Koenig used great blocking from his offensive lineman and his ability to find the open hole to average 9.7 yards a carry. Minett had a great night rushing also, scoring a touchdown.
“Cory (Koenig) had a really solid game, he was hard to bring down, the offensive line open huge holes for us guys rushing,” said Minett.
Conque said, “They had two quality (running) backs tonight. You can’t give a good team a short field like we did tonight.”
While the SDSU running backs had success in the game, UCA quarterback Nathan Brown had a sea of white jerseys surrounding him the whole game. Coming into the first eight games of the season, the Bears only gave up eight sacks. In one game the Jacks more than halved the total sacks with five sacks on the day. Senior defensive tackle Jason Bonwell had three sacks for 23 total yards lost on the game. Danny Batten had half a sack and junior Eric Schroeder had a sack to force UCA to punt. Stiegelmeier said that many were effort sacks and the line possessed big hearts in this game.
Brown, the Bears’ quarterback and offensive leader, was held to zero touchdowns, the first time that a defense has held Brown without a touchdown since 2005. Also, Brown’s 260 yards passing without an interception was snapped when Tyler Koch picked off two passes in a row to propel the Jacks to a 38-10 on-the-road victory. Koch was named the Great West Football Conference defensive player of the week for his three interceptions and 10 tackles performance.
Redshirt freshman Antonio Thompson forced a fumble, which was recovered by defensive lineman Steven Bazata.
At the end of the game, Coach Stiegelmeier congratulated his team and told them, ” I wish I could shake all of your hands.”
Up next for the Jackrabbits is Southern Utah University at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 at Coughlin Alumni Stadium on the SDSU campus.
#1.883131:2210242262.jpg:footballatUCAbetter.web.jpg:Jacks’ running back Cory Koenig breaks an attempted open field tackle by UCA linebacker Tok Opeloye, Nov. 3.: