Jacks lose border battle to Bison

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

In the second battle between the two Dakotas, the Jackrabbits lost the Dakota Marker by a score of 41-17. The Rabbits won the initial battle last year, but could not retain the marker this year.

The game started out promising for the Jacks. The Bison fumbled early in the game, allowing the Jacks to jump out to a 7-0 lead. Cory Koenig ran for the touchdown, a 16-yard score.

The Bison scored the next touchdown of the game, tying the score. The Jacks responded with a long touchdown reception from Andy Kardoes to Chris Molitor. The two connected for a 41-yard touchdown. The Jacks led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

That was the last time the Jacks led in the game. North Dakota scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, both by running back Kyle Steffes. The Jacks were down 21-14 at half time.

The third quarter belonged to NDSU, as the Bison increased their lead to 31-14. The only points in the second half for the Jacks were Parker Douglass’ 23-yard field goal. He kicked the field goal early in the fourth quarter, bringing the Jacks to within 10 points. The Bison, however, did not let the Jacks get any closer, and added on more points.

The Bison controlled the running game on both sides of the ball, racking up more than 300 rushing yards.

“Defensively, we couldn’t stop the run,” said Head Coach John Stiegelmeier.

The offense struggled as well, only gaining 98 yards rushing, far below their season average.

“Offensively, we couldn’t get a drive going,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jacks were faced with some difficulties entering the game. The first challenge was playing in the Fargodome.

“That’s a touch place to play ? the fans are relentless,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jacks also had to deal with injuries. Running back Anthony Watson went down in practice and was unavailable for the entire game, while starting quarterback Kardoes went down during the game. Stiegelmeier did not use the injuries as an excuse though.

“I can’t subscribe to the mentality that when somebody goes down, you can’t win,” said Stiegelmeier.

He expects players to step in and make plays.

The Jacks close out the season this Saturday against Northern Colorado at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The Jacks are looking to finish the season with a winning record. This season would be the second-straight season with a winning record after making the jump to Division I.

Northern Colorado comes in with a 4-5 record and 0-4 conference record. The game will not be handed to the Jacks, though.

“Northern Colorado is a good team,” Stiegelmeier said.

The game will serve as a goodbye to the senior class as well. Coach Stiegelmeier had good things to say about this class.

“They are great leaders, great for the university community and great ambassadors for South Dakota sports,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jacks’ seniors have been contributors throughout the years. Highlighting the class are wide receiver Josh Davis, the all-time leader in receptions; offensive guard Paul Keizer, two-time allconference tight end two straight seasons before moving to guard this year; and cornerback Hank McCall, second-team all-conference last year.