South Dakota State falls to Georgia Southern University

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

Saturday afternoon’s football game at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium featured offense, offense and then a little more offense.

The Jackrabbits combined with 19th-ranked Georgia Southern University Eagles for 41 points in the fourth quarter alone. In all, the two teams scored 97 points. The final score ended with the Jacks losing 55-42.

The two teams combined for 1,138 yards of total offense. The majority of yards were gained on the ground. GSU rushed for 484 yards, while SDSU rushed for 254 yards.

The Jacks, however, threw for more yards than they ran. Red-shirt freshman quarterback Ryan Berry threw for 289 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes.

The Eagles showed how dominant their offense was on their second drive. They tied a school record with a 99-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 33-yard touchdown run by All-American fullback Jermaine Austin. During the drive, the Eagles ran the ball every play.

The Eagles would score the next touchdown of the game, Austin’s second, with a 10-yard run.

The Jacks finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Berry, starting in place of the injured Andy Kardoes, connected with Dusty Snyders for a 12-yard touchdown pass.

In the very next possession, GSU wasted no time in recapturing the momentum. The team needed only two plays to score their next touchdown. After a 60-yard pass completion from quarterback Jayson Foster to receiver Reggie McCutchen, Austin completed the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, his third score of the game.

SDSU scored once more before halftime. Berry connected with receiver Josh Davis for a 27-yard touchdown pass.

South Dakota got the ball to start the second half. They scored on an incredible run by running back Anthony Watson. He broke numerous tackles on his way to a 52-yard score.

Watson’s touchdown tied the score at 21, giving Jackrabbit fans hope that State could pull out a big victory.

The Eagles scored the next three touchdowns, putting the game seemingly out of reach. Quarterback Foster ran for all three Eagles’ touchdowns, with runs of 21, 2 and 4 yards.

Foster finished the day with 178 yards rushing on 27 carries and three touchdowns. He also passed for 131 yards on only four completions.

Immediately following Foster’s 2-yard score, the Jacks needed only two plays to get a touchdown. Watson rushed for a 59-yard scramble down to the 6-yard line. Berry connected with Davis on the next play for a touchdown reception. This put the Jacks within two scores at a little more than nine minutes left to play in the game.

Once again, Georgia Southern responded with a touchdown. They drove 80-yards, all on the ground. Austin ran in his fourth touchdown of the game; this time for 5 yards.

Eagles’ linebacker John Mohring picked off the ball on the next SDSU possession, further dimming the hopes of a Jacks’ victory.

Mohring led the Eagles with 11 tackles, two of which when he burst through the Jacks’ offensive line to make tackles in the backfield.

After the interception, the Eagles sent in their back-up quaterback. The Jacks’ defense forced the Eagles to punt.

The Jacks made quick work of their next possession, needing only two plays again. Both plays were big passes by Berry. The first to Davis for 28 yards, and then a 42-yard touchdown pass to Chris Molitor. It was Berry’s fourth touchdown pass of the game.

The Jacks tried an on-side kick, but the Eagles recovered. The Jacks called a time-out to stop the clock, so Georgia Southern decided not to take a knee and tried to score again. They succeeded as Raja Andrews ran for a 5-yard touchdown.

The Jacks were not done scoring either. They drove 74 yards in only 24 seconds. Berry connected for Davis yet again, this time for a 55-yard pass. Two plays later, Davis and Berry finished the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown reception.

Davis ended the day with 177 yards on nine catches and three touchdowns.

Leading the way for the Jacks’ defense were linebacker Andrew Hoogeveen, who led the team with 15 tackles, and defensive end Jason Nobiling, who had 14 tackles.

Making his first career start, Berry impressed the other team. He was hit hard numerous times throughout the game, but kept getting up, earning him the respect of the Eagles.

“That’s a tough kid right there … a very good player. He’s impressive,” Mohring said.

“That kid [Berry] can take a beating,” said GSU Head Coach Mike Sewak. “He didn’t rattle.”

Sewak was also impressed with Watson.

“The Watson kid just ran,” he said.

SDSU Head Coach John Stiegelmeier was also complimentary of Watson’s performance.

“Anthony Watson had a great game … he had some phenomenal runs … he broke some tackles and made some moves,” he said.

Overall, GSU’s coach was impressed with SDSU’s offense.

“That was the most points we’ve given up. They earned every single one,” Sewak said.

The Eagles offense was dominant. The Jacks could not stop them enough to win.

“We knew we were going to score,” Austin said.

“We did the best we could,” stopping the Eagles’ offense, Nobiling said.

#1.884897:3269985884.jpg:sdsuvsgeorsthrn04_tc.jpg:SDSU’s Anthony Watson, 22, breaks through GSU’s Matthew Wise, 97, and T.J. Rutledge, 42.:Ty Carlson