Jacks grab first win

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

After losing three straight games to begin the season, the Jackrabbits won their first game of the year last weekend against Nicholls State, 24-17.

The win marked the 500th football victory in SDSU history.

The Jacks jumped out to an early lead, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions. SDSU built a 24-3 lead, before the Colonels scored two consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Three Jackrabbits rushed for more than 65 yards against Nicholls. SDSU ran for a total of 223 yards, while passing for 156. Quarterback Andy Kardoes led the team in rushing with 86 yards, and threw for two touchdowns.

Entering the game, Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said the team wanted to play a full game and a “great second half.” The Jacks failed to score a second-half touchdown in their first three games of the season, but wasted no time scoring in the second half against Nicholls State on the first possession.

The Jacks did play a full game against the Colonels. Stiegelmeier said the team “played perfect defense in the first half.” He said the team was of one heartbeat for the game.

Stiegelmeier said the Colonels are a good team and it was a tough environment in which to play.

The victory against Nicholls State is “a boost to our confidence … It reassures how good of a football team we can be,” he said.

Looking Ahead

The Jacks will need all the confidence they can get for this week’s game. SDSU travels back to Louisiana to face the McNeese State Cowboys. Stiegelmeier said McNeese is a “really, really good football team … maybe the best team we’re going to play this year.”

He said the Cowboys are “very athletic and physical.”

The Jackrabbit offense will need to play another full game. According to Stiegelmeier, the strength of the Cowboy team is its defense.

The Cowboys enter the game with a 1-2 record on the season. Their two losses are against Division-IA opponents. Their victory on the season came against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school West Virginia Tech. The NAIA is a Division-III level association. SDSU will be the first Division-IAA school McNeese State faces this year.

The Cowboys return 18 starters from last year’s squad. They have eight offensive, nine defensive and one specialist returning.

In addition to facing a formidable Cowboy squad, the Jacks face a rich football history and a large away crowd. The Cowboys’ home stadium can hold more than 17,000 spectators.

“They have an unbelievable football tradition down there,” said Stiegelmeier. “They play in a good football conference.”

The Cowboys have managed to win 10 conference titles in their “good football conference.” They have won more games than any other team in league history. The team has made it to the Division-IAA playoffs 11 out of the past 15 years.

Even against a “really, really good football team,” an “unbelievable football tradition” and possibly upward of 17,000 people rooting against the Jacks, Stiegelmeier believes his team has a chance to win.

“The key is to play as close to perfect as possible. They are too good of a football team to make mistakes,” he said.

Adding to the Jackrabbit concerns are the injuries the team suffered against Nicholls State.

“We have a bunch of guys banged up,” said Stiegelmeier.

Starting safeties Brock Campbell and Jimmy Rogers both injured themselves last week and will be out this week. Stiegelmeier remains confident in his reserves.

“I expect them to go in and win football games for us,” he said.