Jacks top Augustana, Nelson sets new touchdown pass record

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The Jackrabbit football team had a heartbreaking loss and blowout defeat in the past two weeks.

The team’s top receiver is out and the offensive line has struggled with injuries for most of the season. Fortunately, SDSU had the 3-7 Augustana Vikings on their schedule and a lot of players willing to fill the void.

The Jacks responded with a 38-9 Hobo Day win in front of 13,116 spectators at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium Saturday, as several players that had been moved up the depth chart made big contributions to the SDSU victory. The triumph was the eighth straight win at home for the Jacks, a new record at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. In addition, senior quarterback Brad Nelson broke the SDSU record for career touchdown passes.

The game started in sluggish fashion as the Jacks and Vikings exchanged first-quarter field goals before SDSU broke the game open with three touchdowns in the second period to take a 24-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Playing without top target Josh Davis, Nelson threw his first score to Justin Kubesh, a linebacker who had recently been converted to fullback. The senior quarterback then tied Ted Wahl’s career touchdown pass record of 43 on a one-yard toss to Brian Janecek.

Augustana looked to narrow the gap before halftime until a tipped pass landed in the hands of backup safety James Epps, who dashed 62 yards to the end zone to put the game out of reach. Epps would later add a second interception in the second half.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Nelson broke the career touchdown passing record early in the fourth quarter on a two-yard pass to senior tight end Ryan Lowry. After an Augustana touchdown, Nelson closed out the scoring with a 17-yard pass that Kubesh acrobatically caught in the back of the end zone. Nelson finished the game with 250 yards passing and four touchdowns, giving him 45 career touchdowns at SDSU.

The offensive line, which consisted largely of freshmen and sophomores, blocked the way for Anthony Watson to reach a season-high mark of 151 yards on 22 carries. Janecek, who started the season as the team’s third wide receiver, led the receiving corps with 11 catches for 141 yards.

Hank McCall and Chris Coauette led the Jackrabbit defense with ten tackles apiece. Mike Blackbourn added nine tackles and tipped the pass that resulted in Epps’s touchdown.

SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier acknowledged that his team’s play was sloppy at times, but he appreciated the win and the large Hobo Day crowd.

The Jacks improved their season record to 5-4 and finished their home schedule 4-0. Augustana concluded its 2004 campaign with a 3-8 record for the second straight season.

SDSU ends its football season with a pair of conference road games. The Jacks will first face Southern Utah in Cedar City, Utah, on Saturday. The Eagles enter the game with a 4-5 overall mark and a 1-3 record in the Great West Football Conference. They have averaged about 400 yards of offense and 25 points per game. Northern Colorado defeated Southern Utah 42-7 on Saturday.

The Jacks finish their schedule on Nov. 20 when they travel to Greeley, Colo. to face former NCC foe Northern Colorado. The Bears face Cal Poly this week and are currently 2-1 in conference play and 2-7 overall in their second season of play in Division I-AA.

“We’re going to have to play better next week,” Janecek said.