Jacks fall to Montana in close game

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The SDSU football squad entered its toughest two-game stretch of the season this past weekend.

The Jacks suffered a 27-24 defeat at the hands of Montana State Saturday Oct. 23 in Bozeman in what may have been a preview of a future Big Sky Conference rivalry.

This is the first game since 1966 in which SDSU has played the Bobcats, and the two teams battled closely throughout the game.

SDSU responded to an early first quarter Bobcat score with a one-yard touchdown run by Andy Kardoes to even the score at 7-7, the last scoring play for either side in the first half.

Montana State wore down the Jackrabbit defense with its spread offense as they scored a touchdown and a field goal during the third quarter to open a 17-7 lead before SDSU struck back with a Parker Douglass field goal midway through the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats, however, drove down the field again, scoring a touchdown and establishing a 24-10 that would put most teams away.

The Bobcats failed to notice some of the past fourth-quarter heroics by SDSU quarterback Brad Nelson. They allowed the senior to lead a drive down the field and score on an 18-yard strike to Chris Molitor to trim the SDSU deficit to 24-17 with 1:12 left to play.

The Jacks were able to recover the ensuing onside kick and scored after two plays on a 44-yard pass from Nelson to Brian Janecek with 44 seconds left.

The extra point by Douglass tied the game at 24-24 and appeared to set the stage for overtime.

The Bobcats were undaunted by the Jackrabbit offensive onslaught and were led by quarterback Travis Lulay on an eight-play, 69-yard drive that resulted in the game-winning 22-yard field goal by E.J. Cochrane.

Montana State improved its record to 5-2 while SDSU dropped its mark to 4-3.

Nelson completed the game 19-of-35 for 216 yards and two touchdowns despite only having one reception from senior Solomon Johnson and four grabs from junior Josh Davis.

Janecek led the Jacks with 72 yards receiving while Anthony Watson ran for 81 yards on the ground.

Linebackers Chris Coauette and Mike Blackbourn led the Jackrabbit defense with 13 and 12 tackles respectively.

SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier said he was proud of his team’s effort, especially as they came back in the final minutes.

He was disappointed that the team was not able to make the critical plays that were needed to win the game.

“You don’t want to finish second in a football game,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jackrabbits face their toughest game of the season this upcoming Saturday when they travel to Statesboro, Ga., to face second-ranked Georgia Southern in the first game of a contract that will bring the Eagles to Coughlin-Alumni Stadium next season. Georgia Southern enters the game with a 7-1 record, their only blemish being a 48-28 season-opening loss to Division I-A powerhouse Georgia. The Eagles defeated the Citadel last week 42-7.

Georgia Southern has scored an average of 50 points per game and has won its seven games by an average of 42 points. They feature an option offense that averages 355 yards on the ground and 480 yards of total offense.

The Eagles have won the Division I-AA championship six times and are a perennial playoff qualifier. Coach Stiegelmeier said that his staff has been studying this team on film for months, noting Georgia Southern’s deep level of talent at the skill positions.

“They are the best team in Division I-AA,” Stiegelmeier said.