SDSU loses 52-0 in DI opener

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

Optimism at the start of every season is a given for any athletic season, despite the previous season’s outcome or the current season’s imminent challenges. The bright outlook was especially applicable this fall to the SDSU football squad as they began the season with a new classification and a new conference.

Saturday, however, proved that the road to success in Division I can be full of obstacles and setbacks as the Aggies of California-Davis shutout the Jackrabbits 52-0.

The defeat was the first opening-game loss during coach John Stiegelmeier’s eight-season tenure at SDSU and was the most points given up by a Jackrabbit defense since a 52-39 loss to North Dakota State University in 1994.

The outcome was so lopsided that even the optimistic Stiegelmeier could not even find a silver lining in the constellation of dark clouds that were present on Saturday.

“We played below our potential and expectations,” Stiegelmeier said. “We need to get back to work.”

The Aggies jumped out to a strong start as they scored 24 points in the first quarter en route to a 38-0 halftime lead in front of a crowd of 6050 fans that weathered a kickoff temperature of 94 degrees.

The Jackrabbits’ closest attempt to get onto the scoreboard occurred in the fourth quarter when they drove to the Aggie one-yard line before being stopped on a fourth-down rushing attempt with a minute left in the game.

SDSU quarterback Brad Nelson struggled before being pulled in the second quarter, completing three of eleven passes for 21 yards with one interception. Backup Andy Kardoes completed nine of eighteen pass attempts for 124 yards, but was sacked three times by the Aggie defense.

Anthony Watson rushed for 63 yards on 17 carries for the Jackrabbits. Wide receivers Chris Molitor and Josh Davis had 54 and 51 receiving yards respectively to lead the Jackrabbit receiving corps. Chris Coauette led the SDSU defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.

SDSU looks to bounce back this Saturday as they host Winona State in the annual Cereal Bowl game at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Winona State defeated SDSU last year 30-23 in Winona. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.