New division 1 rivals for SDSU

Faith Moldan

Faith Moldan

As SDSU enters a new division of athletic competiton, there are some new opponents that many Jackrabbit fans know little about. Here is some information to quench your thirst.

Last week, SDSU met a tough opponent in the UC-Davis Aggies. Head coach Bob Biggs is in his 11th season as coach with a 96-34-1 record. The Aggies finished last seson 6-4. Aggie quarterback Jon Grant, who completed 20-of-24 passes for 278 yards against SDSU, is the first sophomore to get signal-caller start since 1999. UC-Davis has 15 returning starters and entered the 2004 season with 34 consecutive winning seasons.

Winona State is an opponent that SDSU has faced before. Head coach Tom Sawyer begins his 9th season with a record of 66-27. The Warriors finished the 2003 season with an impressive 11-2 record. One of those losses was to SDSU, 30-23. Winona State senior wide receiver Chris Samp has been selected as a preseason All-American by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette for the 2004 season.

Western Oregon also lost to SDSU last season, 37-10. Head coasch Duke Iverson is in his 6th year of coaching at Western Oregon with a 33-24 record. Western Oregon won its first two games of 2003 in overtime, but then lost starting quarterback Denny Bies to injury and dropped six of its next eight games.

SDSU will meet Southern University of Baton Rouge, La. for the first time this season. Jaguars head coach Pete Richardson is in his 12th season with a 97-34 record. Southern was the 2003 SDWA and Black College National Champion. Sixteen returning starters will be defending their title and 21-1 2003 record.

Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo is another fist meeting for the Jackrabbits. The Mustangs are coached by Rich Ellerson, who begins his 4th year with a 16-17 record. The Mustangs were 7-4 last season and have 14 returning starters. Senior linebacker Jordan Beck is a Buck Buchanan Award candidate as the best defensive player in Division I-AA in 2003. He is 12 tackles short of a school record for career tackles.

Another familiar face this season will be North Dakota State University. Craig Bohl begins his second year as head coach with a 36-49-5 record. Last year the Bison were 8-3 and have 16 returning starters.

This season will mark the second meeting between SDSU and Montana State. The Bobcats are coached by 5th year coach Mike Kramer. Last season the Bobcats were 7-6. In first meeting with Georgia Southern, SDSU will face Jermaine Austin, who has been nemed to the Walter Payton Award Watch List. The Eagles are coached by 2nd year coach Jim Heinitz begins his 17th season with a 78-95-1 record. With 13 returning starters Augie will try to better its 3-8 2003 record. The Vikings were picked 6th in the NCC Preseason Football Coaches and Media Polls.

The Southern Utah Thunderbirds begin this season with new head coach Wes Meier. The Thunderbirds were 4-7 last season, which was an improvement over the previous year’s 1-10 record. This will be the Thunderbird’s third year with a new head coach. They were picked fifth in the Great West Football Conference pre-season polls by both coaches and media.

Northern Colorado leads its series with SDSU 17-13. Head coach Kay Dalton is in his 4th season with a 32-15 record. The Bears finished 2003 9-2. They will be without sophomore defensive back Jason Hildenbrand and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Vinny Pallone, who both suffered injuries during the offseason.

It looks to be an exciting season with some challenges and adventures.