Jackrabbits End Losing Streak Against MSU

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

Coach John Stiegelmeier and the SDSU Jackrabbit football team had a point to prove this week.

Despite three consecutive losses to ranked squads, Stiegelmeier and the Jacks still believe that they are a good football team.

They made a strong statement Saturday night at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium as the SDSU gridironers trashed Minnesota State Mankato 38-6, leaving the team to relish a victory before preparing for next week’s showdown against archrival University of South Dakota.

Quarterback Brad Nelson compiled an impressive first-half performance as he threw for 193 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 249.48 ranking for the half. SDSU entered the locker room at halftime with a commanding 28-0 margin. Nelson finished the game with 338 yards passing.

Running back Anthony Watson returned to his early-season form as he began the game with 58 yards on his first three attempts to set up the first SDSU score and later caught Nelson’s second touchdown pass on a 25-yard flare out of the backfield. The redshirt freshman ran for a season-high 187 yards on 22 carries.

Nelson then struck back with a 48-yard touchdown bomb to Josh Davis before finishing the half with an 11-yard scoring toss to Solomon Johnson in the corner of the end zone.

The intensity of the game did not slacken in the second half, even as the Jacks had determined the outcome in establishing a 38-0 lead in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks continued to attack and never strayed from their game plan as running back Bobby Ruffin rushed for 151 yards on 43 carries for Minnesota State. The Jacks, however, benefited from a nearly-nonexistent passing game by the visiting team.

The high intensity had a negative impact as star linebacker Chris Coauette was injured late in the game. Steigelmeier said that the injury was preliminarily diagnosed as a dislocated kneecap, leaving Coauette’s status for next week in doubt. Coauette led the Jackrabbit defense before his injury with an interception and nine tackles.

The Mavericks eventually got on the scoreboard with a touchdown pass that was set up by a fumbled snap. The Jacks had four fumbles during the game, losing three of them.

The Jacks travel to Vermillion this Saturday to play USD in their last road game of the season. This game against the Coyotes has the potential to be the final chapter in this storied rivalry with SDSU moving to Division I-AA next season.

USD is coming off a 33-21 defeat at the hands of St. Cloud State. The Jacks defeated the Coyotes last year in Brookings 27-20.

Kickoff at the Dakotadome is at 2 p.m. The game will be televised live on KELO-TV (Channel 11 in Brookings).