Football team ends season

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The SDSU Jackrabbit football team ended their 2002 campaign on a winning note Saturday as they downed the Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks 39-13 at Mankato.

The SDSU win allowed the Jacks to finish the season above .500 and ended MSU’s three-game winning streak.

After allowing the home team to gain a small lead, the Jackrabbit defense shut down the Maverick offense.

SDSU’s offense rolled up nearly 500 yards of offense on the way to the Jack’s first win on the road this season.

Kevin Brown got the Jacks off to a quick start by taking the opening kickoff 100 yards to the end zone, giving the visitors an early 7-0 lead.

Mankato struck back with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Shea to Dominic Longo and a 33-yard field goal by Paul Barenz to give the home team a 10-7 advantage after the first quarter.

Scott Nedved got the lead back for the Jackrabbits with a three-yard touchdown run to cap a ten play, 66-yard drive.

Dan Fjeldheim then hooked up with Brian Janecek on a 60-yard strike with 2:26 left in the first half to give SDSU a 20-10 advantage.

The Jacks then pulled a little work of trickery on the extra point attempt as linebacker Jeff Schultz emerged from the “Swinging Gate” formation carrying the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion and giving SDSU a 22-10 lead.

Barenz would strike back with a 38-yard field goal at the end of the half to bring the Mavericks to 22-13.

But the SDSU defense clamped down in the second half for the win.

The only scoring during the third quarter was a 61-yard touchdown run by Nedved.

Keith Witt made a 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and Nedved added another touchdown, a four-yarder, to round out the scoring.

Nedved ended the game with 20 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns.

The Yankton senior was named the NCC Offensive Player of the Week for his effort.

Brown was also honored by the NCC as he was named the NCC Special Teams Player of the Week.

In addition to his touchdown return, he returned another kickoff for 43 yards, averaged 16 yards per punt return and grabbed an interception.

Fjeldheim completed 21 of 29 passes for 333 yards and one touchdown.

He was sacked six times by the Maverick defense.

The receiving corps was led by Jeff Hesse’s eight receptions for 130 yards.

Josh Davis added five grabs for 40 yards.

Eight receivers caught passes from Fjeldheim.

The Jackrabbit defense was bolstered with 14 tackles by Scott Connot. Frank Blalark and Chris Coauette each had ten tackles with Coauette also intercepting a pass.

The State defense also had 13 tackles for loss against MSU, Mankato.

MSU’s Bobby Ruffin, the NCC’s leading rusher prior to the game was held to only 29 yards on 15 carries.

SDSU once again struggled with penalties as they committed 12 infractions and lost 96 yards.

The placekicking game was also problematic as Witt had one kicked blocked and missed a 33-yard attempt.

Shea led the Mavericks with 279 yards passing and 41 yards rushing. Andrew Tippins had three-and-a-half sacks plus 10 tackles to lead the Maverick defense.

Attendance at Blakeslee Stadium was 2,409.

SDSU ends its season with a 6-4 overall record.

The Jacks finish their NCC season 4-4 and in a tie for fourth place with Augustana.

The Mavericks end their season at 4-7 overall and 3-5 in NCC action.