SDSU drops to 5-4 on road

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The SDSU Jackrabbit football team fell to the eighth-ranked University of Northern Colorado by a score of 28-17 at Greeley, Colo., on Saturday.

The Bears jumped out to a commanding 21-0 lead early in the first quarter, but the Jacks battled back to a 21-17 margin before falling short in the fourth quarter.

UNC got started when SDSU quarterback Dan Fjeldheim was intercepted by Cabel Rohloff on the second play of the game. Runningback Adam Matthews put the Bears on the board two plays later with a 28-yard touchdown run.

After a three-and-out by the Jacks and a short punt into the wind, UNC drove down the field and scored again on a two-yard touchdown run by Matthews.

Another three-and-out gave UNC good field position again. They capitalized again when Mark Passard connected with Vincent Jackson on a 27-yard strike to put the Bears in the lead 21-0 with 6:38 still remaining in the first quarter.

UNC threatened to run away with the game, but two fumbles by the Bears put the Jacks into postion to get back in the game when they capitalized on a one-yard touchdown run by Scott Nedved to trim the deficit to 21-7 early in the second quarter.

Justin Landis then intercepted a Passard pass on the next UNC possession to set up a 23-yard touchdown pass from Fjeldheim to Chris Molitor to bring SDSU within a touchdown.

UNC threatened to add more points before halftime with two drives going inside the SDSU 20, but were thwarted on two unsuccessful field goal attempts, one of which was blocked by Brandon Thiesse. SDSU could not move the ball, resulting in a 21-14 UNC lead at halftime.

The third quarter saw no scoring as both defenses dug in. SDSU then got within striking distance early in the fourth quarter when Keith Witt made a 47-yard field goal to bring the Jacks within four points.

SDSU stopped UNC on the next possession and had driven to the Bear’s 32-yard line when Rohloff once again intercepted Fjeldheim to snuff out the Jackrabbit threat.

The Jack defense held on the next two possessions, but the offense could not manage any first downs and had to punt the ball back each time. UNC then put the game out of reach when Matthews scored his third touchdown of the game, a 39-yard run, to put the Bears ahead 28-17 with only 3:15 to play.

The Bears outgained the Jacks offensively 498 to 273. UNC had four turnovers to SDSU’s three. UNC had a slight edge in time of possession.

Nedved finished the game with eight carries for 31 yards. The Jacks finished the game with 64 net rushing yards.

The Jackrabbit receiving corps were led by Josh Davis with seven receptions for 48 yards, Walter Dosh with 51 yards on six catches and Molitor with four grabs for 65 yards. Fjeldheim finished 25 for-43 for 209 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

The SDSU defensive effort was led by Chris Coauette and Jeff Schultz with 11 and seven tackles, respectively.

UNC was led by Matthew’s 167 yards rushing and Passard’s 300 yards passing.

SDSU’s record fell to 5-4 overall and 3-4 in the NCC. UNC upped their mark to 9-1 and completed their NCC schedule with an 8-0 record, their first perfect NCC season mark.

SDSU will complete its football season this Saturday when they play at Minnesota State, Mankato.

The Mavericks, who enter the game with a 4-6 overall record and a 3-4 NCC mark, are fresh off a 23-17 win against USD at Vermillion. The winner of Saturday’s game will claim a tie for fourth place in the NCC.

Kickoff at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato will be at noon.