Jackrabbit football season by the numbers

Skyler Jackson, Sports Editor (He/him)

The South Dakota State football team’s hopes of winning its first-ever national championship were ended in the FCS semifinals last month.

After finishing as the national runner-up in the spring season to Sam Houston, the Jackrabbits finished only one game away from making it back to Frisco, Texas with a 31-17 loss to Montana State in Bozeman, Montana.

“These types of things hurt even more because of the lofty goals,” coach John Stiegelmeier told the Argus Leader. “I told the players after the game; this has to hurt. But that’s OK because that meant it was important.”

Despite the loss, the Jackrabbits have accomplished a lot over the past calendar year and put up many historic numbers along the way.

Here’s a recap of the Jackrabbits’ 2021 football season by the numbers.

25 – The number of games the Jackrabbits played in the 2021 calendar year. They played 10 games during the unprecedented spring season, which got postponed due to COVID-19, and 15 in the fall season.

14 – The number of points the Jackrabbits trailed by against Montana State, the largest deficit SDSU faced all season.

2 – The number of points the Jackrabbits lost by in the national title game in the spring season. SDSU had a four-point lead in the game’s final minutes. Then Sam Houston scored with 16 seconds remaining to win the national title 23-21.

It is also the number of coaches the Jackrabbits lost in the offseason. Former offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jason Eck is now the head coach at Idaho. Co-defensive coordinator Brian Bergstrom accepted a head coaching position at Winona State.

3,164 – The number of passing yards Chris Oladokun had last season. The sixth-year grad student transferred to SDSU to replace injured Mark Gronowski and he did not disappoint. He had 25 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions last season.

3 – The number of all-American players the Jackrabbits had last season. Earning first-team recognition on the Stats Perform all-America Team were running back Pierre Strong Jr., tight end Tucker Kraft and linebacker Adam Bock.

4 – The number of passing touchdowns from Pierre Strong Jr. last season. On top of leading the FCS in rushing yards (1,686), Strong was also 4-4 passing, for 62 yards and four touchdowns.

125 – The number of total tackles from all-American linebacker Adam Bock, which was second in the MVFC and tied for ninth in the nation.

217 – The number of rushing yards Isaiah Davis had against UC Davis. In the first round of the FCS playoffs, Davis carried the ball 14 times and averaged 14.5 yards per carry. Despite it being only his second game back from an injury, Davis passed the 200-yard mark for the first time in his career.

329 – The number of career tackles from  linebacker Logan Backhaus. He upped his career total against Montana State, good for sixth all-time at SDSU, passing Mark Huelskamp (128 from 1972-75).

35 – The number of points the Jackrabbits scored in the second quarter against Dixie State. That is the most points SDSU has ever scored in a quarter in program history in the Division I era, dating back to 2004.