Jacks beat Bison for third straight year


Zoey Schentzel

South Dakota State running back Amar Johnson carries the ball in a Missouri Valley Conference football game against USD at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

Cooper Kanthak, Sports Reporter

The SDSU football team keeps the Dakota Marker and has taken over the No. 1 ranking as the 2nd-ranked defeated the #1 ranked NDSU Bison 23-21 at the Fargodome.

It was the first time these two teams matched up as #1 and #2 in the FCS Poll.

This is the third straight victory in the Dakota Marker series for SDSU and their second win in a row at the Fargodome where NDSU is 47-2 in their last 49 home games, both losses coming against the Jackrabbits.

In a game where NDSU dominated the first half, the Jacks flipped the script in the second half, outgaining the Bison by only allowing 74 yards of offense in the 3rd and 4th quarters.

SDSU outscored the Bison 16-0 in the second half, going ahead on an 18-yard field goal from Hunter Dustman. The Jacks improve to 6-1 on the season while NDSU falls to 5-1.

“It’s really special and I’m so proud of our guys” Jacks coach John Stiegelmeier said. “They came out in the second half, they flipped the switch, they played one play at a time and they had grit. Our (offensive) line stepped up, our backs stepped up, Mark stepped up, and our defense did a phenomenal job.”

The opening drive for NDSU was quick and easy as quarterback Cam Miller connected with wide receiver DJ Hart for a 22-yard touchdown, only taking 3:53 off the clock.

SDSU answered with an impressive drive of their own capped off by a 24-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Davis to tie the game at 7 apiece.

NDSU quickly scored again on a Cam Miller 6-yard rushing touchdown that took just over a minute on the game clock to take a 14-7 lead.

After an SDSU punt, NDSU scored again on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Hunter Luepke to go ahead 21-7.

SDSU would struggle the rest of the half to get anything going on offense, but their defense, however, got a huge stop to halt the Bison’s momentum on an interception from Colby Huerter to go into halftime only down 14 points.

The Jacks received the second-half kickoff and drove down the field and Hunter Dustman kicked a 31-yard field goal to trim the Bison lead to 21-10.

SDSU’s defense got a much-needed stop and forced the Bison to punt. The Jackrabbit offense then drove down the field and on a 16-yard touchdown run from Amar Johnson, cut the Bison lead to 21-17.

The defense forced two more punts that led to two more field goals for Dustman from 38 and 18 yards to take the lead, 23-21.

“We practiced so much throughout the week with kicking field goals and using the punt unit with crowd noise,” Dustman said about the Fargodome crowd noise. “You know your responsibility and your roles and you just go out there and execute.”

The SDSU defense needed one more stop and they got it as they forced the Bison to throw two incomplete passes on 3rd and 4th down to come away with the victory.

Isaiah Davis led the Jacks in rushing with 114 yards and a touchdown. He would end up getting injured in the second half and saw limited snaps but backup running back Amar Johnson stepped up with 89 yards and a touchdown of his own.

“I always tell (Davis) whenever you need me, I’ve got your back,” Johnson said. “So it’s a one-two punch and that’s what we did today. Then when (Davis) went down, I had to finish the game.”

Quarterback Mark Gronowski managed the game well, going 16-21 passing for 152 yards. Jadon Janke led the team in receiving with 7 catches for 83 yards.

The Jackrabbit’s defense was led by Adam Bock with 7 total tackles. Safety Colby Huerter had the games only turnover with an interception late in the second quarter.

Coming up next:

The Jackrabbits head back to North Dakota next week as they take on UND in Grand Forks on October 22nd at 3:00 p.m.