Dakota Marker Three-Peat

Jacks beat Bison for the third-straight time, look ahead to UND

Cooper Kanthak, Sports Reporter

The SDSU football team is on the road again this Saturday as they head back to North Dakota to take on UND in Grand Forks at 3 p.m.

The Jacks are coming off to a huge win in the Dakota Marker game as they defeated North Dakota State, 23-21 in Fargo.

It was SDSU’s sixth win of the year and their fourth in Missouri Valley Football Conference play to stay undefeated at 4-0.

The game was a tale of two halves as NDSU came out firing in the first half, scoring three touchdowns in their first three drives and taking a 21-7 lead into halftime.

Adjustments were made and SDSU flipped the game, scoring 16 unanswered points behind three Hunter Dustman field goals and an Amar Johnson rushing touchdown.

The defense stood strong and did not allow any points and only allowed 74 total yards in the second half.

They have defeated NDSU in five out of the last seven Dakota Marker meetings, including winning three in a row.

“Really proud of our football team, they showed me and our fans what kind of team they can be,” coach John Stiegelmeier said.

With its win against the Bison, SDSU is now ranked No. 1 in the FCS poll for the first time in school history. They received 26 of 27 first-place votes in the coaches poll and 51 of 54 first-place votes in the media poll.

“It’s a neat accomplishment, it’s the nation saying, right now SDSU football is the best team at the FCS level,” Stiegelmeier said.

Now they have their sights set on the University of North Dakota.

The Fighting Hawks are 4-2 with a 3-1 record in the MVFC. They have wins over Northern Iowa, Northern Arizona, Missouri State and Youngstown State. Their only two losses are at Nebraska and at Southern Illinois.

About UND:

The North Dakota offense comes in averaging 372.2 yards per game behind quarterback Tommy Schuster. Schuster completes 69% of his passes and has thrown for 1,425 yards to go with eight passing touchdowns.

Running back Tyler Hoosman is the leading rusher on the team with 477 yards on the ground and averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Hoosman also leads the team with seven rushing touchdowns. Isaiah Smith runs well for the Fighting Hawks, averaging 6.8 yards per carry to go along with two touchdowns.

Bo Belquist leads the team in receiving with 34 catches on the year for 396 yards and two touchdowns. Garett Maag also has two touchdown catches along with 21 receptions.

Their defense is led by senior defensive back Kadon Kauppinen who has 36 total tackles on the year. Linebacker Caden White also has 32 total tackles with a team-leading 22 solo tackles. The team defense allows 31 points per game, while they only score 29 points per game.

“UND is a great football program, great football team,” Stiegelmeier said. “You don’t have to get yourself up for this one, this is another tough road trip.”

About SDSU:

The Jackrabbits have been clicking on all cylinders since losing week one to Iowa. They are scoring 26.4 points per game while only allowing 13.4 points to their opponents.

Quarterback Mark Gronowski continues to lead the offense during the winning streak. He is completing 61% of his passes along with 10 passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns.

Running back Isaiah Davis has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games with a team-leading 756 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns on 5.7 yards per carry.

Jaxon and Jadon Janke are the leaders in receiving for the team. Jaxon has 30 receptions for 361 yards and four touchdowns and Jadon has 26 catches for 341 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Zach Heins has hauled in 16 receptions and two touchdowns as well. 

All-American tight end Tucker Kraft, who’s been out with an injury since week one, could possibly come back this week, as he eyes his return to the Jackrabbits.

“Most people would say he’s our best football player,” Stiegelmeier said. “So it would give us three real tight ends to put on the field that are ready to play, which we wanted to do a bunch until we lost (Kraft) in the Iowa game.”

Adam Bock leads the SDSU defense in tackles with 57 total tackles and 31 of them being solo tackles. The Jackrabbit defense has forced an interception in every game this year with Colby Huerter and Cale Reeder each having two apiece to lead the team.

What’s next:

Next week, SDSU returns home to host Indiana State on Hobo Day Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.