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Jacks open season against FBS opponent, Iowa State

MIRANDA+SAMPSON%0AAug.+18%2C+the+SDSU+football+team+scrimmages+on+their+last+day+of+fall+training+at+Dana+J.+Dykhouse+Stadium.+The+team+opens+their+season+on+Sept.+1%2C+at+Ames%2C+Iowa+again+the+Iowa+State+Cyclones.+
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Jacks open season against FBS opponent, Iowa State

MIRANDA SAMPSON
Aug. 18, the SDSU football team scrimmages on their last day of fall training at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The team opens their season on Sept. 1, at Ames, Iowa again the Iowa State Cyclones.

MIRANDA SAMPSON Aug. 18, the SDSU football team scrimmages on their last day of fall training at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The team opens their season on Sept. 1, at Ames, Iowa again the Iowa State Cyclones.

Miranda M. Sampson

MIRANDA SAMPSON Aug. 18, the SDSU football team scrimmages on their last day of fall training at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The team opens their season on Sept. 1, at Ames, Iowa again the Iowa State Cyclones.

Miranda M. Sampson

Miranda M. Sampson

MIRANDA SAMPSON Aug. 18, the SDSU football team scrimmages on their last day of fall training at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The team opens their season on Sept. 1, at Ames, Iowa again the Iowa State Cyclones.

Trenton Abrego

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Preseason ranked No. 3, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, will kick off their season in Ames, Iowa where they will face off against Iowa State, in hopes to reverse fortunes against Football Bowl Championship (FBS) opponents.

The Jackrabbits have historically struggled against FBS opponents and own a 1-8 record against the higher division. The lone win for the Jacks came in 2015, when they topped the Kansas Jayhawks 41-38.

That victory has stuck in the mind of head coach John Stiegelmeier, even if the majority of players that contributed in that win are not on the roster anymore.

“I felt good through our guys. I try to step back and live through them, it was exciting,” Stiegelmeier said. “The hug from my wife felt better after that game than some of the other ones.”

Seniors Brady Hale and Isaac Wallace are the only players who contributed in the box score and are still on the squad.

Last year was the first year since 2008 that the Jackrabbit football program didn’t travel to an FBS school to take on their football team.

“We just couldn’t get it scheduled, some teams won’t play you, some teams their schedule doesn’t fit with ours,” Stiegelmeier said. “One of the hardest things at South Dakota State is to schedule a football game.”

But this season, SDSU found an opponent in ISU.

Looking at ISU, with key wins over Oklahoma and TCU, the Cyclones will return most of last year’s standouts.

One of those standouts is junior running back, David Montgomery, who ran for 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Montgomery has proven he’s elusive and hard to bring down. Last season, he led the nation with 109 missed tackles.

“You want to have more than one guy on him, don’t forget the basics, where you focus your eyes,” Stiegelmeier said. “You’re not going to get a hit on him, so grab cloth.”

Senior quarterback Kyle Kempt will return for the Cyclones and has been on multiple preseason watch lists like the Manning, Unitas and CFPA National Performer of the Year.

Kempt threw for 1,787 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.

“We have to disguise our coverages really well and do our job,” Stiegelmeier said.

Defensively, ISU plays an unconventional style. 

“They play a unique defense, the first time we will see it and probably the first time we will coach against it and the last time we’ll coach against it,” Stiegelmeier said.

ISU plays a defense where they will rush three men while leaving zones open for the short passing game. 

The unique defensive scheme worked for the Cyclones last year, when they averaged an allowance of 21 points per game.

“We just have to be willing to take the five-yard throws,” Stiegelmeier said.

For the Jacks, that might be exactly what they want as they will be without their top deep-receiving threats from last season, Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke. 

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Jacks open season against FBS opponent, Iowa State