South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Jacks look for first conference win at home

After losing to the top-ranked North Dakota State Bison, South Dakota State football looks to bounce back in a home matchup against the Indiana State Sycamores.

Since the last meeting in 2015, the Jackrabbits are 26-11 while the Sycamores have struggled at 8-24. But as SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier often stresses, nothing is certain in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC).

Indiana State (2-2) is in a rebuilding stage during its second year under head coach Curt Mallory. The Sycamores, who went winless a season ago, won two of three nonconference games to begin the 2018 season.

Despite their success outside of the MVFC, it hasn’t translated into conference success yet. Last Thursday, the Sycamores were blanked by the Northern Iowa Panthers 33-0.

“They’re giving [Mallory] a chance at Indiana State and he’s responded, so it’s going to be another tough Missouri Valley conference battle,” Stiegelmeier said in his weekly press conference.

Through four games, Indiana State is running the ball on more than 75 percent of its offensive snaps. The Sycamores have gained 999 yards on 208 rushing attempts compared to 466 yards on only 68 pass attempts.

“I think there’s real strength in saying ‘this is our personality as a program and we’re going to win this way, this year, this game’ and they are dedicated to [running the football],” Stiegelmeier said.

In both of Indiana State’s victories, the Sycamores surpassed 325 yards rushing. In each of their losses, the team failed to gain more than 175 yards on the ground.

Last week against the Bison, the Jackrabbit defense gave up 207 rushing yards. Defensively the Jacks will need to solidify the run defense in order to slow down an Indiana State offense that heavily favors the run and returned four offensive linemen with starting experience from a year ago.

“It’s just another Missouri Valley team,” redshirt freshman defensive tackle Krockett Krolikowski said. “Every offensive line in the Missouri Valley is pretty good. If we just come out this week, read our keys, do our job and come out low and physical we’ll be alright.”

If the Jackrabbit defense is able to limit the effectiveness of the Sycamore running game, they will force a passing game that hasn’t recorded a touchdown through four games.

For the high-octane SDSU offense, blocking the Indiana State defensive line will be crucial to create holes for SDSU senior running back Isaac Wallace and the other running backs will be crucial in Saturday’s game.

On defense, the Sycamores return two reigning all-MVFC linebackers in Jonas Griffith (second team) and Katrell Moss (honorable mention).

“I’m impressed with their defense,” Stiegelmeier said. “I’m impressed with how well they run and it’s hard to outnumber them and get a hat on everybody.”

Since the Jacks and Sycamores first met in 2008, the two teams have faced off eight times with SDSU holding a 6-2 advantage in the series including four consecutive victories. The last win for the Sycamores against the Jacks came on Oct. 1, 2011.

Kickoff for the 2018 Hall of Fame Game is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 6 from Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings.

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