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Jacks look to run past Bears defense

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Jacks look to run past Bears defense

MIRANDA SAMPSON (COLOR ENHANCED)

MIRANDA SAMPSON (COLOR ENHANCED)

MIRANDA SAMPSON

MIRANDA SAMPSON (COLOR ENHANCED)

MIRANDA SAMPSON

MIRANDA SAMPSON

MIRANDA SAMPSON (COLOR ENHANCED)

Trenton Abrego

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After facing one of the top defenses in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, South Dakota State will shift its focus to a team that finds themselves in the middle of conference standings.

South Dakota State (5-2, 2-2) will return to Brookings to take on Missouri State (4-4, 2-3) which fields one of the worst defenses in the MVFC.

Missouri State will enter the contest after losing three of their last four games.

Despite their recent struggles, Missouri State opened the MVFC with a win over the then-No. 9 Illinois State Redbirds.

Huslig leads the offensive charge

Sophomore Peyton Huslig leads the Bears offense through the air and on the ground with his feet. Huslig currently leads in the MVFC for total yards (298 per game). This season, Huslig has thrown 12 touchdowns on 140 completions for 1,820 yards. A detriment to Huslig could be his pass efficiency, which ranks as the second-worst in the MVFC.

 

Huslig is also the leading rusher for the Bears. He has 376 rushing yards on 104 attempts and six touchdowns.

“We have played him before, he’s a great competitor, he’s a gritty type,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “He runs like a tailback.”

Through the air, Huslig has a slew of receivers that he’s able to target. There are four receivers that have at least 20 catches for the Bears.

  • Lorenzo Thomas, So., wide receiver, 31 receptions for 466 yards and a touchdown.
  • Jordan Murray, Fr., tight end, 29 receptions for 321 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Tyler Currie, Jr., wide receiver, 27 receptions for 382 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Damoriea Vick, Fr., wide receiver, 21 receptions for 315 yards.

“The receivers are better this year, and they [the coaching staff] are asking him to make more throws,” Stiegelmeier said.

Defensive struggles for the Bears

On the defensive side of the ball, things have gone awry for the Bears this season.

“They love to play a base defense,” Stiegelmeier said. “If you play base defense, you know your weaknesses and how to defend it.”

Missouri State fields a defense that is last in the MVFC for total defense, that’s allowing 473 yards per game. It’s not just in the conference where they rank low. The Bears are the 104th worst total defense out of 124 teams.

Through the air, the Bears are allowing 248 passing yards per game and have intercepted opposing quarterbacks just once.

On the ground, running backs have run wild. Missouri State is allowing 223 yards per game in the MVFC. The defense has also allowed 1,116 total yards on 213 carries and 10 touchdowns.

Steckel finds respect
Missouri State head coach Dave Steckel was hired before the 2015 season. Steckel previously served at Miami (OH), Ball State, Minnesota, Dickinson, Lehigh, Toledo, Rutgers and Missouri.

Since becoming the head coach at Missouri State, Steckel has a 12-29 record.

While his record may not show it, he has earned the respect of at least one MVFC coach.

“I love Dave Steckel,” Stiegelmeier said. “He’s a great man, he’s got great energy.”

The praise from Stiegelmeier didn’t end there.“He doesn’t get a lot, Missouri State, as I hear it and look at budgets and look at his staff and stuff,” Stiegelmeier said. “He’s building a program with not as many tools as some of the rest … he’s got a vision and he’s sticking to it.”

Injury report

Against the Redbirds, the Jacks returned Wes Genant at center. Now, they are just one lineman down. Tyler Weir has been held out of the lineup since an injury against Indiana State on Oct. 6.

At the time of publication, Weir has been upgraded to questionable for the contest against the Bears.

C.J. Wilson is still a way out in his rehab, according to Stiegelmeier.

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Jacks look to run past Bears defense