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

Jackrabbit offense stays hot on road


CARBONDALE, Illinois ­– Despite being 766 miles away from home, the South Dakota State football team had no issue moving the ball against the Southern Illinois defense in a 57-38 victory.

It was the fourth time this season that the high-octane Jackrabbit offense eclipsed the 50-point mark.

Even though they eventually found success, it took a while for the South Dakota State offense to truly get going.

On their first drive, the Jacks scored — but their first quarter lead was only as big as seven points. It was the second quarter when the Jackrabbits started to take over.

The Jackrabbits put up 20 points in the second quarter. South Dakota State put up two touchdowns in the last five minutes of the second quarter. After adding two late scores — one of them a one-play, 56-yard drive — the Jacks took that momentum into the second half.

Despite taking a 30-17 lead into the halftime break, the Jacks only had the ball for roughly 11 minutes — compared to the Salukis’ 19 minutes.

South Dakota State ran just 62 plays but gained 656 total yards, which averaged out to a first down per play.

It was the Pierre Strong Jr. show all day for the Jackrabbit’s rushing game. Strong Jr. added 188 yards and three touchdowns on 14 attempts for the Jacks.

Strong Jr. enjoyed good blocking from the offensive line throughout the game.

“All I got to do is make the safety miss, if that,” Strong Jr. said in a post-game radio interview.

Mikey Daniel also had success against the Saluki defense and gained 97 yards on 20 carries. He also found the end zone twice.

But, for the Jacks, it wasn’t just the rushing attack that had it going all day.

Taryn Christion and the wide receivers also had a field day. Christion completed 13 of his 23 attempts for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Christion became the career leader in passing yards in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

“It’s cool to hear about them after the games and stuff,” Christion said. “My mom came up to me after the game and told me, and I was like ‘Oh dang, cool.’”

Cade Johnson was the favorite target for Christion. He had seven catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight end Blake Kunz had a lone catch for 64 yards, the second most on the day for a Jackrabbit receiver.

Adam Anderson had three catches for 36 yards. Jacob Brown had a lone reception for 27 yards.

On defense, the Jacks were led by linebacker Christian Rozeboom, who had 12 tackles. Fellow linebacker Logan Backhaus contributed nine tackles.

Brandon Snyder and Dalton Cox both contributed a sack for the Jacks. Snyder also had an interception for the Jacks.

Despite the valiant efforts by some defensive players, head coach John Stiegelmeier sees room for improvement.

“There are some players who didn’t make tackles, and we need to shore that up before USD,” Stiegelmeier said.

Southern Illinois gained only 541 yards on 20 more plays than the Jackrabbit offense.

Starting quarterback Matt DeSomer had 184 yards, and a touchdown on 16 completions. Sam Straub and Nic Baker also took snaps for the Salukis.

Straub had one completion on three attempts for four yards and an interception.

Raphael Leonard led the way for Saluki wide receivers with 76 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Landon Lenoir had seven catches for 48 yards.

The Saluki offense had 353 rushing yards. D.J. Davis led the way for the rushing charge with 201 yards. DeSomer added 66 rushing yards.

For SDSU, Dalton Cox, Kal Hart, Jordan Brown and Ryan Earith all left the game at one point due to injury.

“None of them are serious (injuries),” Stiegelmeier said. “… But I don’t think none of them are guaranteed back.”

Up next, the Jacks will shift their focus to hosting the in-state rival, the University of South Dakota Coyotes.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *