Jacks season ends in Fargo

FARGO, N.D.—The South Dakota State Jackrabbits couldn’t repeat their victory against the North Dakota State Bison and were defeated 36-10 on Saturday.

For the Jackrabbits, they jumped out to a 10-0 lead but were unable to put more points on the board, as the Bison scored 36 unanswered.

North Dakota State overtook the momentum on a 20-play drive that lasted more than 12 minutes. On that same drive, the Bison converted on five third downs. Easton Stick capped the drive with a three-yard play action run.

After the drive, the game was changed in a sense of emotion.

“Their best defense was their offense,” Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said about the Bison’s ability to stay on the field. 

The Jacks’ offense sat on the sidelines for most of the game, unable to make a difference in the game. During the drive, the Bison defense used their time to plan against the Jackrabbit offense.

The Bison dominated key team stats in time of possession, third down conversions and turnovers. NDSU doubled the Jackrabbits’ time of possession — they accumulated 40 minutes and 55 seconds of possession time while the Jacks only had 19 minutes and five seconds of possession.

Offensively, the Jackrabbits came into the contest average 458 yards but were stymied again this week because they were only able to muster 192 yards of offense.

For the passing game, Taryn Christion had 155 passing yards on 13 completions and an interception. Christion was able to find his top two receivers, Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke, 11 times for 135 yards. Rushing the ball, the Jackrabbits were led by Kyle Paris who had two carries on 28 yards. Paris had a big 27-yard gain on the first drive that gave South Dakota State momentum.

Goedert had six catches on seven targets for 55 yards but was unable to find the end-zone. Goedert was booed relentlessly from the Fargodome crowd, after the Bison faithful felt he threw a punch.

“I just punched the ball, it was what defense players do and it was just a football play,” Goedert said.

Defensively the Jackrabbits were led by freshman Christian Rozeboom, like they were all season. Rozeboom had twelve tackles and five solo. Jordan Brown managed seven tackles and a tackle for a loss.

Nick Farina came up with a big interception in the third quarter to flip the momentum, but the Bison were quick to re-take the ball as they tackled Brady Mengarelli in the end zone to force a safety. The Bison then took a 16-10 lead.

“I don’t think in terms of our spirit that it affected us,” Stiegelmeier said of the safety.

NDSU Head Coach Chris Klieman thought differently.

“It was a huge play and it made the crowd even more electric,” Klieman said.

On defense, the Jackrabbits weren’t able to get pressure on Easton Stick and only mustered one sack as Cole Langer and Austin Smenda combined. The Jackrabbits managed six tackles for a loss.

The Bison had 52 rush attempts for 302 yards and three touchdowns. The running back by committee was especially effective in this contest as the Bison had three rushers over 75 yards. King Frazier led the Bison and had 101 yards on 15 carries.

“I’m not a big fan of SDSU,” Frazier said.

The Bison will play James Madison next week, while the Jackrabbits see their season come to an end. The Jackrabbits return most of their offensive starters in Christion, Goedert and Wieneke. The Jackrabbits already have high hopes for next year.

“Ideally we will be a better seed in the future,” Stiegelmeier said.