The South Dakota Showdown Series will head to the Dana J. Dykhouse stadium for the first time in its existence.
South Dakota State (6-3, 5-1) has climbed the FCS STATS Polls once again, to No. 11. While South Dakota (4-5, 3-3) finds themselves around the .500 mark in conference play, which hasn’t been done in program history.
The Jackrabbits are winners of the last seven meetings and have not dropped a contest to the Coyotes since 2000. The Jackrabbits also lead the rivalry series, which started in 1889, by a mere game with the record sitting at 52-51-7.
For South Dakota State, in their last contest they ran over the Missouri State Bears by a score of 49-24. In that contest, the Jackrabbits running game impressed as four different running backs combined for six touchdowns.
Defensively for the Jackrabbits, they allowed two big plays for 129 yards. While allowing the other 58 plays for the Bears went for 207 yards.
“Our defense played really really well except for two plays,” said Head Coach John Stiegelmeier.
The Coyotes are coming off another close defeat against the Southern Illinois Salukis by the score of 35-28. Close games have been a theme for them as seven of their nine games have been decided by seven points or less. Six of those seven games have been decided by three points or less.
In the recent loss, the Coyotes’ junior quarterback Chris Streveler, who transferred from Minnesota, threw 219 yards for two touchdowns and two interceptions. On the ground, Streveler had 19 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore running backMichael Fredrick also found the end zone, as he had seven carries for 72 yards.
The South Dakota Showdown Series fields the two highest scoring offenses in the Missouri Valley Conference, as the Jackrabbits have averaged 37.6 points per game and the Coyotes average 31.9 per game.
For the Coyotes, they are balanced on offense as they average close to the same amount of yards both on the ground and in the air.
Streveler is second in rushing in the Missouri Valley and is third in total offense in the conference. Senior running back Trevor Bouma is fifth in the conference for average rushing yardage.
Defensively for the Coyotes, they have struggled throughout the year and have allowed 35.9 points per game along with 463.6 yards per game.
The defense for the Coyotes is led by a pair of linebackers in senior Jet Moreland and sophomore Alex Gray. They are also led in the secondary by senior Tyson Graham and sophomore Danny Rambo
Another Coyote who finds himself on the conference leaderboards is junior defensive end Taylor Lambert, who has three and a half sacks, and eight and half tackles for a loss.
For the Jackrabbits, if they win out on they will be champions of the Missouri Valley. Stiegelmeier isn’t looking ahead though, and is adamant on keeping their focus on this week and going 1-0 against the Coyotes.
The junior receiving duo of Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke continue to set records as the tandem went for 100 yards last week, the sixth occasion of the year.
Currently, Jake Wieneke is tied with Dedric Ward with 41 career touchdowns. With a touchdown catch in this contest, Wieneke could become the holder of the league career record.
The Britton native was recently added to the Walter Payton Award watch list.
For the Coyotes, the newly hired, Bob Nielson has his football team sitting at 4-5, 3-3 in MVFC.
Nielsen has seen success in his other coaching jobs, as he has two NCAA D-2 National champions under his belt.
“He’s a proven coach,” said Stiegelmeier.
So for the Jackrabbits, they feel like if they play their own game they will walk out of Dana J. Dykhouse needing one more victory for the conference title.
“It’s going to be a battle,” said Stiegelmeier.