Football falls, ready to bounce back against Bears

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SDSU Jackrabbit beat Youngstown before their loss to Illinois State.

The five game winning streak is over for the South Dakota State football team, after they fell to Illinois State by a score of 38-21. They will now shift their focus to the Missouri State Bears. 

The Jackrabbits (5-3, 4-1) have fallen six spots and out of the Football Championship Subdivision top ten following their first conference loss, and are now ranked No. 13.

Costly mistakes plagued the Jackrabbits in the loss, as they lost the turnover battle. Both quarterbacks turned the ball over. Sophomore Taryn Christion threw three interceptions and the Redbirds’ sophomore quarterback Jake Kolbe lost a fumble.

“We played some good defense, and really good offense at times, but there was some terrible officiating at times,” Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said in his radio show. 

In the loss, history was made for standout wide receiver Jake Wieneke. 

Finishing with 10 receptions for 173 yards made him the all-time leader for the Jackrabbits in career reception yards. Wieneke leads the entire FCS with 14 touchdowns, higher than any receiver in all of the NCAA.  

Dallas Goedert turned in another 100 yard performance in that game, as the tight end went for 11 catches and 108 yards. 

It will be another Missouri Valley Conference game that looks to be a vital win for the Jackrabbits to stay in first place.

The Missouri State Bears (4-4, 2-3) are coming off a 38-35 come-from-behind victory against the Southern Illinois Salukis.

Senior quarterback Brodie Lambert threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions in that contest. Lambert ran for 51 yards, and had a 46 yard run in that game. The Missouri Valley Conference recognized his performance and deemed him the Offensive Player of the Week.

“It’s always nice winning awards, but I’m not the only guy on the field. There’s ten other guys out there doing their jobs,” said Lambert of the honors, in a press conference. 

The offensive line has been particularly great for the Bears as they have only allowed nine sacks all year. 

In the win against the Salukis, Zac Hoover had five receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns, coming up with a spectacular catch that ended up on SportsCenter. 

Malik Earl is a receiver for the Bears that Lambert likes to target. The junior receiver averages 4.6 receptions per game for 57.7 yards which is good for seventh in the conference. 

Junior wide receiver Deion Holliman is a top return man in college football and is second in kick return average. Holliman is also sixth in the conference for all-purpose yards.

“He’s scary and we are going to have to contain him,” said Stiegelmeier in his radio show. 

Defensively, the Bears are led by the leading tackler in the MVFC, Dylan Cole. Cole is a senior linebacker who has recorded 99 tackles this year, which has landed him third on the FCS leaders. 

The Bears also have Junior Cody Isbell, a defensive lineman second in the MVFC with 11 tackles for a loss.

South Dakota State leads the series 7-1 all-time against the Bears, and have never lost in Brookings. 

Despite the Jacks losing to Illinois State, the Bears don’t seem to be overlooking them.

“The Jackrabbits are an unbelievable team, they are really well coached and John (Stiegelmeier) does a great job with those guys,” said Dave Steckel, Missouri State head coach. 

The Missouri State Bears have improved over the last year, as they went 1-10 last season.

“You can see their progress, and the belief in their players, and my concern is they get better every week,” Stiegelmeier said in a MVCF coach teleconference.  

The other first place teams, Youngstown State and North Dakota State were both beaten by the Jackrabbits and will play each other in Fargo. 

Kick-off is slated for 2 p.m. at the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. “We need people there to support the Jacks, we have a chance to make history here,” Stiegelmeier said.