Jacks look to ride momentum after winning Dakota Marker


South Dakota State quarterback #3 Taryn Christion runs with the ball to escape NDSU #63 Aaron Steidl in the Dakota Marker game Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota. SDSU won 19-17 and brought the Dakota Marker back to Brookings for the first time since 2009.

TRENTON ABREGO Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State football team will be playing in their 103rd Hobo Day Game Saturday, Oct. 22.

“It’s really special this year because it will be the first Hobo Day game at the new stadium, so hopefully we can do our job and win and the fans can fill the stadium,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jacks will be taking on the Youngstown State University Penguins. The teams are in a tie atop the Missouri Valley Football conference with records of 3-0 in-conference play. They are also both coming off of comeback conference victories. The Jacks are fresh off a huge win over top-ranked North Dakota State and took back the Dakota Marker trophy.

The seventh-ranked Jackrabbits only led for one second in the game — the last second. Jake Wieneke caught a two-yard pass with one second left to put the Jacks on top by a score of 19-17. After a two-point kneel down and the kick off, the clock hit zero and the Dakota Marker made the journey back to Brookings for the first time since 2009.

Sophomore quarterback Taryn Christion was named the STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Bison. Christion accumulated 444 total yards of offense. He rushed for 141 yards and threw for 303 yards. He was also named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.

“He’s a good player, he’s a multi-threat guy that can beat you with his arm and legs,” Penguins Head Coach Bo Pelini said of Taryn Christion.

Christian Rozeboom led the defense and won the Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Week. Rozeboom led the team with 12 tackles and a sack. The Jackrabbits will look to get another big performance from their redshirt freshman.  

This coming matchup offers two teams who get it done in two different ways. The Jackrabbits have the highest scoring offense and lead the conference in total offense, while the Penguins have the highest scoring defense and lead in total defense.

The high-powered offense for the Jacks is averaging 40.7 points per game, while the Penguins stout defense is averaging only 15 points allowed.

Youngstown State, which is ranked 13th in the media poll, is the only college football program that hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown. Against FCS opponents, the Penguins are averaging 4.8 sacks per game. They have the best pass defense in the MVFC and allow an average of 174.8 yards per game.

The Penguins also have the best rushing offense in the MVFC. On the ground, they average 258.8 yards. Senior running back, Martin Ruiz has seven touchdowns in six games and averages 82.3 yards per game.

“He [Ruiz] can hit when he runs so we just have to be sound and stay patient,” Stiegelmeier said.

Junior quarterback Ricky Davis is also averaging 59 rushing yards per game. Davis went down with a knee injury last time against Northern Iowa. Pelini expects him to play this weekend, though.

YSU is led defensively by senior defensive ends Derek Rivers and Moss Avery. Savon Smith is also a defensive tackle that leads the Penguins. Rivers ranks second in the conference for sacks, while Avery ranks third and Smith ranks eighth.

“The defensive ends are really special, we just have to keep them on edge,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jackrabbits will look to take care of the ball and keep the turnovers to a minimum, which has been a standard this year. Youngstown State has a turnover margin of minus four, which is the worst in the conference, while South Dakota State has the second best margin at plus seven.

Pelini, the former University of Nebraska-Lincoln head coach, took over in 2015 and has a 10-7 record with the program. The lone loss for the Penguins in the current year came against a FBS opponent in West Virginia.

SDSU is 59-38-5 in Hobo Day games, but have lost three in a row on Hobo Day. SDSU leads the all-time series 11-6 and have won seven of their last eight meetings. The Jacks are 2-0 this season when facing ranked opponents.