SDSU buries Western Illinois


Snowflakes, Sumner’s six 

TDs bombard Western Illinois

Against Western Illinois on Saturday, the Jackrabbits set a record for most yards and points scored since joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008.

The then No. 19-ranked Jackrabbits (7-4, 4-3) set season highs on the frozen tundra that was Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, defeating the Leathernecks 59-24. Meanwhile, the Leathernecks fall to 4-7 overall and 2-5 in the MVFC.

“I am proud of every phase of our football game, of our football team,” said head coach John Stiegelmeier during the post-game press conference. “Hopefully we did some things to maybe have the chance to play some more football down the road.”

Quarterback Austin Sumner threw for 366 passing yards and a career-high six touchdowns, setting a school record. Benefactors of Sumner’s passes on offense included freshman Jake Wieneke and senior Jason Schneider who combined for 17 receptions, 273 yards and five touchdowns.

“I thought Austin Sumner may have played his best game ever,” Stiegelmeier said.

Wieneke set the single-season touchdown record with 14, passing Jeff Tiefenthaler (1985). Wieneke hauled in three touchdown passes against WIU while also reaching 100 yards receiving for the sixth time this season. Stiegelmeier said that Schneider and Wieneke cheer for each other and that it’s a “neat relationship.”

“When you have Jake [Wieneke] and Jason [Schneider] on the field at the same time it puts a lot of pressure on defenses,” Sumner said. “When they’re one-on-one, they’re always open.”

Walter Payton Award candidate Zach Zenner darted for a 67-yard touchdown run on the first play of the Jack’s second drive in the first quarter, passing the 6,000-yard mark for career rushing. Zenner also became the first player in program history to rush for 1,500 yards in three consecutive seasons while also rushing for more than 100 yards in his 30th career game.

Zenner carried the ball 17 times for 132 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Zenner also netted a 40-yard touchdown reception.

Sophomore safety Nick Mears led the team with 12 tackles on defense.

Sumner finished the afternoon completing 21-of-37 passes for 366 yards and six touchdowns.

Despite an icy layer of snow on the field, the Jackrabbits amassed a season-high 547 yards. The Jacks prepared for WIU by immersing themselves into the cold weather, practicing outside on Wednesday and Thursday before the game for 50-60 minutes.

“It’s Jackrabbit weather,” Stiegelmeier said. “As we walked out (to take the field), the guys were talking about the Youngstown [State] game. That’s the mentality.”

The No. 15 Jacks will close their regular season at home against USD Saturday Nov. 22 in the Showdown Series. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadiu