Jackrabbits golden in nonconference finale

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80 Trevor Wesley Jr WR runs after a catch

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans couldn’t stop the No. 10 ranked Jackrabbits from enshrining their coach into the history books Saturday night at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

John Stiegelmeier surpassed former SDSU football coach Ralph Ginn (1947-68) Saturday night for the most wins in program history with 114 after a 41-3 rout of the Div. III Titans in the Beef Bowl.

Stiegelmeier brought his wife, Laurie, to the post-game press conference and expressed his gratitude towards the individuals he has had the pleasure to work with over the years from presidents, athletic directors, assistant coaches, assistant coaches’ wives, student athletes and everyone in between.

“It’s been a team for Laurie and I, so I brought in my head coach … it’s been a true team, our whole family,” Stiegelmeier said. “I just feel blessed to be a part of the whole deal. Somebody will break the record soon and they should, because so many good things are coming here, and have been created.”

It was the third consecutive win for SDSU (3-1). The Jackrabbits established a 28-0 lead going into halftime. Outstanding Beef Bowl Player of the Game, Zach Zenner and the offensive line generated rush yards in chunks – dictating the first half.

Zenner scored three first half touchdowns while rushing for 172 yards. Zenner would finish the game with 23 carries for 209 yards, playing the first drive of the third quarter before earning the rest of the game off.

“We came out and did what we needed to do – executed pretty well,” Zenner said. “They threw a lot of different looks at us but we came out and did what we needed to do tonight.”

Wide receiver Jason Schneider reeled in a touchdown pass in each half; a 38-yard strike from Zach Lujan in the first quarter and a five-yard touchdown in the third. Schneider led the team with three receptions for 59 yards. Trever Wesley also caught three passes for 42 yards.

On special teams, true freshman J.T. Hassell blocked a punt and senior Auston LaBlance blocked a field goal. The Jackrabbit defense held a shutout late into the fourth quarter.

With two-one-play scoring drives in the first quarter, it was clear SDSU was in control. The UW-Oshkosh coach, Pat Cerroni, was satisfied with the game and had a few kind words for Stiegelmeier.

“You have one of the classiest coaches in college football,” said Cerroni, immediately to start the post-game press conference. “It was a pleasure for him to give us this opportunity and he’s a really good man, and that’s a fact.”

In January, the Jackrabbits were looking to avoid two consecutive bye-weeks. Cerroni mentioned meeting coach Stiegelmeier in Minneapolis for a football clinic where Cerroni said Stiegelmeier convinced him that playing SDSU would be beneficial for both sides.

“[Stiegelmeier] said he has respect for our conference,” said Cerroni, despite being a Div. III program. “He said, ‘you’ll be all right, we played Nebraska, we played Missouri.’ So he made me feel real comfortable of the whole scenario of what the game was going to be. We’re going to take a lot of things away from this.”

The Jackrabbits will get a week off until they begin their Missouri Valley Football Conference slate on Oct. 4 at Illinois State.