SDSU deals defeat, first shutout win since 2010

Robert Myers Sportswriter

 The SDSU football team (6-4, 3-3) dominated all phases of the game in what would become a 29-0 senior day victory over the Indiana State Sycamores (1-9, 0-6). 

The game never seemed as close as the point spread indicated, due to the apparent impotence of the Sycamore offense and the fact that SDSU dominated in virtually every phase of the game. The Jackrabbit offense outgained the Sycamores by over 200 yards, dominating the category 382 to 161. Although the time of possession evened out by the end of the game – 32:31 for the Jacks and 27:29 for the Sycamores – the Jacks controlled the ball for 11:10 in the first quarter, setting the stage for their dominating performance. A one dimensional Sycamore offense proved to stand little chance against a balanced SDSU attack led by junior wide receiver Jason Schneider, a solid running game, and special teams play that clearly benefited the Jacks.

Sycamores grounded

On the Sycamores’ first drive of the game, quarterback Mike Perish suffered a concussion while scrambling for yards along the Sycamore sideline. Freshman Robert Tonyan Jr. replaced him on the field, but never managed to replace his productivity, allowing the Jackrabbit defense to key in on stopping the run. Perish left the game having completed two of two passing for 10 yards. Tonyan completed only one of his first ten passes for negative three yards. He eventually found a little bit of a groove late in the fourth quarter, but ended up completing a meager five of his 20 passes for 46 yards. Senior defensive end Marshall Peugh led the Jackrabbit defense with nine tackles and a sack. 

“Once he went out we really wanted to get out and pass rush on the d-line,” Peugh said. “But you know, you really got to go with what the quarterback’s gonna do, so we did. We geared up for more run. We practiced that. … You just expected it and they did it. They ran the ball a lot.”

Sumner’s favorite target

Schneider has led the Jackrabbits in receiving this year, catching 59 passes for 838 yards and seven touchdowns. On Saturday he once again led the team with seven receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. He accounted for nearly half of the team’s total receptions, 16, and over half of the teams receiving yards, 207. His longest reception of the day came on third quarter touchdown pass from Sumner to put the Jacks up 22-0.

“He just continues do things really really well, especially when Austin scrambles,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “He understands that and it’s like it’s a called route at times because Jason knows where to go, and he’s just a good player for us right now.” 

Now taking the field

Redshirt freshman Isaac Rodriguez is climbing up the depth chart for the Jackrabbits. The young running back brings speed and elusiveness onto the field and could potentially prove a solid change of pace back when Zenner comes off the field. He received seven carries during Saturday’s game and gained 57 yards including a 42 yard breakaway in the fourth quarter and later on his first career rushing touchdown. 

“Isaac just keeps competing,” Stiegelmeier said. “He solidified himself as a guy that he’s gonna have to get leaped now because he’s did a good job.” 

Up and good

The gusty winds wreaked havoc on anything in the air, but with the exception of an early missed extra point by Justin Syrovakna, the SDSU kickers did quite well. For Syrovakna, it was his first missed extra point all season. Entering the game he had made a school record 33 straight extra points to start the season and 48 dating back to last year. Syrovakna bounced back to convert the point after on touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters and also went three for three on field goal attempts, making from 32, 27, and 35 yards out. Indiana State kicker Eric Heidorn had his lone field goal attempt blocked by SDSU’s Charles Elmore.

“We came out and the field goal team, special teams, I thought we played really good today and went out and blocked a field goal,” Peugh said. “Whenever you have a big play on special teams, it’s a big momentum play, so really, it worked out good for us.” 

The Jacks also held the advantage in the punting department. Ethan Sawyer made five punts for the Jacks averaging 42.6 yards. Jordo Strangler made eight punts for the Sycamores averaging only 32.4 yards.