In must win spot, SDSU finds a way

Marcus Traxler Editor-in-Chief


 Simply, it was the one win SDSU had to have. 

Not because it was USD for an opponent, although the Jacks wanted to avoid a loss for that reason as well. But because it melded all of the things that SDSU aspires to be in what’s left of this season. 

The Jackrabbits converted on third downs and put together its developing passing game for one of its best games of the year. SDSU continued to run the ball with effectiveness and Zach Zenner recorded his sixth straight game with at least 100 yards and a touchdown. The defense allowed USD to pass to Terrance Terry but mostly held down the rest of the Coyote gameplan and visibly frustrating coach Joe Glenn because the Yotes couldn’t run the ball at all.

It keeps the Jackrabbits in the 


 playoff hunt for one more week and it’s a third straight win, all of them coming with the playoffs in balance. Now, SDSU at least looks like a playoff team again.

For as high of hopes as SDSU had at the beginning of the season, missing the playoffs would have been – and still would be – a true letdown. While the Missouri Valley is certainly a good conference, it’s only going to get two spots in the expanded playoffs and maybe a third if SDSU wins Saturday and the selection committee still likes the Penguins enough. That’s not a lock at all, especially since the Guins would be headed for the playoffs with three straight losses in that instance. 

SDSU’s season was headed firmly down the drains when the Jackrabbits walked off the field on Oct. 5, losers of a Hobo Day debacle against Southern Illinois by a 27-24 final score. At that point, now losers of their last three straight and at 3-3 overall, they got another win before losing at Missouri State.

But his team has rallied, moving with three straight wins, including the 27-12 nailbiter at the DakotaDome, that was in doubt longer than most blue and yellow clad fans would have liked. It wasn’t until Winston Wright intercepted a Kevin Earl duck of a pass and crossed the width of the field, leading a yellow caravan to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown. With it, the Jacks’ first win in Vermillion since the last Division II game in 2003 was secured. 

The win was gutty and resilient. Get a key field goal blocked? Make a stop with your senior linebacker for a sack. Inexplicably give the ball back on a fumble two plays later? Have your senior cornerback intercept the pass and house it for six points. 

This is the territory SDSU needs to be in annually now. With a new stadium in the works and a playoff game last year, the Jackrabbits couldn’t have afforded a 5-7 or 6-6 season. A 7-5 finish would occur if SDSU can’t pull it out Saturday but they could be commended for a fight to the finish. 

And the next step for the program includes making a run in the playoffs into the quarterfinals. Maybe this team has it, maybe not but I can’t say they’ve shown it in the first 11 games of the season. 

Saturday would be a good time for the Jacks to play their best, as SDSU puts its season on the line again in eastern Ohio. It’s a win SDSU simply has to have.