Staying alive Jacks blank Sycamores 29-0

Justin Harnend Sports Editor


 In the blistering winds at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, the Jackrabbits scolded the Indiana State Sycamores and pulled off their first shutout win since 2010.

SDSU (6-4, MVFC 3-3) defeated ISU (1-9, MVFC 0-6) 29-0 in their home finale in their 2013 campaign keeping their playoff hopes alive. The Sycamores lost their starting quarterback Mike Perish to a concussion in the first quarter thrusting backup Rob Tonyan into the starting role. They combined for a total of 7-of-22 passes for 56 yards. Perish was 2-2 before exiting the game and ISU would not complete another pass until the third quarter.

“Feels good to win for the seniors, special group of guys,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “We’re happy with the win, things weren’t perfect but [in] football they never are.”

The Jackrabbits scored four times in their first five drives of the game. Austin Sumner came out firing in the first quarter as he went 6-6 into the teeth of the wind for 62 yards. Justin Syrovatka got the Jacks on the board with a 32-yard field goal that hit a wall of wind and snuck its way through the of the uprights. 

“I think with the wind, Austin did a great job today passing the ball, O-line did a great job,” Wide receiver Jason Schneider said. “They played the coverage we thought they would so in our scheme it worked out well, we didn’t have to change much during halftime, so I just contribute it to the coaches.”

In their second drive of the game, Zach Zenner bounced out to his left and sprinted to the corner of the end zone 22 yards out for his only touchdown of the game late in the first quarter.

Syrovatka would be the only one to score in the second quarter banging in a 27 and 35 yard field goals to extend the Jackrabbit lead 15-0 at the half. A blocked Indiana State field goal attempt in the second quarter silenced any threat of a Sycamore score as Charles Elmore busted through for the block. Freshman Jesse Bobbit recorded a block of his own getting in front of an ISU punt that resulted in a Syrovatka field goal to end the half.

“You don’t want to give up any points so, when they get in the red zone, you really got to buckle down,” SDSU defensive end Marshall Peugh said. “Whenever you have a big play on special teams you know it’s a big momentum play, so it really worked out good for us.” 

The Jacks sealed the deal after a pair of touchdowns in the second half as Sumner hooked up with Schneider for a 25-yard pass. 

It was a memorable moment for redshirt freshman Isaac Rodriguez, as he rushed 1-yard for his first collegiate touchdown as he finished the day with 57 yards on seven carries. 

“We compete every day,” Stiegelmeier said. “You need to prove it I guess both with your players and to whoever else cares and that’s an example – here’s Reggie Gandy who has a lot of reps and has done a good job and Isaac just keeps competing, it’s not against Reggie – [Isaac] has solidified himself as a guy that is going to have to get leaped now because he did a good job.” 

Sumner passed the 7,000-yard mark for his career completing 16-of-25 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. Schneider was the top receiver catching seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Zenner led the backfield with 137 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown as he reached the 100-yard mark for the ninth time this season and 

Peugh led the SDSU defense with a career-high nine tackles, including a sack. Tory Dibb and Doug Peete both recorded a sack, a career first for Dibb. Jimmie Forsythe also recorded an interception as the defense has forced a turnover in 10 straight games this season.

“I think we did our jobs the entire time,” Peugh said. “I mean for the most part you can always do better but I think we came out, came out good and played.”

Buck Logan led the Sycamores with 70 yards on 20 carries. Riley Tanner recorded three receptions for 24 yards.

The Jackrabbits will drive down to Vermillion on Saturday to face rival USD on Nov. 16 as a part of the South Dakota Showdown Series. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at the Dakota Dome.

“We have never built it up, the rivalry because I think it’s still a little bit foreign but I think the environments going to take care of that when we get down there it will be hostile,” Steigelmeier said. “We’re going to have to play closer to our potential to have to win on the road against the University of South Dakota.”