Notebook: SDSU blasts Butler, receiving corps impresses

Justin Harned Assistant Sports Editor

 In the Jackrabbits’ first regular season game of the highly anticipated 2013 campaign, there were some questions surrounding who would step up for SDSU at wide receiver. Your answer: Jason Schneider. 

A career night in which he will never forget, the 6”5’ 220 pound junior out of Andover, Minn., racked up 167 yards on 10 receptions scoring two touchdowns for the Jacks Saturday night as SDSU went on to roll over the Butler Bulldogs 55-14.

“I got plenty of experience the past two years,” Schneider said. “I was just playing football. Just going out there and playing to the best of my ability.”

While Schneider stood out as the only receiver to record over 100 yards, the rest of the wide receivers played a significant part as a supporting cast. Tight end Cam Jones had a solid performance with three catches for 97 yards helping spread the Bulldog secondary. The sophomore will prove to be a big-bodied threat going forward. Overall, it seemed to be a great night to be a Jackrabbit as Brandon Hubert caught five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Andrews caught three passes for 24 yards and a touchdown.

Convincing performances

While the new look receiving corps exceeded expectations, so did Austin Sumner. The junior quarterback finished 22-32 for 326 yards with three touchdowns. Despite a good performance, the humble quarterback claims he was a little “rusty” in the first half. Sumner is on pace to break the all-time career passing yards record for SDSU (Ryan Berry 6,023). He is currently in sixth place at 5,151 yards after his performance Saturday night at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in front of a crowd of 9,729.

“[I was] rusty in the first half, just fundamental stuff, real stupid stuff,” Sumner said. “Too many incompletions in the first half … overall good first start, a lot of work to do.”

• SDSU’s Zach Zenner didn’t keep Jackrabbit fans waiting for long as he busted out for 75 yards on just two plays swiftly giving the Jacks a 7-0 lead. Although Zenner started out quickly, he slowed down throughout the rest of the game finishing with 117 total yards and two touchdowns, gaining just 42 yards on 14 carries following his first two runs. Head coach John Stiegelmeier believes the heat may have played a part in slowing down the All-American running back.

Takeaways: Week one

• Life can be rough as a kicker on any football team. Standout performances on special teams are quickly blanketed when an offense has a stellar performance in a blowout victory. Jackrabbit kicker Justin Syrovatka was another bright spot in Saturday night’s contest, as he became the SDSU all-time leader for the most consecutive field goals successfully made at 14.

• Backup quarterback Nate Meyer stepped into the game with just two minutes left in the third quarter and finished 3-3 passing for 32 yards and his first career touchdown to Brandon Andrews on a seven-yard pass. It was also Andrews’ first touchdown of his career.

• The defense played well, allowing the Bulldogs to score midway through the first quarter to tie the game up at seven. After establishing a tempo, the Bulldogs only managed one more score late in the 3rd quarter to finish with 14 points.

“To be a great defense you got to want it,” linebacker Charles Elmore said. “Today was a great stepping stone and gives some guys some confidence. It was a great day for everyone.”

• Je Ryan Butler intercepted a Wade Markley pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, while Tom Pietz and Doug Peete also recorded interceptions of their own. Charles Elmore recorded three tackles for loss and seven solo tackles that led the defense.

“Tip your hat to South Dakota State, they’re a really good football team and showed it tonight,” Butler head coach Jeff Voris said. “They forced us into some errors. I don’t know what else to say, they played well in all three phases.”

• Stiegelmeier praised Butler as a great institution, saying he would love to play them again in the future.

“I got a lot of respect for Butler’s football program … talking with them and getting to know their program, their school, I would love to have those guys get into the playoffs and maybe have a chance to play them again,” Stiegelmeier said. “Not because of this score but because I just have a lot of respect for them and it was a good win for us. I expect that we’ll correct the errors and come back a better football team next weekend.”