SDSU squeaked out another win Saturday night as the Jackrabbits continue to demonstrate ball security and forced six turnovers upon Southeastern Louisiana.
It was a stellar night for 5-11 redshirt freshman from Tucson, Ariz., Dallas Brown. In his first start for the Jackrabbits the linebacker managed to come away with two interceptions late in the fourth quarter taking one of them back to the house for 52 yards in what seemed to be the game clinching touchdown score until SLU returned a kick to keep the game close.
“There is a lot of things I need to work on still,” Brown said. “When my number is called again I need to play in the present and focus on the next play.”
The Jacks struggled all night long on special teams giving up 192 yards in five returns. SULA didn’t seem to have any troubles picking up yards on offense as they piled up 506 total yards keeping the Jackrabbits on their toes. The one common denominator this season has been SDSU’s ability to push their opponents into making a mistake while the offense has limited theirs and has kept the ball away from their opponent’s grasp. With Charles Elmore’s absence Brown’s number was called, the next man up, he helped deliver the Jacks first 3-0 start since 2009. Brown’s second interception came at the expense of Bryan Bennett a former back-up quarterback for the Oregon Ducks, the final interception by Brown ended the game with just over a minute left in regulation.
“A win is a win,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said with a chuckle. “We needed to play championship level football. Which means those big plays, the turnovers, penalties, mental errors, and we excelled in this game in that area. That won us a football game, that wins a lot of football games – so proud of our guys.”
A tipping point for SDSU
Perhaps one of the biggest moments of the night belonged to strong safety Andrew Brown after he recorded an interception of his own, deep in Jacks territory, preventing a possible score for Southeastern Louisiana just four minutes into the fourth quarter. The interception by Andrew Brown may be easily overshadowed by Dallas Brown’s game ending pair of picks, at the time of Andrew Brown’s interception SDSU did not own a threatening lead. They only led by one-point, which could have been a tipping point in the game for SLU.
“Must have been great for the fans, wasn’t great for us,” Southeastern Louisiana head coach Ron Roberts said. “The pick six really kind of changed it into a two position game. But I was proud of our kids the way we were able to bounce back there and get the kickoff return, it was the best of two heavyweights sluggin’ it out.”
SDSU caused four turnovers alone in the fourth quarter and that is a trend the team wants to continue on the road next week in Lincoln, Neb. when they take on the Cornhuskers on the road proving to be the biggest task of the regular season.
Showing the big guys some love
In football it’s easy to forget the most obvious and important part of the game, blocking. Without it, an offense doesn’t stand a chance. The Jackrabbit offensive line did a great job blocking for Zach Zenner and Austin Sumner, but the defense they were facing in SLU made it hard to do much and exploited that in the first half.
“The o-line did a great job, I thought all night, sometimes it looked like they weren’t but I was holding on to the ball because it was a good defense we were facing,” Sumner said. “The fat boys did a great job.”
Zenner continues his dominance
It’s no secret, it has been a trend dating back to last season, Zach Zenner runs, catches, and scores. It’s not hard to see that Zenner constantly beats up on opposing defenses game in and game out, without him the Jackrabbits are in trouble. It was another solid performance was contributed by the junior running back going for just under 200 all-purpose yards and scoring three rushing touchdowns. He racked up 132 yards rushing off 17 attempts and 60 receiving yards off three receptions. He sparked the Jacks on a key drive by catching a wide open pass out of the backfield trotting 59-yards on their first play of their fifth offensive drive.