This was a tough week for Jackrabbit fans. SDSU lost to Youngstown State on Hobo Day 30-27. The Jacks' record now stands at 5-3, with a 2-2 mark in Missouri Valley Conference Play.
To me, this felt a lot like the Southern Illinois game last year (a contest the Jacks lost 27-24, ironically enough, on Hobo Day). SDSU played well in several respects, but big plays and more importantly, timely plays from the opposition seemed to do them in.
Youngstown State converted a 3rd & long deep in their own territory on a running play late in the half. Coach John Stiegelmeier told us earlier this week that he thought that play signified their intention to let the half run out and punt. Instead, the Penguins converted a couple of big plays after that and got a touchdown with just seconds remaining before halftime. That's deflating for any team, but it gave Youngstown State a lead they would never relinquish.
In our SDSU-Tube video blog below, Tom Nieman and I dissect the Hobo Day loss and look ahead to NDSU:
As for that Dakota Marker showdown on Saturday, it's going to be a tall task. NDSU is obviously the cream of the crop in the FCS, having won 32 games in a row. I think the biggest key for SDSU will be in the trenches. In four Missouri Valley games, Zach Lujan's been sacked 19 times, while the Jackrabbit defense has only recorded 4 sacks themselves. I know the offensive line is beat up a bit, but honestly, with Lujan's ellusiveness, that sack number should be near the mid-20s. The line has to protect and the defense has to get pressure on Bison QB Carson Wentz.
In another SDSU-Tube video blog, we talked with Brian Shawn, the play-by-play voice of the Bison to get his thoughts on the matchup:
I'll be in Fargo on Saturday getting highlights. We'll see how the Jacks respond and break it all down for you next week on Jackrabbit Journal.