South Dakota State Preview: #7 Jackrabbits Host Missouri State
There are three types of people who really look forward to the month of November: turkey lovers, Black Friday shoppers, and South Dakota State football fans.
Jackrabbit fans have seen their team dominate the eleventh month of the year during SDSU's current playoff run, which dates back to the 2012 season.
During that time, South Dakota State is 16-3 in regular-season November games; 9-0 at home. The November home regular season win streak currently stands at 11 games, with the last loss coming in 2010.
Saturday (November 3) with a seventh straight post-season berth and a second consecutive top-eight seed still very much in reach, the Jackrabbits host Missouri State, in Missouri Valley Conference action.
Three weeks ago, the Bears (4-4/2-3 MVC) had already won more games this season than they did in all of 2017 (3), but they are coming in after back-to-back home losses to Western Illinois and Southern Illinois.
Quarterback Peyton Huslig leads the Missouri State offense. The junior is a dual threat with his arms and his legs which the Jackrabbit defense found out last season when he ran for 123 yards against them.
Four different receivers have 20 or more catches for the Bears this season.
Missouri State is also the second-best team in the Missouri Valley when it comes to converting on third down (43%), but the Bears are next to last in turnovers with 11 interceptions and eight lost fumbles.
Defensively, MSU gets after opposing quarterbacks with 21 sacks in eight games. End Matt McClellan and tackle Claudio Martin are both in the top ten in the league in sacks with 12 between them.
Linebackers McNeece Egbum and Angelo Garbutt are in the top ten in tackles in the Missouri Valley, but stopping the run has been a problem for the Bears in 2018. They are last in rushing defense in the conference allowing 222 yards per game.
On special teams, Missouri State averages 23 yards per kickoff return and is the only team in the Missouri Valley to return a kickoff for a touchdown so far this season.
Kickoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Brookings.
The Jackrabbits (5-2/3-2 MVFC) roll into November on the heels of a big 38-28 win on the road at #11 Illinois State, last Saturday (October 27).
SDSU scored on a 64-yard Taryn Christion to Adam Anderson on the first drive of the game and then watched as the Redbirds tied it on their first play from scrimmage - an 81-yard touchdown pass.
Later in the first half, South Dakota State had a drive thwarted with a pick in the end zone, but the defense got the ball right back after forcing a three-and-out.
In the last five minutes of the first half, that same Jackrabbit defense would force a pair of Illinois State turnovers as Xavier Ward and Seven Wilson each recovered fumbles inside the Redbird 20-yard line.
The SDSU offense converted both of those opportunities into touchdowns and then added another score just before intermission when Christion found Cade Johnson for an 81-yard touchdown to make it 28-7 at the break.
The biggest story of the game with SDSU's ability to shut down one of the top runners in all of FCS, Illinois State's James Robinson. The Valley's third-leading rusher was averaging 130 yards a game coming in, but the Jackrabbits held him to just ten yards on 13 carries.
The win kept SDSU at number-seven in the latest FCS Top 25.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach John Stiegelmeier about the Illinois State win and the match-up with Missouri State: