With their hats and mittens on and blankets in hand, South Dakota State University fans braved the cold to supports their jackrabbits in the Football Championship Subdivision playoff game against Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
Some fans, like current SDSU students Allison McElDowney and Autumn Gross cut their Thanksgivings break short to come to today’s game.
“We just came back one day early, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal at all,” McElDowney said.
“Yea we are going to have to come back tomorrow anyways, so why not come back to go to the game,” Gross said.
Others like Matt Tollefson and his family, wouldn’t have missed this big game on the gridiron. He traveled three hours from Mankato, Minnesota to see it.
“I would not miss it for the world,” Tollefson said.
As ticket after ticket was swiped, even the youngest jackrabbit fans waited in line to watch a piece of history. Saturday’s game is the first ever playoff game the jacks have hosted.
And despite the cold, fans couldn’t wait to see the outcome, but they didn’t want to get too far ahead of themselves, taking advice from a man on the field.
“Coach Stig always talks about one week at a time. But if we do play NDSU, I think we will beat them. It was close the first time and we’ll beat them,” Tollefson said.
And fans say having this playoff game in Brookings, means great things for their school.
“We’ve small town Brookings, but I feel like we are making big town news with our athletics, so it’s exciting,” McElDowney said.
“Well I think for football, just recruiting wise, being in the playoffs, it’s going to help for sure. I hope we get some top talent and if they realize that we have a chance at the playoff every year, hopefully it’ll come and just for the general student body I hope it’s exciting to be in the playoffs too,” Tollefson said.
And although ticket lines weren’t record breaking, fans didn’t seem to mind. They were ready to cheer on their jacks anyway.