SDSU has advanced to the FCS quarterfinals for a second straight season, and will host unseeded, but 20th-ranked New Hampshire on Saturday.
Since losing to Northern Iowa on Hobo Day, SDSU has reeled off 6 straight wins including avenging that loss to the Panthers in the FCS Playoffs this past Saturday. The Jacks say that loss and the schedule since has helped them get to where they are now.
"It's been playoffs since that game against UNI, because if we were going to get a top 8 seed we had to win out. Every single week, Coach E always talked about, our offensive coordinator, having the right mindset. Right when you step off the bus, right when you step on the field that you're going to try and do everything you can to win this game every single time," Senior RB Brady Mengarelli said.
For Mengarelli and the rest of the senior class, Saturday's win not only advanced them to the quarterfinals but brought an unexpected surprise, another home game.
"Finding that out at the end of the game last week just brought a unique energy to our football team because you thought Central Arkansas is probably going to win and we're going to be on the road. So it was like a Christmas present to be honest with you and we've had great practices because of that," Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.
When the Jackrabbits take the field Saturday, they'll have to adjust to the weather. Against UNI temps were in the mid 50's, this week it's forecasted to be in the 30's, but the Jacks say it gives them the advantage.
"This week's going to be a little colder but it's still not going to be too bad. We practiced outside a little bit yesterday and we're all pretty energetic, hooting and hollering. We kind of like it. It's fun playing out in the cold. We embrace it, we're from South Dakota we're use to is," Senior Offensive Lineman Jacob Ohnesorge said.
"That needs to be our advantage and it will be our advantage as it always is. We have a really great record, South Dakota State does in cold games," Mengarelli said.
The Jackrabbits and Wildcats kick off at 2:00 Saturday.
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