Jackrabbits prepare for SIU in conference opener

KELOLAND.com Original

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – SDSU earned a 43-7 win over Southern Utah to wrap up the final non-conference game of the 2019 season, in which the Jacks finished 3-1.

“I think we played our best football the first game, against Minnesota. We’ve played really well the other three games, but I don’t know if we’ve brought the entire investment and that’s what I challenged our guys to do. We’re going into Missouri Valley football conference, it’s going to be a battle and we need to play like that all the time,” SDSU Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.

Now, the Jackrabbits begin their conference play as they prepare to host 2-2 Southern Illinois.

“Really a lot of skill on their football team. You know their running back is really special. Their secondary is really fast; again when they go wild cat, they become really physical with big guys in the back field, so we just have to be ready for a really good football team and again, we’re number three in the nation so they’re going to try to come in here and play their best football,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jackrabbits and Salukis have met eight times in the past ten years. SDSU has won six of those games, including last year’s 57-38 win in Illinois.

“Last year, I don’t know how many yards we rushed for, I think Pierre had close to 200 and I had a hundred and so I think we’re going to be able to run the ball. That’s kind of what we have to do and I think that’s the staple of our offense,” SDSU Senior Running Back Mikey Daniel said.

“We’ll do the same thing we’ve done. They’ve given up a lot of big plays and I think those are mistakes, not scheme wise and so ideally we get the 5, 6, 7 yard run over and over,” Stiegelmeier said.

The SDSU offense is averaging 35 points per contest through the first four games, and a lot of that can be accredited to the rushing offense that has ran for over 240 yards per game.

“I think we’re definitely going to have to run the ball. Last game, we had a bye week last week so two weeks ago, our running game really stepped up,” Daniel said.

“Our coach has been preaching we’ve got to score more. We haven’t scored enough points overall as an offense, so we just got to start executing in the red zone and on third down, we’ve got to start executing,” SDSU Sophomore Running Back Pierre Strong Jr. said.

The Jackrabbits will look for their fourth straight victory and they are keeping their focus on the field.

“I think just come out and we talk about do your 1/11th. Those eleven guys on the field, if they do their job and do it the way we’ve done it and maybe a little bit better every play and every week, we’ll be fine,” Stiegelmeier said.

SDSU hosts Southern Illinois on Saturday. Kick-off is set for 2:00 and the game can be seen on MyUTV.

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