Avera

Keaton Heide steps up following injury to Gibbs

KELOLAND.com Original

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO)- SDSU earned a dominating 35-14 win over Missouri State. Saturday’s win for the Jackrabbits marks the sixth straight win against Missouri State.

“Excited to get the win, on the road, in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. I think we can play a lot better in some phases, I’m disappointed in the two turnovers, but there was a lot of positives,” SDSU football coach John Stiegelmeier said.

One of the positives for the Jacks was on offense. The Jacks managed to score 35 points with true freshman Keaton Heide at quarterback, who was making his first career start.

“After I kind of relaxed and got more comfortable in there, I mean we could really throw the ball whenever we wanted too, the offensive line did a great job blocking and then we established a super good run game in the second quarter,” SDSU freshman quarterback Keaton Heide said.

When Heide came to SDSU, his plan was to redshirt, however after J’Bore Gibbs went down with a knee injury against NDSU, Heide’s name was called.

“After a couple drives with Kanin (Nelson), my coach radioed down to me and said ‘Keaton, you’re up next,’ so in my head, I’ve got just a million things racing through my mind, but I just got ready, calmed myself down and then it was go time,” Heide said.

Heide would lead the Jackrabbits to their only touchdown of the game, however the Jacks would fall 23-16 to the top ranked Bison. Despite a loss to NDSU, the Jackrabbit coaching staff liked what they saw from Heide.

“You know, I think he throws the ball really well, he’s very mature and we felt he was ready for that big of a stage and he proved that as he made some good decisions in the game,” Stiegelmeier said.

“We think he has room to keep improving and getting better and I think he did some good things against Missouri State and we keep hoping he’ll make some increased gains,” SDSU offensive coordinator Jackson Eck said.

The Jackrabbits have been considered an FCS title contender all season, and Heide doesn’t think that will change, with him as quarterback.

“That was one of the first things that coach Eck said to me and coach (Zach) Lujan, is they can see me leading them to a title and I have full confidence in my team and me that we can get it done,” Heide said.

Heide and the Jacks will now turn their attention to Illinois State, who SDSU has defeated in three of the last four meetings.

“Really well coached team, defensively they love their base defense, they’re not going to give you a lot of looks, or at least we haven’t seen that on film. How can we beat them? We’ve got to execute, you know they’re going to be good players. It’s the Missouri Valley, they’re ranked in the top fifteen and we’ve got to come play our best football,” Stiegelmeier said.

“It comes down to execution, ball security, and finding a way to get the ball to our best players and get it into their hands and let them make some one on one plays,” Eck said.

SDSU and the fourth ranked Jackrabbits will host the twelfth ranked Illinois State on Saturday. Kick-off is set for 2:00 and a recap of the game will be posted to KELOLAND.com on Saturday night.

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