BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO)- SDSU celebrated Hobo Day with a 28-10 victory over Southern Illinois, earning the Jacks their fourth straight win. State didn’t get off to a hot start as the Salukis led 10-9 at halftime.
“Our offense did start slow, but I think we have high expectations and when you play good teams, sometimes you’re going to have to make some adjustments to get things going and that’s what our staff did,” SDSU Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.
By the second half, the SDSU offense found their groove, while the defense dominated allowing less than 80 yards as the Jacks outscored the Salukis 19-0 in the third and fourth quarters.
“I think our defense may have played our best game. To hold a team to 1 out of 13 on third down conversions, 215 yards, 60 some yards in the second half. It was a phenomenal effort by our defense,” Stiegelmeier said.
“We’re just really working as a whole unit especially up front for us, we just work as a whole. It doesn’t matter who gets the sack as long as we get there. The back end, they’re doing their job and covering their tail off for us, so we’ve just got to do our job and get home,” SDSU Senior defensive end Ryan Earith said.
SDSU will now prepare to play another tough Missouri Valley conference opponent as they travel to Ohio to face the Youngstown Penguins.
“A well coached football team, a very fast football team and a physical football team. Coach Pelini has coached a lot of good football and he always puts together a good team. Really good on defense and really physical on offense,” Stiegelmeier said.
The SDSU defense has been playing strong, allowing less than 100 yards of rushing per game and holding opponents to less than 12 points per contest.
“We need to win the fight up front and when I say up front, we’re all included in establishing the line of scrimmage, but we’ve got to stop the run and we’ve got to out physical them,” SDSU Co-Defensive Coordinator Brian Bergstrom said.
“They’re a physical group, maybe one of the best o-lines we’ve faced thus fair, with them and Minnesota. So we need to win up front and that’s been a key to what we’ve been talking about all week with the guys, so we’re excited about that challenge,” SDSU Co-Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Rogers said.
The Jackrabbits will have to make a little adjustment as the team hasn’t played a road game in more than a month.
“Well the first thing we need to do is remember how to travel, because we haven’t traveled for five weeks, so get that into our system and go out there thinking one thing. You know we’re not on vacation; we’re going out there to win a football game and then just do our thing,” Stiegelmeier said.
The Jacks travel to Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday to play the Penguins. Kick-off is set for 6:00 and the game can be seen on MyUTV.