SDSU and USD scored a combined 88 points in their home openers over the weekend en rout to capturing co-offensive player of the week awards in the conference.
South Dakota State needed a fake field goal attempt to beat Montana State 31-27 in Bozeman, Montana last season. Things went much differently on Saturday in Brookings as the Jackrabbits jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 45-14 win over the Bobcats.
“After watching Montana St., I feel they’re a really good football team and I don’t know what that says about us but we played really well, especially in the first half, had some neat individual performances,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said.
Sophomore Cade Johnson is responsible for one of those outstanding individual performances after tying an SDSU single-game record with four touchdown catches from senior quarterback Taryn Christion.
“He just puts the balls right where they need to be and he makes it easy on all of us. All of us receivers can testify to that and say that I mean that he’s a great player,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s performance earned him co-offensive player of the week honors in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with South Dakota junior quarterback Austin Simmons.
Simmons powered the Coyotes to their first win of the season, 43-28 over Northern Colorado by tallying 542 yards of total offense, including a career high 462 yards through the air.
“I think he’s a guy as I’ve said early on that’s going to keep getting better every week and I certainly think he got better,” USD head coach Bob Nielson said.
Simmons also was also the game’s leading rusher with 80 yards on the ground.
“It wasn’t really something that I thought about a lot or really emphasized too much but just if that’s what they’re going to give to you then take it,” Simmons said.
“He’s very intense, very focused young man and you know happy to see him have the kind of game he did,” Nielson said.
The Coyotes will try for another offensive outburst in a top-25 showdown at Weber State on Saturday, as will the Jacks who host Arkansas-Pine Bluff.