BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — SDSU and USD have played 114 times, dating back to 1889 when the two teams played to a 6-6 tie. On Saturday, the two in-state opponents are set to renew their rivalry in Brookings.
USD and SDSU first met on the gridiron 133 years ago, but last year’s game may top the list for unique finishes, as the Coyotes won via a Hail Mary.
“That was kind of like the icebreaker of a game, where if we lose that game, we might not get in the playoffs. Obviously, we were able to squeak that one out,” Carson Camp said. “It definitely gave us confidence. I think it honestly gave us confidence going into this year too, because that’s a team we beat. We hung with them for most of the game.”
SDSU won the first seven matchups at the Division I level, but USD has answered with back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2021.
“We’ve had a number of games here over the course of the past few years, that have come down to the wire. You would expect that when you get two really good football teams together,” Bob Nielsen said.
The 2021 spring matchup was cancelled due to COVID-19. That means the rivalry will return to Brookings this year, for the first time since 2018.
“I’m excited to play at home, whoever it is. I love home games. I love our crowd. I love our stadium,” John Stiegelmeier said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
While there are plenty of weapons to watch for on offense come Saturday, both coach Nielsen and coach Stiegelmeier are preparing for tough defenses.
“It’s a defensive football team that you’ve got to block. You’ve got to block. You’re going to have to break tackles to move the football with consistency,” Nielsen said.
“They’re going to play with really great technique. They’re going to be in the right spot and you have to physically beat them,” Stiegelmeier said. “You have to make the unblocked player tackle you for a four yard gain, because he’s going to be there.”
SDSU owns a 4-1 record, compared to USD who sits at 1-3, but records don’t always tell the story, when two rivals cross paths.
“There’s always a little extra for this game, not just within the football team, but obviously within the community,” Nielsen said.
The Jacks and Yotes will cross paths on Saturday in Brookings.
Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. and you can follow along with the action with our Live Blog on KELOLAND.com.