FRISCO, Texas (KELO) — For the first time in program history South Dakota State football is playing for the FCS National Championship. The Jackrabbits will meet Sam Houston Sunday afternoon for the title down here in Frisco. Now the the Jacks have fallen short in the semifinals two times prior, but finally got over the hump with a resounding 33-3 victory over Delaware in the semifinals. But getting to Frisco is only part of the mission.
After sour endings in each of their previous two trips to the FCS Semifinals, the third time proved to the be charm for SDSU.
“It was a pretty emotional moment when we won the semifinal game. That we finally punched a ticket to Frisco,” Offensive Lineman Wes Genant said.
The Jackrabbits won’t have to watch the game from their couches this time around.
“It’s given me motivation every single year to watch those games and not be playing in them. So this year it’s going to be a surreal experience for me,” Linebacker Logan Backhaus said.
Thousands of football players have donned the Jackrabbit jersey, and this trip to Frisco can be credited to all those who helped pave the way for this year’s team.
“I’ve had a lot of guys message me on Instagram or Facebook or stuff like that, saying they’re going to try to make their way down to Texas. Old players, they’re supporting us the entire way. And I feel like it’s really important for us as team to keep building on the legacy that they left us,” Backhaus said.
Head Coach John Stiegelmeier says he’s heard from former players, SDSU alums, and South Dakotans during this run.
“Much of the state of South Dakota is excited about what’s going on with the Jackrabbits. So it’s humbling, rewarding and we just need to finish it now,” Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.
Going 1-0 every single day has been SDSU’s mentality this season, and they’ll look to finish their first trip to Frisco with that same approach.
“We’ve been so close so many times and now that we’re finally there, we might as well and go win the darn thing,” Genant said.
SDSU and Sam Houston kickoff Sunday at 1:00. Make sure to tune into SportsZone Saturday where we’ll not only breakdown the matchup, but introduce you to some of the players and people behind SDSU’s run to Frisco.