BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota State football team is the top seed in the FCS Playoffs. After earning a first round bye, the Jacks return to action on Saturday, when they meet a familiar foe, Delaware.
SDSU’s bye week came in the final week of the regular season. When paired with their playoff bye, the Jackrabbits received a much needed 15 day break.
“I think the biggest thing was not to practice football, but to get away from football. We had two weeks where we only practiced three days and our guys appreciated that,” Stiegelmeier said. “They really appreciated the community feeding us on Thanksgiving and then being able to get home.”
The Jacks will meet Delaware in the second round of the playoffs. SDSU defeated the Blue Hens in the spring of 2021, but now Delaware comes to Brookings with the fourth best scoring defense in the country.
“Eleven guys that are very well coached. I see a defensive line that plays with unbelievable leverage, in terms of taking on blocks,” Stiegelmeier said. “It’s a unique defense, but well coached and again, they play with great technique.”
Patience will be the key against the Delaware defense, who plays similar to an opponent the Jacks played this season.
“When we played Northern Iowa, it was a very similar group and very aggressive and we had to be patient. We took advantage of opportunities that we had. I think that’s the biggest thing,” Stiegelmeier said.
The Delaware offense presents challenges as well. They’re scoring 30 points per game, thanks to an up-tempo approach.
“It’s hard to replicate in practice. That’s the biggest thing. We have our unique methods of doing that, but we’ve always felt that a tempo team will not have as many weapons in terms of plays,” Stiegelmeier said.
SDSU has won ten straight games, dating back September and now they’re looking to continue that success in the postseason.
“In the last game of the season and in this scouting report, we have a picture of our seniors. They don’t get another rep when the game ends, if it doesn’t end in our favor,” Stiegelmeier said. “For me, I’m a people guy so that’s huge motivation to do whatever I can, so those guys get to play football together for another week. I know, based on the culture of our program, our guys feel like that also.”
SDSU and Delaware will cross paths on Saturday, December 3 at 2 p.m. in Brookings. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals on December 10.