The SDSU football team advanced to the FCS quarterfinals with a 51-6 rout of Duquesne, and will head south to play Kennesaw State on Saturday.
After scoring the lone points of the first quarter on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Taryn Christion to Cade Johnson, SDSU extended its lead over Duquesne to 24 by halftime, and then the snow moved into Brookings.
“The wind was blowing, it was cold, it started snowing during the game. It really felt like our guys really embraced it, honestly. It didn’t affect us. I don’t know how it affected Duquesne, but our guys embraced it,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said.
The Jackrabbits rushed for over 300 yards in the 45-point win, including a career-best 100 yards and two touchdowns from Brookings native Mikey Daniel.
“Mikey’s a good football player. He’s best inside the tackles, but he made a great play on the outside by leaping over their corner on the one play, but he’s going to get those tough yards when needed,” Stiegelmeier said.
The fifth-seeded Jacks will play at number four Kennesaw State in the quarterfinals. It’ll be a contrast of styles, as the Owls will attempt to milk the clock with their triple option offense, but have big play capability.
“Most of the time that happens out on the edge. They get out there, they cut the pitch player and they’re off to the races. We’re going to work hard on the pitch, we’re going to work hard on ushering the ball to the end block players. But again, this is all they do, they don’t care what we do on defense because they’ve got an answer for everything. We have to do our thing on defense,” Stiegelmeier said.
Slowing the Owls starts with quarterback Chandler Burks, who leads the FCS with 29 rushing touchdowns.
“I would sum him up as a gritty football player. He’s going out on the edge, pitching the ball, getting hit, but I tell you what, when he gets close to the goal line he makes plays,” Stiegelmeier said.
After advancing to the semifinals last year, SDSU is playing in the FCS quarterfinals for a third straight season.
“I’m proud of our program, I’m proud of the student-athletes we have, I’m proud of how hard our coaches work and how they mentor the young men. My dad taught me on the farm, work hard, good things happen, good things happened,” Stiegelmeier said.
The Jackrabbits and Owls cross paths Saturday in Kennesaw, Georgia, near Atlanta. Kickoff is set for 1:00 central time.