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    SDSU FB: Jackrabbits set to host YSU on Hobo Day

    The South Dakota State University football team will be in search of reversing a recent trend on Hobo Day as it hosts Youngstown State in its annual homecoming game Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

    Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.

    The Jackrabbits enter Saturday's matchup with a 3-1 overall record, including a 1-1 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. SDSU has attained its highest-ever ranking in a Football Championship Subdivision poll, checking in at No. 2 in the latest STATS FCS media poll. In addition, SDSU is fifth in the poll conducted by the American Football Coaches Association.

    Youngstown State, meanwhile, also is 1-1 in league play after pulling out a 17-14 home victory over Southern Illinois last week. Overall, the Penguins have posted a 2-3 overall record.

    SDSU has dropped four of its last five Hobo Day games, including a 38-18 setback to Northern Iowa last season. One of the other losses was a 30-27 decision to Youngstown State in 2014 at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

    The last Jackrabbit victory on Hobo Day was a 24-10 win over Youngstown State on Oct. 22, 2016, in what was the first homecoming game to be played at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. That contest drew a Hobo Day-record crowd of 17,730.

    THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 20th meeting on the gridiron between SDSU and Youngstown State, a series that dates back to the 1942 season. The Jackrabbits hold a 12-7 series advantage on the strength of winning eight of the 10 matchups between the two programs as members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

    In last season's matchup, Sept. 30, 2017, at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio, the Penguins dominated the line of scrimmage in recording a 19-7 victory in the MVFC opener for both teams. The game was a clash between two teams ranked in the top five at the time - SDSU was ranked fourth and Youngstown State fifth.

    YSU's Tevin McCaster paced a ball-control offense with 183 rushing yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. The Penguins rushed for a total of 310 yards and possessed the football for more than 45 minutes, taking control after SDSU tied the game at 7-all early in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Taryn Christion to Jake Wieneke.

    HOBO DAY HISTORY: Since a 6-3 victory over Yankton College in the first-ever Hobo Day game in 1912, the Jackrabbits have gone on to compile a 60-39-5 record in their homecoming games. While the records show 104 Hobo Day games, there have been 106 Hobo days. There was no game in 1918 during World War I and in 1943, the game was between two Army special training teams from campus.

    The Jackrabbits' longest run of success on Hobo Day came in those early years, posting a 10-1-1 record in the first 12 Hobo Day contests. SDSU also put together another success string between 2003 and 2012, when the Jackrabbits won nine of 10 Hobo Day games. The only loss in the more recent span was a 46-44, triple-overtime loss to McNeese State in 2008.

    ELITE COMPANY: South Dakota State is one of only four Football Championship Subdivision programs to reach the playoffs each of the last six seasons.

    The three other programs to play in the postseason each year since 2012 are New Hampshire, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State. 

    RABBITS RANKED: South Dakota State entered the 2018 season with its highest-ever rankings in a Football Championship Subdivision poll, checking in at No. 3 in both the STATS FCS media poll and AFCA FCS Coaches' Poll. It marked the fifth time in six years the Jackrabbits have entered a season with a top-10 national ranking in the Football Championship Subdivision, surpassing their No. 4 ranking in the 2017 STATS FCS Preseason Poll.

    Defending national champion North Dakota State continues to hold the top spot in both national polls, while the Jackrabbits this week attained their highest-ever ranking in a Football Championship Subdivision poll by climbing to second in the STATS FCS media rankings. SDSU stands fifth in the poll conducted by the American Football Coaches Association.

    SDSU has now appeared in the top 25 of 85 consecutive media polls dating back to October 2012.

    CAPTAINS: Leading the Jackrabbit football team on the field and in the locker room are four captains:

    • Jordan Brown, Sr., cornerback, Scottsdale, Arizona;
    • Taryn Christion, Sr., quarterback, Sioux Falls;
    • Dalton Cox, Sr., linebacker, Aberdeen, and
    • Christian Rozeboom, Jr., linebacker, Sioux Center, Iowa.

    Christion and Rozeboom are each in their second seasons as captains.

    TOP OF THE CHARTS: The Jackrabbits enter the week leading the Football Championship Subdivision in team passing efficiency with a rating of 223.81. SDSU quarterbacks have combined to throw for 18 touchdowns and only one interception, while averaging 11.9 yards per pass attempt.

    In addition, SDSU ranks second in the following offensive categories:

    • Scoring offense, 51.5 points per game;
    • Completion percentage, .718, and
    • Total offense, 579.3 yards per game.

    STIG FOR 150: South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier reached another coaching milestone when he recorded career win No. 150 in the Jackrabbits' 90-6 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sept. 15.

    Already the career wins leader at SDSU, Stiegelmeier has guided the Jackrabbits to a 151-98 career mark (.606 winning percentage) in 22 seasons. The Jackrabbits have turned in a winning record in 17 of his 21 full seasons and made seven Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances.

    Saturday's game will mark Stiegelmeier's 250th game as Jackrabbit head coach.

    REWRITING THE RECORD BOOK: With its 90-point outburst Sept. 15 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, South Dakota State broke a 96-year-old scoring record. The previous mark of 85 points was set against Columbus College in 1922.

    The Jackrabbits also set new team standards for total offense (926 yards), passing yards (557) and passing touchdowns (8). Individually, Chase Vinatieri set a school record by kicking 11 extra points.

    FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Six different Jackrabbits scored their first collegiate touchdowns in the Sept. 15 rout of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

    Freshman tight end Blake Kunz opened the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown reception on SDSU's first drive of the game, while Adam Anderson followed with a 31-yard touchdown reception later in the first quarter for his first collegiate score.

    In the second half, running backs Pierre Strong Jr. (66 yards) and C.J. Wilson (37 yards) found paydirt on screen passes, with Blair Mulholland (14-yard run) and Michael Wandmaker (76-yard reception) closing out the scoring.

    BIG-PLAY ISAAC: Isaac Wallace has continually broken off big runs this season, scoring three touchdowns on runs of 50-plus yards.

    For the season, Wallace ranks second among Football Championship Subdivision players with an average of 9.39 yards per carry, gaining 413 yards on only 44 carries. His first three touchdowns this season covered 58, 79 and 61 yards, while his fourth rushing touchdown of the season was a 2-yard run in overtime that lifted the Jackrabbits to a 54-51 victory over Indiana State on Oct. 6.

    Wallace ranks fifth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and 21st nationally with an average of 103.3 rushing yards per game.

    TOP RECEIVING TANDEM: The duo of Cade Johnson and Adam Anderson have emerged as the top receiving tandem in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the first half of the 2018 season.

    Each has recorded consecutive 100-yard games this season, with Johnson leading the league with an average of 102.8 receiving yards per game and seven touchdowns.
    Anderson, a junior who ranks second in the league with an average of 93.2 yards per game, hauled in a career-high eight catches in the Sept. 29 game at North Dakota State and recorded his first career multi-touchdown performance with two scoring catches Oct. 6 versus Indiana State.

    JOHNSON TIES RECORD: South Dakota State wide receiver Cade Johnson became the latest Jackrabbit to tie the SDSU single-game record for touchdown receptions when he scored four times Sept. 8 against Montana State.

    Don Bartlett originally set the record with four touchdown receptions against North Dakota State in 1949. That mark went unmatched for 67 years until Dallas Goedert caught four TDs against Western Illinois in 2016 and Jake Wieneke scored on four pass plays in the 2017 season opener against Duquesne.

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK: South Dakota State University kicker Chase Vinatieri was honored Oct. 7 as the Missouri Valley Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Jackrabbits' victory over Indiana State a day earlier.

    A junior from Sioux Falls, Vinatieri kicked two field goals and scored his second career touchdown as part of the Jackrabbits' 54-51 overtime win at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. Vinatieri scored on a 15-yard run on a fake field goal attempt in the third quarter, then kicked field goals of 30 and 27 yards later in the second half.

    His two field goals upped his career total to 28, passing his uncle, Adam (27 field goals from 1991-94), for fifth place in program history.

    Chase Vinatieri also scored on a fake field goal (31 yards) last season at Montana State. It is the third time in his career that Vinatieri has earned the weekly award.

    BALANCED ATTACK: South Dakota State totaled 500-plus yards of total offense for the third time this season in its Oct. 6 overtime victory over Indiana State, but did so without a 100-yard rusher or receiver. Three running backs - Pierre Strong Jr., Isaac Wallace and Mikey Daniel - all ran for at least 70 yards, with Strong leading the way with 95 yards on only six carries.

    The Jackrabbits' 20 receptions were spread among eight different players, with Kal Hart and Adam Anderson leading the receiving corps by each tallying four catches for 57 yards.

    TAKEAWAY STREAK: A fumble recovery by Dalton Cox in the third quarter of the Jackrabbits' 54-51 overtime victory against Indiana State on Oct. 6 extended SDSU's streak of forcing at least one turnover to 19 consecutive games.

    In those 19 games, the Jackrabbits have come out on the plus side of turnover margin eight times and have been even with their opponent on six other occasions. The most turnovers the Jackrabbits have forced during its current streak is five, which came in their 33-21 victory over North Dakota State last season.

    For the season, the Jackrabbits are plus-6 in turnover margin, forcing eight turnovers (five interceptions, three fumbles) and committing only two turnovers in 264 offensive plays. SDSU?is tied for fourth in the FCS?ranks for fewest number of turnovers.

    VALLEY PREVIEW: For the second year in a row, South Dakota State was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference race.

    The Jackrabbits finished second behind defending league and Football Championship Subdivision champion North Dakota State, which garnered all 39 first-place votes from a panel that included head coaches, sports information and media. The Bison tallied 390 points, followed by SDSU with 340 and Northern Iowa with 270.

    Youngstown State (258) and Illinois State (248) rounded the top half of the 10-team field.

    In addition, the Jackrabbits were well-represented on the preseason all-MVFC team.

    On offense, quarterback Taryn Christion and kicker Chase Vinatieri were selected to the first team.

    A senior from Sioux Falls, Christion posted his second consecutive season with 4,000 yards of total offense in 2017, passing for 3,515 yards and gaining another 500 yards on the ground as SDSU reached the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for the first time in program history. Christion accounted for 44 touchdowns by passing for a school-record 35 touchdowns and scoring nine more times on the ground.

    Christion was named MVFC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 and was a second-team all-MVFC honoree last season.

    A junior from Sioux Falls and a fellow Roosevelt High School graduate, Vinatieri connected on 13-of-14 field-goal attempts and 58-of-62 point-after tries during the 2017 campaign. He added a rushing touchdown on a fake field goal to finish with 103 points.

    Vinatieri was a member of the all-MVFC Second Team a year ago.

    Sophomore Cade Johnson led the Jackrabbit contingent on the second team by being honored as both a wide receiver and return specialist. A native of Papillion, Nebraska, Johnson ranked third on the squad last season with 23 receptions, tallying 318 yards and three touchdowns. He also set an Jackrabbit single-season record for kickoff return yardage with 839 yards, averaging 28 yards on 30 attempts, and became the first SDSU player in more than 50 years to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season.

    Also honored on the preseason second team were junior fullback Luke Sellers and sophomore long snapper Bradey Sorenson.

    100 FCS WINS: South Dakota State recorded its 100th win as a Football Championship Subdivision program with a 62-30 victory at Missouri State on Oct. 21, 2017. Since moving to the FCS ranks at the start of the 2004 season, the Jackrabbits have posted a 108-65 overall record (.624 winning percentage).

    SDSU has turned in a winning record in 12 of 14 full seasons and has compiled a 56-26 mark (.683 winning percentage) in Missouri Valley Football Conference games.

    BLOCK THAT KICK: Defensive tackle Xavier Ward picked up where the Jackrabbits left off in the special teams department, blocking a Montana State extra-point attempt in the 2018 season opener.

    In 2017, SDSU ranked sixth in the Football Championship Subdivision with six blocked kicks.

    CHRISTION EYES ANOTHER RECORD: After setting the SDSU career passing yardage record last week, Jackrabbit quarterback Taryn Christion is poised to add another record to his collection in Saturday's Hobo Day contest.

    A senior from Sioux Falls, Christion enters has tallied 10,819 yards of total offense in 39 career games, putting him within 133 yards of the Missouri Valley Football Conference record of 10,952 yards by Illinois State quarterback Matt Brown from 2009-12.

    Christion already holds the MVFC career mark for passing touchdowns with 87, following a five-touchdown performance Oct. 6 against Indiana State. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 16 consecutive games dating back to the 2017 season.

    Also in the game against Indiana State, Christion took over the SDSU?career lead for passing yardage, ending the night with 9,597 yards as he moved past Austin Sumner (9,458 yards from 2011-14). Christion also slid into the second spot on the MVFC?career passing yardage charts, again trailing Brown's 10,591 yards.

    Christion is on pace to establish new Jackrabbit career highs in a couple other passing categories by season's end. His 690 career completions trail the 737 set by Sumner, and his 1,126 pass attempts are 141 behind Sumner's 1,267 attempts.

    In addition, Christion's average of 277.4 yards of total offense per game is well ahead of Sumner's mark of 211 yards per game. Christion also holds seven SDSU single-season records and five single-game marks.

    Christion, who has thrown 15 touchdown passes and only one interception this season, currently leads the Football Championship Subdivision in passing efficiency at 205.2. His 15 touchdown passes and .709 completion percentage both rank second.

    After passing for four touchdowns and running for another in the 2018 season opener versus Montana State, it marked the 16th time in Christion's career he accounted for scores both through the air and on the ground in the same game. Last season, he passed and rushed for touchdowns in the same game seven times.

    Christion once again appears on the initial watch list for the 2018 STATS FCS?Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the subdivision's top offensive player. He has been a two-time finalist for the award, placing seventh in the balloting in 2016 and sixth last year.

    CHRISTION A CAMPBELL SEMIFINALIST: Jackrabbit quarterback Taryn Christion was recently named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top collegiate football scholar-athlete.

    The list of 179 semifinalists will be pared to a list of 12-14 finalists on Oct. 31, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Class. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 29th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

    Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a grade-point of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is made up of a prominent group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

    SDSU?has had three football student-athletes honored as members of the National Scholar-Athlete Class in the past decade:?Ryan Berry (2008), Zach Zenner (2014) and Jake Wieneke (2017).

    PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: South Dakota State University linebacker Christian Rozeboom and cornerback Jordan Brown were tabbed as members of the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team. Both players also received preseason first-team all-MVFC?recognition.

    A junior from Sioux Center, Iowa, Rozeboom was selected to the first team after posting his second consecutive 100-tackle season for the Jackrabbits in 2017. Rozeboom registered a team-high 127 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss, notching 10 or more tackles in seven of the team's 14 games. Also on the initial watch list for the STATS?FCS?Buck Buchanan Award for the subdivision's top defensive player, Rozeboom added three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions to earn a spot on multiple postseason All-America teams a year ago.

    Brown, a senior from Scottsdale, Arizona, earned third-team recognition on the preseason All-America squad. In earning first-team all-MVFC honors last season, he tallied team bests of nine pass breakups and three forced fumbles, while ranking second in both tackles (72) and interceptions (3).

    JACKRABBIT BLOODLINES: Several South Dakota State football players have strong family ties to South Dakota State Athletics.

    Quarterback Taryn Christion's mother, Heather, played volleyball at SDSU and fullback Turner Blasius' father, Justin, was an NCAA Division II national wrestling champion in 1994.

    In addition, linebacker Dalton Cox's father, Doug, wrestled for the Jackrabbits in the 1980s, while his younger brother, Colton, is a redshirt freshman on the SDSU baseball team.

    Sophomore kicker Chase Vinatieri is the nephew of former Jackrabbit and current Indianapolis Colts standout kicker Adam Vinatieri. Chase Vinatieri made 13-of-14 field goal attempts last season to lead the nation in field goal percentage (.929), and entered the 2018 season with a string of nine consecutive made field-goal attempts. In the Jackrabbits' playoff victory over Northern Iowa last season, Vinatieri made a career-best three field goals, including a career-long 55-yarder in the second quarter.

    Newcomer Logan Busch's father, Mike, played quarterback at SDSU from 1984-85 and ranks in the Jackrabbits' all-time top 10 for passing yards and touchdown passes. His older brother, Landon, was a pitcher on the Jackrabbit baseball team in 2015 and 2016.

    Three sets of brothers are on the 2018 Jackrabbit roster: Jordan and Jacob Brown, Brandon and Jaden Snyder, and identical twins Jadon and Jaxon Janke.
    Brandon Snyder joined the SDSU football program at the start of fall camp as a graduate transfer from Iowa.

    JACKS IN THE PROS: With the regular season under way, three former South Dakota State University football standouts are currently featured on National Football League rosters, continuing the Jackrabbits' long tradition of developing players into pro prospects.

    Headlining the list is Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts, who established a new NFL career record for field goals Sept. 30 against Houston and enters with week with 568 in his 23-year career. Currently the oldest player in the NFL at age 45, Vinatieri holds 13 other NFL records, including 20 100-point seasons.

    Considered one of the most clutch kickers in NFL history, Vinatieri's career totals include 568-of-674 on field goal attempts, 84.3 percent, and 2,523 career points. He ranks second in career scoring - 21 points behind leader Morten Andersen (2,544 points from 1982-2007) - and fourth in career extra points (819).

    After two Pro Bowl selections (2002, 2004), he left New England following the 2005 season as the team's career scoring leader with 1,058 points. In 2015, he became the first player in NFL?to score 1,000 points for two different teams.

    Also continuing his NFL career is offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann. A member of the Jackrabbits from 2010-13, Witzmann earned a starting role with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. However, he released by the Chiefs at the end of training camp and has since been signed by the Minnesota Vikings. Witzmann previously spent time with Houston, New Orleans and Dallas.

    Making his professional debut recently was tight end Dallas Goedert. A two-time All-American, Goedert became the first Jackrabbit selected in the NFLDraft in eight years as he was a second-round pick by the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. The Britton native caught one pass for four yards in a season-opening win over Atlanta on Sept. 6, then scored his first NFL touchdown Sept. 23 as part of a seven-catch, 73-yard performance against Indianapolis. For the season, he has caught 12 passes for 106 yards with the one score.

    Former Jackrabbit running back Zach Zenner began the 2018 season with Detroit, but has since been released after playing in 28 games over three full seasons with the Lions.

    During a highly decorated career at SDSU from 2011-14, Zenner became the first player in the history of Division I football to rush for 2,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

    Also in their first training camps this summer were 2017 All-Americans Jake Wieneke (Minnesota Vikings) and Jacob Ohnesorge (Dallas Cowboys). Neither made the final roster for their respective teams and is awaiting other professional opportunities.

    DANA J. DYKHOUSE STADIUM: Jackrabbit football moved into a new home in September of 2016 with the completion of Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

    The stadium, which was constructed in phases on the site of SDSU's previous home field, Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, seats 19,340 spectators and cost $65 million to build. The stadium is being funded through private gifts and long-term revenue streams, including concessions and suite, loge box and ticket sales. Bonds are financing nearly two-thirds of the project's construction, with the remaining dollars coming from private support. Lead gifts totaling $12.5 million from Sioux Falls banker Dana Dykhouse and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford were announced in October 2013.

    The stadium officially opened Sept. 8, 2016, featuring a concert by country music superstars Luke Bryan, Little Big Town and Lee Brice as part of the Jacks Bash opening weekend. The first football game was two days later, on Sept. 10, when the Jackrabbits defeated Drake, 56-28.

    SDSU has gone on to post a 16-2 record at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium during its first three seasons of operation, including a 3-0 mark in FCS playoff games.

    Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium was designed by Kansas City-based Crawford Architects, with the construction firm JE Dunn serving as the project manager at risk and Henry Carlson Company of Sioux Falls serving as general contractor. The stadium won the 2017 Alliant Build America Award from the Associated General Contractors of America South Dakota Building Chapter.

    STIG SHOW: The John Stiegelmeier Radio Show airs each Monday throughout the 2018 football season.

    The show is scheduled to air at 6 p.m. on the Jackrabbit Sports Network, originating with flagship station WNAX 570 AM in Yankton. In addition, the weekly show also will be streamed online free of charge at GoJacks.com.

    Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the John Stiegelmeier Radio Show will also feature interviews with Jackrabbit student-athletes and assistant coaches. Jackrabbit fans are encouraged to attend the show in person at Cubby's Sports Bar and Grill, 307 Main Ave., in downtown Brookings.

    A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits will be on the road each of the next two weeks, traveling Oct. 20 to Northern Iowa (4 p.m. kickoff) and to Illinois State (noon kickoff) on Oct. 27. Both games will be available for viewing via ESPN3.com.

    Next home action is slated for Nov. 3 versus Missouri State on Military Appreciation Day. Kickoff for that game is 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.


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