South Dakota State Preview: #3 Jackrabbits Host Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Two of the top passing attacks in the country will go head-to-head Saturday (September 15) night when South Dakota State hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a non-conference game at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings.
The Golden Lions (1-1), from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, feature the number-two total offense (553 yards per game) and second-ranked passing attack in the nation (413 yards per game), plus the best quarterback in all of the FCS in completion percentage in junior Shannon Patrick (75%).
Patrick's top receiver, junior Josh Wilkes is second in yardage in the country and tied for the lead in the FCS tied in touchdown catches (4). South Dakota State's Cade Johnson is one of the other four players with a quartet of scoring grabs so far in 2018.
The Jackrabbits have a pretty good quarterback themselves in senior Taryn Christion.
The Sioux Falls native is sixth in the FCS in completion percentage (72%), leading the ten-ranked offense in America (512 yards per game).
Defensively the Lions are coming off of a shutout performance against Cumberland University in week two. Their defense is ranked in the top ten on third down and is number-three in all of the FCS in the Red Zone.
Sophomore defensive back Shawn Steele has 21 tackles in two games, while senior linebacker JeKevin Carter has 19.
The Jackrabbits defense is tied for fourth best in the nation, allowing just 193 yards.
On special teams, Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Jaimon Peterson is third in the nation in kickoff return yardage.
Kickoff in Brookings is 6:00 PM, Saturday.
The Jackrabbits are off next week before opening Missouri Valley Conference play at top-ranked North Dakota State, September 29.
After seeing their first game of the season canceled at Iowa State in week one, the Jackrabbits finally kicked off the season with a 45-14 win over Montana State, last Saturday (September 8).
After opening the game with back-to-back punts, the Jackrabbit offense caught fire, scoring on four of their next five drives to open up a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Christion was 17-of-25 for 232 yards and three touchdown passes in the first half, while the SDSU defense limited the Bobcats to just 44 total yards and one first down in the first two quarters.
In the second half, Johnson caught his fourth touchdown of the game, tying a single-game SDSU record. He finished the day with 138 yards on nine receptions.
Christion went 4-of-4 in the second half and topped the 300-yard mark in passing yards.
The Jackrabbit defense held Montana State to under 200 yards in total offense and forced two turnovers - interceptions by Jordan Brown and Josh Manchigiah.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach John Stiegelmeier about the Montana State win and the match-up with Arkansas-Pine Bluff: