Some final thoughts from SDSU’s 31-14 loss to No. 2 Northern Iowa on Saturday night:
The Jacks have given up 249 points through seven games this fall, surpassing the total given up in the entire 2010 and 2009 seasons. Coach John Stiegelmeier summed up the issues in one word: Breakdowns.
Some have been physical, but seemingly more have been mental - blown assignments and such.
The 17-point spread was the largest in this series in 13 games dating back to 1972 when the two programs were in the North Central Conference. SDSU is just 1-5 against the Panthers at the D-I level.
SDSU threw four interceptions, the most since Ryan Berry threw five in the 2008 season opener at Iowa State. The senior Berry went on to have three straight 300-yard efforts that game year. Jacks redshirt freshman QB Austin Sumner is on that same streak now.
On a related note, UNI has intercepted 14 passes this season, while throwing none. That’s the best margin in all of Division I football.
The common explanation for the four picks on Saturday against Sumner, who had thrown just two in his first three starts: Athleticism. UNI broke well to the ball.
In other turnover news, SDSU has fumbled 12 times, losing seven of them. RB Tyrel Kool has become the primary culprit. His last two fumbles have set up touchdowns for the opponent.
O’Gorman grad Phil Wright is a third-year sophomore cornerback at UNI. He has one tackle in one game this season.
Injury update: SDSU RB Zach Zenner got dinged late in the game, but coach John Stiegelmeier wasn’t sure of the extent. Also, Sumner played the last series with one foot/ankle heavily taped.
For UNI, All-American defensive end Ben Boothby went down with less than 20 seconds remaining, although early indications were that it wasn’t anything major.
Stiegelmeier’s thoughts on almost certainly missing the playoffs for a second straight year:
“We hadn’t talked about that since fall camp. I’m sure you daydream, a program daydreams, a player daydreams, but we’re not going to address it because it’s one game at a time. This program will be back in the playoffs. I guarantee you that, I promise you that.”
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.