Some final notes and thoughts from South Dakota State’s 31-14 victory at Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night:
The Jacks debuted an interesting variation of the flash, their version of the wildcat. TE Cam Jones - a prep QB - took the direct snap, and was flanked be TE Vince Benedetto and DE Doug Peete. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Jones wound up with three carries for 14 yards in the formation. Coach John Stiegelmeier was pleased with that way that went.
Jones also made his first career catch, which went for 35 yards, while Seth Daughters had two catches for 15 yards and a score as the TEs bounced back from being blanked in the opener.
Zach Zenner is not on the hottest two-game run by an SDSU running back in school history. Josh Ranek went for 545 yards over two weeks during the latter stages of the 1999 season. That’s the unofficial mark.
SDSU completed just two passes in the second half at SLU, one of them being a 46-yard scoring strike from Austin Sumner to Jason Schneider on third-and-long after the Lions had rallied to within 13-7. A replay showed that the QB was perilously close to crossing the line of scrimmage before getting rid of the ball.
The Jacks finished with 36:37 in time of possession, their highest total since 2008. They bested 37 minutes twice that season, including a 50-48 victory at Stephen F. Austin - their last non-conference road victory prior to Saturday. SFA and SLU are both members of the Southland Conference.
On a related note, the Lions had two mist fans on their sideline Saturday night and went through warmups without their jerseys or shoulders pads a means to stay cool. SDSU had no fans and didn’t change its pregame attire. Turned out to be a moot point.
One week after SDSU WR Aaron Rollin’s 19-game catch streak ended at Kansas, Brandon Hubert’s 21-game run of games with at least one grab ended at SLU. Five Jacks caught passes in Hammond with nobody hauling in more than two.
This marked just the second time in the last 13 years that SDSU opened a season with consecutive road games. The other: 2007. The Jacks lost at Western Illinois and Youngstown State, but went 7-2 the rest of the way and won the Great West title.
Although not necessarily reflected in the stats, Jacks senior safety Skyler Luxa played arguably the best game of his career Saturday. He made four tackles and two pass breakups, dishing out big hits on seemingly each of those plays.
Having the upper hand throughout the game allowed SDSU to accomplish a stated pregame goal of getting reps for more guys on both sides of the ball.
“That’s super,” coach John Stiegelmeier said. “What we’ll be able to do is correct - ‘You know you can play better.’ There’s no punching the clock here.”
Jacks kicker Justin Syrovatka went 3 of 4 Saturday. He’s 4 of 5 on the season with all four makes measuring 20-29 yards.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.