Some final notes from South Dakota State’s 20-17 loss at North Dakota State on Saturday:
The Bison have won 10 in a row against ranked teams and are 19-3 in their last 22 games at home.
And the Jacks STILL have just one win in Fargo since 1964. This was the fourth close call in the John Stiegelmeier era - two by three points and two by seven points.
The SDSU offense gained just 209 yards, a season low by 96. What’s more, it put up a total of 27 yards on 18 plays in the first and third quarters. That’s compared to 182 yards on 37 plays in the second and fourth quarters. Oddly enough, that’s an extension of a season trend. The Jacks have scored a total of 75 points in the first and third quarters this season compared to 137 in the second and fourth quarters.
Meanwhile, SDSU has totaled 39 points in its last three road games with 20 of those coming in the 2-minute drill at the end of a half.
Jacks sophomore RB Zach Zenner was held to 43 yards rushing, the fifth week in a row that he’s posted a season low. He’s totaled 179 yards on 48 carries over the last three games.
Still, he has moved into fourth-place in school history for rushing yards in a season, passing Dan Sonnek. The top three spots belong to SDSU legend Josh Ranek.
Zenner is now No. 2 in the FCS at 1,539. The leader is Miguel Maysonet of Stony Brook, who ended the regular season at 1,721.
SDSU senior linebacker Ross Shafrath posted 15 tackles against the Bison, the third time this season he’s tallied 15 or more. That pushes his season total to 118, the most by a Jack since 1989. And 76 of those are solo stops, unofficially the most since SDSU began keeping that stat in 1976. Shafrath is tied for the lead in the FCS at 7.0 solo tackles per game.
NDSU QB Brock Jensen threw a pretty noteworthy interception in the third quarter. It was the first time since 2004 in this series that the winning QB got away with throwing a pick. It was also the first time this season that Jensen threw more than none and less than three picks, and was the first interception in the career of SDSU redshirt freshman CB JeRyan Butler.
Jensen made a mark more with his legs than his arm, rushing 14 times for 67 yards. Both numbers were season highs - and not by coincidence. Bison coach Craig Bohl said the team had been holding some designed runs in its back packet for this game, figuring SDSU was susceptible to that. He declined to expound on the specifics.
But Stiegelmeier countered by pointing out that Jensen recorded 56 yards on a single run, and that play should have been a 5-yard gain - a safety missed a tackle and a linebacker over-ran the play.
SDSU sophomore kicker Justin Syrovatka hit a season-best 46 yarder Saturday, his only attempt. That was his seventh make in a row this season with three of those coming from 40 or more.
After throwing 13 picks over the first eight games, Jacks QB Austin Sumner hasn’t thrown a pick in the last two games (while throwing three touchdowns). He also didn’t throw a pick last year vs. NDSU, but is 0-2 in the series.
NDSU has given up exactly 17 points in each of the last three games and in four of the last five. Meanwhile, SDSU has scored exactly 17 points three times this season, going 1-2 in those games.
This was the lowest combined score in the series since a 24-0 win by NDSU in 2003.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.