Closing the opener

A few final notes from SDSU’s 29-28 season opening win over Southern Utah on Saturday in Brookings:

This was the first time since the 2008 season finale in Fargo that the Jacks were involved in a one-point decision. It was also the first one-point decision at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium since 2006. SDSU won both of those contests.

So far so good on the more-turnovers emphasis. The Jacks hadn’t come up with three interceptions in a single game since 2009 and they hit that number against Thunderbirds All-American QB Brad Sorensen, who threw a total of six picks in 2010.

Of the flipside, the Jacks also committed three turnovers - two of those by QB Thomas O’Brien. Still, in what could be viewed as a weird sign of progress, this marked the first time that SDSU has won a game when he has committed more than one turnover.
The junior also tied his career high with three touchdown passes, set a new career high for completions at 27 - the most by a Jacks QB since 2008 - and moved into ninth place in school history for career passing yards at 3,963.
"I thought a couple of the plays where he bought some time and stepped up or scrambled and made the play - it was a huge step for him," coach John Stiegelmeier. "He could have easily run a couple times, he could have thrown it somewhere else, but he had the patience. I think that was huge."

SDSU finished with a massive time of possession edge, an area where SUU excelled last year. The Jacks had the ball for 34:32, an advantage of 9:10. That was more TOP than they’ve had in a single game since 2008 against NDSU.

If you attended the game, you probably noticed several logistical changes. Among them: New bleachers in the south end zone set aside for the band and additional students plus an inflatable blue tunnel - flanked by two large smoke canisters - for the team to run through. It was a very Miami moment especially from a program that usually shies away from flash.
"I don’t know - it’s smoke," RB Tyrel Kool said when asked about the entrance. "It was something a little different. Did it do anything as far as how we played? No. The biggest thing is the fans. There’s always that point right before you walk out and you look and see how many people are there to support you. That makes it exciting."

The announced attendance of 10,113 was larger than the two previous SDSU-SUU meetings in Brookings combined. The contest drew 3,317 in 2007 and 4,022 in 2005.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.