A few final notes from South Dakota State’s latest loss, a 38-28 decision to No. 24 Indiana State:
Once again, the Jacks struggled to get stops and make plays on third down, allowing 4 of 10 and converting just 5 of 16. Actually, SDSU improved on its season-average in terms of third-down stops - it had been allowing conversions 60 percent of the time.
Also, the Jacks set a season-high in penalties for the second week in a row at 11, one more than the previous contest.
This was the first game this season that SDSU scored in all four quarters. The Jacks hadn’t scored in more than two quarters in any of their previous four games.
SDSU redshirt freshman QB Austin Sumner got a bunch of firsts out of the way in his second career start. The former Brandon Valley star threw his first touchdown pass and broke 300 yards the first time, but also tossed his first interception and (on the same play) his first pick six.
It also seemed like Sumner was on the run a lot, but both he and coach John Stiegelmeier thought that the Jacks offensive line played well.
The Jacks left a bunch of points on the field in the first half, settling for field goals of 19, 26 and 19 yards. Red zone scoring is another ongoing issue.
In a seven-point loss at Illinois State, SDSU fumbled at the 4. The week before that, the Jacks had a drive end at the Cal Poly 1 and threw a pick six from the Cal Poly 3.
“It’s a matter of momentum, it’s a matter of discouraging the other team,” Stiegelmeier said. “It’s a matter of confidence.”
SDSU is now 0-2 in Missouri Valley play this year, falling to Indiana State and Illinois State for the second straight season. Both of those series have swung dramatically.
The Jacks beat the Redbirds by a total of 52 points in their first two league meetings only to lose the last two by a total of 17 points.
SDSU beat the Sycamores by a total of 81 points in their first two league meetings only to lose the next two by a total of 21 points.
Still, Indiana State coach Trent Miles doesn’t believe that things have flipped.
“They’ve been a quality program for years and they will continue to be,” he said of the Jacks. “It’s just something where you come out on the short end. Very easily their record could be flipped. They beat Southern Utah here and they’re pretty good. You’ve got to throw the Illinois game out - that was the money game. Illinois State and this game could have gone either way.”
Stiegelmeier said that no new injuries were sustained aside from kicker Kyle Harris being lost for the year.
Harris is the second starter to go down to a season-ending injury joining TE Seth Daughters. Both went down at home and on non-contact situations.
SDSU co-defensive coordinator Jay Bubak was on the sideline Saturday for the second week in a row, a position he hasn’t manned since his first year with the Jacks. Defensive tackle Andy Mink said that it’s helpful having Bubak on the field.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.