South Dakota State 2014 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Missouri Valley


After losing to Missouri on the opening weekend of the season, things looked grim for South Dakota State. It was not because the Jackrabbits lost the game; it was because they lost their quarterback, Austin Sumner, with three broken bones in his foot. Coach John Stiegelmeier called on Zach Lujan to take over the offense, and he did win five of the seven games he started. Sumner returned on November 1st against North Dakota State. The Jackrabbits lost that contest, but Sumner is getting back into form now.

2014 Record: 8-4, 5-3
Coach: John Stiegelmeier

Big Wins: 10/18 at Northern Iowa (31-28), 11/8 at Indiana State (32-17)
Bad Losses: 10/4 at Illinois State (10-45), 10/25 Youngstown State (27-30)

With Sumner back, the rest of the talent on offense is even more prolific. And Sumner really is back. Once he threw for 366 yards and six touchdowns against Western Illinois, all doubts were removed. Receiver Jake Wieneke has had an amazing redshirt freshman campaign and caught 66 passes for 1,318 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jason Schneider is a big target and a nice secondary option to Wieneke. And this team does have one of the best running backs in the MVFC too. Zach Zenner rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2012 and 2013 and is still hoping to make it three in a row. Heading into the playoffs, Zenner is at 1,634 yards and 16 touchdowns.

In South Dakota State’s three losses to FCS teams, the defense allowed at least 400 yards of offense. This team can win shootouts, but the defense must step up and perform better than they did in those losses. The problem stems from a lack of a pass rush and there is no one single player in the front four that the opposition will have to worry about. But the secondary, led by Melvin Taveras and Trey Carr, will intercept quite a few passes and that has the potential to even things out. Overall, the secondary is pretty good and the opposition will have an easier time running through the teeth of the South Dakota State defense.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Zenner, RB, 1,634 yards
Passing: Zach Lujan, QB, 1,943 yards
Receiving: Jake Wieneke, WR, 1,318 yards
Tackles: T.J. Lally, LB, 95
Sacks: Jack Sherlock, DL, 2.0; Kellen Soulek, DL, 2.0
Interceptions: Melvin Taveras, DB, 3

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 176.4 (49th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 254.9 (30, 2)
Total Offense: 431.3 (30, 3)
Scoring Offense: 30.6 (43, 4)
Rushing Defense: 182.6 (78, 9)
Pass Defense: 173.4 (16, 2)
Total Defense: 356.0 (36, 4)
Scoring Defense: 24.9 (52, 7)
Turnover Margin: -0.18 (68, 6)
Sacks: 1.18 (109, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.91 (96, 8)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2013    First Round    Defeated Northern Arizona
2013    Second Round    Lost to Eastern Washington
2012    First Round    Defeated Eastern Illinois
2012    Second Round    Lost to North Dakota State
2009    First Round    Lost to Montana

*all team stats through 11/15


Playoff Central