Stampeding through the Plains
The vaunted rematch of teams with championship aspirations. If the proximity and familiarity weren't enough, the fact that SDSU gave NDSU it's lone blemish of the season added to it. Could SDSU stop the run for six championships. In a word, no.
Don't get me wrong, I was nervous about this rematch. With the offense that the Jackrabbits have I wasn't sure if our defense could slow them, much less stop them. As the game started, I had visions of an Eastern Washington like shoot out. Coming from a fantasy football background as I do, I was okay with that. Heck, I wondered whether such a game would be better for the Green & Gold since our offense is much healthier then their counterparts.
Well I was half right. The offense put up points in impressive fashion but was wrong to doubt the defense. There were many plays where I came away wondering who these guys were, but it epitomized the mentality that they preach - "next man up." They did everything that needed to be done and then some!
Next man up, often said, but difficult to actualize. The defense keeps throwing guys in and they perform well in their roles. It's an impressive revelation on a team in it's seventh consecutive deep playoff run. Maybe I'm naive but new things at this point in the run are refreshing & intriguing. Leads me to wonder, what other tricks might the coaches have up their sleeves.
Back to the point, Eastern Washington may be a worthy contender if they make it to the championship game but in my opinion, South Dakota State was the best shot for the field. They got HANDLED.
The defense contained the triple threat. The offense made it's mascot proud. The special teams continued to perform at an unheard of level!
Did anyone else see a Bison when King Frazier was running through, over & past Jackrabbit defenders? He was a force! And then there was the Omaha hookup. I'm not saying that Peyton Manning would blush over the Bison pass game but the kids from Nebraska were every bit as fun to watch as it was always hearing the Sheriff bark out their hometown.
It wasn't all sunshine & roses. The mid pole of the game left a lot to be desired. The redshirt sophomore QB needs to have more clock awareness to end the half. Coming away with no points in that situation could have been the spark that SDSU needed. But I don't actually consider that the worst part of the transition.
Coming out of the locker room with the ball only to give it away on the edge of the end zone was as bad and I would say worse. The defense came through with the safety, which makes up for the interception but the onus still has to fall on Easton. He came back with an exclamation through the second half which surely redeems the mistakes and they'll get cleaned up by Friday...they need to be cleaned up!
So let's Raise the horns & put a pin in this one as the pride of the Dakotas charges on!