Head Coach Curt Mallory and the Indiana State football team took a humbling 42-23 loss to No. 3 South Dakota State University last Saturday. The Sycamores came into this game off of a 20-10 win against Western Illinois and just one loss at home. The SDSU Jackrabbits entered with a five-game win streak looking to repeat the three-point win they had over the Sycamores in overtime last time they met.
The Jackrabbits took the opening possession and quickly capitalized. SDSU’s redshirt freshman quarterback, J’Bore Gibbs threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end, Kallan Hart. With about 12 minutes left in the first ISU’s offense got to step up and make their first appearance on the field. Redshirt sophomore quarterback, Kurtis Wilderman fumbled the ball on the first play of the Sycamore's first possession of the game. You would expect the No. 3 ranked team in the nation to use that momentum to propel them to a score but the next drive resulted in a missed kick from Jackrabbits senior kicker, Chase Vinatieri. Two possessions later Kurtis Wilderman showed that he responds well to adversity by throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman, Matae Thomas. By the end of the first quarter the score was 7-7.
The game quickly turned around for the Sycamores. It went from being 7-7 by the end of the first quarter to 35-10 by the start of halftime. The Jackrabbits offense caught the Sycamores defense sleeping as they scored four unanswered touchdowns towards the end of the second quarter.
“The message offensively was we can’t kill drives. We’re not going to do anything different. We’re not going to start throwing the ball deep. We’re going to stay true to what we practiced all week.” Head Coach Curt Mallory said about the message going into halftime, “Defensively our main purpose is just to get the ball back.”
The Sycamores came out of halftime and threw the first punch as a redshirt junior, Zach Larkin caught a 14-yard touchdown pass over five Jackrabbit defenders. The throw came from kicker Jerry Nunez on a fake field goal attempt. SDSU's Pierre Strong scored the last touchdown of the game for the jackrabbits totaling their score of 42 points. Strong had an outstanding performance with 144 yards on the ground last weekend.
Indiana State turned over the ball four times three of which were in the first quarter. ISU redshirt sophomore safety, Michael Thomas recorded a game-high of 10 tackles along with a pick last weekend.
“This team will keep fighting. You look at the film and see what you’re going to grow from. We got a chance to play some guys that haven’t played as much,” Coach Mallory said about his takeaways from this loss.
Indiana State is now 3-4 on the season and 1-2 in conference play. They will head to Normal, Illinois this week to face a 5-2 Illinois State team.