The South Dakota Jackrabbits appear aptly named if Zach Zenner shows up in Cheney like he did last Saturday in Flagstaff for this Saturday’s second round playoff game at 1 :05 p.m. at Roos Field.
Zenner rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries against Northern Arizona as SDSU scored the last 26 points of the game in Jackrabbits’ 26-7 win over the Lumberjacks in the opening round of the FCS playoffs. The junior had 235 of his yards through the first three quarters and now leads the FCS with 1,944 yards for the season.
“It’s going to come down to how well we play, not what they’re doing,” EWU defensive coordinator John Graham said during Monday’s coaches’ show.
The thing that concerns Graham about Zenner is his speed. “Once he got out and got by people nobody caught him,” Graham observed of Zenner’s game last Saturday.
This will be the first-ever football match-up between No. 3 Eastern and 13th-ranked SDSU, a school of some 12,000 students located in the far eastern South Dakota city of Brookings, near the Minnesota border.
The Jackrabbits are 9-4 on the season after finishing 5-3 in a four-way tie for second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference behind two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State (8-0).
They will be playing their fourth straight road game after their win at NAU which followed MVFC wins at rival South Dakota (27-12) and Youngstown State (42-13). SDSU lost North Dakota State earlier, 20-0 in Brookings.
“It’s going to come down to how well we play, not what they’re doing,” EWU head coach Beau Baldwin said was the key to his team making it nine wins in a row.
They are stingy up front, Baldwin said. “They have a linebacker with 122 tackles, and two of their best defensive players are on their defensive line. It’s going to be a real challenge for our guys up front because they like to win the ballgame there.”
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.