Jackrabbits are expecting Huskers' full attention

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 19, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By ERIC OLSON AP College Football Writer The timing couldn't be better for South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits visit Nebraska on Saturday for a game with a host of potential distractions. The Cornhuskers are coming off a 20-point loss to UCLA in a game they led by 18 late in the second quarter. It was the Huskers' biggest blown lead at home since 1920. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has worn a walking boot on his left foot this week and might not play. Off the field, coach Bo Pelini snapped at former Huskers great Tommie Frazier, who tweeted that Pelini should fire his defensive assistants. Oh, and then there's that matter of the leaked 2-year-old audio of Pelini's profane rant about the fans and two sports writers during what the coach thought was a private conversation. ''I try to forget it,'' South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier said. ''What those things do is distract you as a football program or give you a false sense that they're going to be distracted. My job is to make sure we're focused and make sure our coaches put our players in position to have success.'' South Dakota State (3-0), ranked No. 6 in the Football Championship Subdivision, isn't going to be satisfied with collecting its $395,000 paycheck and going home. The Jackrabbits came to Lincoln in 2010 and played a sixth-ranked Huskers team to within 17-3. SDSU was stopped on a fourth-and-goal at the Nebraska 1, had an interception return for a touchdown called back for an illegal block and had a pass intercepted at the Nebraska 1. ''That was a tough loss,'' said senior cornerback Winston Wright, who was making his first start for the Jacks that night. ''I was young on the team, and seeing the seniors and upperclassmen, they were really hurt. There were some things that didn't go our way. It hurt last time, and we're hoping to capitalize this time.'' Stiegelmeier said he's bringing in a better team this time. All-American Zach Zenner is the SDSU headliner. He leads FCS rushers with 180 yards a game after running for 2,000 yards last season. He went for 128 yards and three touchdowns in a come-from-behind win over Southeastern Louisiana last week. That was after he ran for 295 yards against North Dakota the week before. ''He runs hard, definitely more athletic than you would perceive him to be,'' Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said. ''He's able to make guys miss in short space and in the hole, but he also has the ability to put a shoulder down and run you over.'' Offensive tackle Bryan Witzmann, who started the 2010 game, said he and his teammates love to play FBS schools that overlooked them in recruiting. ''It's a little extra motivation to kind of shove it back at them and say, `This is what we made of ourselves,' '' Witzmann said. ''I really think FBS-FCS, it's about depth. We have the talent here. We don't have as much depth.'' The Jacks are 0-5 against the FBS since elevating their program from Division II in 2004. What the Jacks lack in depth, they'll make up for in chutzpa, Papuchis said. ''We saw that the first time we played them,'' he said. ''They certainly came with a little chip on their shoulder. They were kind of in that something-to-prove mentality. They were scrappy and tough and they were here for a fight, and our guys better be ready to be in for a fight Saturday.'' Wright doesn't expect anything less. ''You can look at it two ways, thinking they're beat up and maybe a little tired,'' he said. ''But their backs might be against the wall right now, and the last thing they need is to lose to a I-AA school. I see them coming out hungry. I don't see them taking us lightly.''
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League


NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Why are Saints holding out on contract talks with Drew Brees?

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

Celtics reportedly unwilling to give up much for Jahlil Okafor

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker