SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s not just South Dakota vs. South Dakota State this weekend.
As the two intrastate rivals face off for the 117th time, stakes have not been higher in the Division I-era. Both teams are 4-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and both teams are ranked in the top 5 in the FCS.
The defending national champions and No. 1-ranked Jackrabbits will take on the No. 4-ranked Coyotes at 1 p.m. Saturday at a sold out DakotaDome in Vermillion. Both teams were ranked No. 1 (SDSU) and No. 4 (USD) in the FCS Football Committee rankings released on Thursday.
“Our guys take pride in defending the Dome,” USD head coach Bob Nielson said this week. “We’ve got to keep that as our focus. Even this week, with all the hoopla around the game. It really boils down to how much better can we be Saturday than we were this last week.”
The Coyotes are 4-0 in the DakotaDome this year and have won six-straight games after a season-opening loss at Missouri. Entering Saturday’s game, the Jackrabbits are riding a 21-game winning streak with the team’s last loss coming at Iowa in 2022.
“The guys know who we’re playing,” SDSU head coach Jimmy Rogers said this week. “This is what it’s all about, being at the highest stage and competing at the highest level.”
How to watch
The DakotaDome is sold out for the game with tickets going for $100 or more on third-party resale markets. The game will be broadcast on Midco Sports and streamed on both ESPN+ and Midco Sports Plus.
You can listen to the game on the radio on Coyote and Jackrabbit radio affiliates. In Sioux Falls, you can hear Coyote radio on 95.7 FM and Jackrabbit radio at 1320 AM and 107.9 FM.
You can find a Live Blog during the game on KELOLAND.com.
USD vs. SDSU history
Since 1889, South Dakota and South Dakota State have faced each other on the football field 116 times. The longest gap of the rivalry was 2004 to 2011 when SDSU moved up to Division I. USD made the jump to Division I in 2006 and the rivalry was renewed in 2012.
SDSU leads the all-time series 56-53-7 and won last year’s matchup 28-3 in Brookings.
The Coyotes have won the last two games against SDSU in Vermillion, including a 23-20 victory on a 57-yard Hail Mary pass from Carson Camp to Jeremiah Webb on the final play of the game in 2021.
What to know about the Coyotes
Since the start of MVFC play, the Coyotes have risen in the national polls and rankings and the No. 4 ranking ties the highest ranking (2017) for the Coyotes in the FCS.
Offensively, South Dakota has rushed for more than 200 yards led by Travis Theis who has 112 carries for 595 yards and four touchdowns. Nate Thomas and Charles Pierre each have more than 200 yards rushing and more than three touchdowns.
Defensively, South Dakota has allowed 14.4 points per game, the third-best rank in FCS. The Coyote defense has recorded 17 sacks and forced 10 turnovers.
Bob Nielson has more than 200 wins in 31 years of coaching. He’s in his eighth season with the Coyotes and has a record of 38-43.
What to know about the Jackrabbits
SDSU is the defending FCS national champion and the Jackrabbits haven’t lost to a FCS opponent since 2021.
Offensively, SDSU has averaged nearly 40 points per game and average 240 rushing yards per game led by Isaiah Davis and Amar Johnson. Davis has 685 yards and eight touchdowns, while Johnson has 444 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, the Jackrabbits have held teams to 12.5 points per game, second-best in the FCS. SDSU has recorded 11 sacks and forced seven interceptions and six fumbles.
Jimmy Rogers is unbeaten in his first year as a head coach for SDSU.