THE SERIES: Saturday's game will mark the eighth meeting between South Dakota State and UC Davis on the football field. SDSU leads the all-time series, 5-2, on the strength of winning each of the last four meetings and although there have been only seven previous games between the Jackrabbits and Aggies there is plenty of interesting history between the two programs.
The two programs first met in 1997, during the schools' NCAA Division II era and in what was John Stiegelmeier's first game as head coach of the Jackrabbits. SDSU came away with a 17-7 road win in that first contest on Sept. 13, 1997.
As the two schools made the leap to NCAA Division I and the FCS ranks, both were charter members of the Great West Football Conference, which began play in 2004. SDSU's first-ever game as a D-I program was at UC Davis on Sept. 9 of that year, but that matchup did not go well for the Jackrabbits, who were drubbed 52-0. The Aggies scored 24 first-quarter points and led 38-0 at the half.
South Dakota State won each of the last three games between the two programs as Great West foes and added a 12-8 home victory at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium on Sept. 15, 2012. Zach Zenner rushed for both Jackrabbit touchdowns (61, 23 yards) and linebacker T.J. Lally recorded four sacks to spearhead a stingy SDSU defense.
Each of the last four matchups have been decided by seven points or less.
SDSU and UC Davis are scheduled to play again on Sept. 10, 2022, in Brookings.
The Aggies enter the playoff on a two-game losing streak, dropping a 38-20 decision to Eastern Washington, followed by a 27-7 blowout at the hands of Sacramento State.
Still, UCD head coach Dan Hawkins says the past is the past and the playoff gives everyone a chance to start over.
“There are 24 teams in the playoff, so we have to show up and play hard. Only the survivors advance,” said Hawkins.
“We always stress trying to be the best version of ourselves and we weren’t that last Saturday against Sacramento State. It was certainly a humbling experience and it’s not the way we like to coach or play.”
Added Hawkins, “Nobody likes going into this after losing to Eastern and Sacramento State, but if I had told our team before the season started that we’d beat Tulsa, Cal Poly and Weber State and make the playoffs, they’d have been fired up. Right now, it’s a one-game season for everyone.”