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After suffering a devastating loss at the hands of their long-time rivals (Black Hills State) last weekend, the South Dakota School of Mines football teams will attempt to bounce back Saturday when they play host to the Dakota Athletic Conference top squad and undefeated Jamestown College
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- After suffering a devastating loss at the hands of their long-time rivals (Black Hills State) last weekend, the South Dakota School of Mines football teams will attempt to bounce back Saturday when they play host to the Dakota Athletic Conference top squad and undefeated Jamestown College.
The Jimmies enter Saturday’s matchup atop the DAC standings with a 6-0 record (3-0 in the conference) along with a NAIA No. 7 national ranking. The North Dakota squad has had convincing wins over Valley City State (42-7), Mayville State (28-0) and Dakota State (28-14) to begin out the conference schedule.
The Hardrockers on the other hand had a great start to the year, jumping out to a 2-0 start for the first time in over 20 years, but have struggled recently with four straight losses, the most recent last week against the Yellow Jackets in Spearfish.
Jamestown has some pretty impressive stats which include being among the Top 10 in eight NAIA categories. The Jimmies are rated first in pass defense effiency (71.2), third in scoring defense per game (8.8), sixth in both opponent first downs (71) and pass defense per game (128). Jamestown is also seventh in pass efficiency (153) and in total defense per game (229.8), ranked eighth in opponents third down conversion (25.7) and ninth in turnover margin per game (1.2).
The Hardrockers are also represented on a national level, having four in the Top 20. SDM is fourth overall in opponent penalties (219) 11th in punt return yards per attempt (13.3), 13th in pass effiency (98.3), 15th in pass defense per game (148), 21st in scoring defense per game 18.7) and is 31st overall in total defense per game (319.7).
Individually, the Jimmies have a variety of weapons in their arsenal that has made them a well rounded group and deserving of that No. 7 NAIA ranking.
Jamestown is led by junior quarterback Josh Kittell. He has completed 68 percent of his passes this season, averaging 173.6 yards a game. He is currently ranked sixth in the nation in pass efficiency (159.4).
Kittell’s favorite target is Zack Bolger. The sophomore receiver leads the team in receptions with 31 (ranked 31st in NAIA). He averages 103.8 yards a game which is currently ninth in the NAIA and is 12th in the nation in scoring per game, averaging nine points.
South Dakota Mines also has some names in the national rankings starting with the excellent play of linebacker Tyrell Anderson. The junior from Green River, Mont., is quite a force, leading the team in tackles with 72, averaging 12 per game and ranking him fourth in nation.
Freshman defensive back Tom Lunzman (Gretna, Neb.) is 10th in the NAIA for interceptions per game at .7 (four total), senior Lukas Munsell (Mills, Wyo.) currently has the No. 15 spot in punt return yards per attempt tallying 11.8, junior Chad Westendorf (Geddes, S.D.) and Lunzman share an 18th NAIA rating in passes defended per game at 1.3, while junior Joshua Jones (Long Beach, Calif.,) is currently 42nd in rush yards per game with 73.2. Rapid City native Justin Whalin has a couple rankings, coming in at No. 39 in field goals (three total) and is 49th in PAT percentage at 88 percent.
The Jimmies, obviously, are doing well compared with the rest of the DAC, leading the pack in scoring offense (29.3), total offense (333), passing offense (241.2) and scoring defense (8.8).
The ‘Rockers are measuring up in conference play too, leading the way in punt returns, making good on 12 for 160 yards or 13.3 per attempt. SDM is fourth in total defense right now averaging 319.7 yards a game and is currently fifth in both rushing offense (672 total yards) and scoring defense (allowing 112 points).
Jones leads the Hardrockers in rushing with 439 total yards, Munsell paces all receivers with 28 receptions, averaging almost five a game (296 yards) and sophomore quarterback Jason Beilstein is throwing the ball with a 60 percent accuracy. The Lodi Calif., native has completed 89 of 148 for 733 yards. He also tied an SDM record last week in Spearfish for completed passes at 28.
Hardrocker assistant coach Joe Zogg (left) huddles the offense around him during to discuss strategy last Saturday during Dakota Athletic Conference play against Black Hills State in Speasrfish. Phot by Brad Blume
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