South Dakota State Jackrabbits football

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits football team is a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) program that competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Considered to be among the few perennial powers in the FCS, The Jackrabbits were a NCAA Division II program in the North Central Conference until moving to the Football Championship Subdivision in 2004. The current head coach is John Stiegelmeier. In March 2007, SDSU initially began their Division I FCS era by being a charter member of the now-defunct Great West Football Conference (along with North Dakota State, Southern Utah, Cal Poly, UC Davis, Northern Colorado) and stayed there until 2007 when they were accepted into the Missouri Valley Football Conference and began league play in the 2008 season. South Dakota State University has invested in their football program's facilities recently as they have some of the finest amenities and facilities at the FCS level including the largest video/scoreboard in the FCS (2015) a new 19,340 seat stadium (2016), and a large state-of-the-art student athlete center in the north end zone (2010). Connected to the student athlete center is one of the largest indoor practice facilities in NCAA Division I (completed in 2014). SDSU football and the Dakota Marker game was featured on ESPN’s nationally televised College GameDay on October 26th, 2019 becoming one of only a few FCS programs to be featured on the show.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits football
2019 South Dakota State Jackrabbits football team
First season1900
Athletic directorJustin Sell
Head coachJohn Stiegelmeier
23rd season, 158–101 (.610)
StadiumDana J. Dykhouse Stadium
(Capacity: 19,340)
Year built2016
Field surfaceTurf
LocationBrookings, South Dakota
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceMissouri Valley
Past conferencesNCC (1922–2003), Great West (2004–2007)
All-time record60046238 (.563)
Playoff record8–8
Conference titles
  • NCC (14)
    1922, 1924, 1925, 1933, 1939, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963
  • GWC (1)
  • MVFC (1)
RivalriesNorth Dakota State (rivalry)
South Dakota (rivalry)
North Dakota
ColorsBlue and Yellow[1]
Fight songRing the Bell
MascotJack Rabbit
Marching bandThe Pride of the Dakotas
NCAA FCS Playoff Appearances(9) 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
WebsiteJackrabbit Football



  • 1952–1972: NCAA College Division
  • 1973–2003: NCAA Division II
  • 2004–present: NCAA Division I–AA/FCS

Conference affiliations

Players in the National Football League

A total of 34 Jackrabbits have played for NFL teams, including four currently.

28 Jackrabbits have been drafted in the NFL Draft. Jim Langer is the only Jackrabbit, and the only North Central Conference football player, to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Record versus Missouri Valley Football Conference

  • Records current as of November 2015
RivalRecord (W–L–T)Winning Percentage
Illinois State4–6.400
Indiana State7–2.777
Missouri State10–1.909
North Dakota State41–60–5.410
Northern Iowa21–28–1.430
South Dakota55–52–7.513
Southern Illinois5–3.625
Western Illinois10–4.714
Youngstown State13–6.684

FCS Playoffs results

The Jackrabbits have appeared in the FCS playoffs nine times with an overall record of 8–9.

Year Round Opponent Result
2009First RoundMontanaL 48–61
2012First Round
Second Round
Eastern Illinois
North Dakota State
W 58–10
L 3–28
2013First Round
Second Round
Northern Arizona
Eastern Washington
W 26–7
L 17–41
2014First Round
Second Round
Montana State
North Dakota State
W 47–40
L 24–27
2015First RoundMontanaL 17–24
2016Second Round
North Dakota State
W 10–7
L 10–36
2017Second Round
Northern Iowa
New Hampshire
James Madison
W 37–22
W 56–14
L 16-51
2018Second Round
Kennesaw State
North Dakota State
W 51-6
W 27–17
L 21–44
2019Second RoundNorthern IowaL 10–13

Division II Playoffs results

The Jackrabbits have appeared in the Division II playoffs one time with an overall record of 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
1979QuarterfinalsYoungstown StateL 7–51

Head coaches

# Coach Tenure
2L. L. Gilkey1901
3J. Harrison Werner1903
4William Blaine1904
5William Juneau1905–1908
6Jason M. Saunderson1909–1910
7Fred Johnson1911
8Harry W. Ewing1912–1917
9No team1918
10Charles A. West1919–1927
11Cy Kasper1928–1933
12Red Threlfall1934–1937
13Jack V. Barnes1938–1940
14Thurlo McCrady1941–1946
15Ralph Ginn1947–1968
16Dave Kragthorpe1969
17Dean Pryor1970–1971
18John Gregory1972–1981
19Wayne Haensel1982–1990
20Mike Daly1991–1996
21John Stiegelmeier1997–present


  • Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium (19,340 capacity)
  • Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex (SJAC)
  • Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center (Connected to SJAC in north end zone)

In 2014, South Dakota State University started construction of a new stadium on the location of the current Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The new stadium has a total seating capacity of 19,340 with easy expansion to 22,500.

The Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex is the Jackrabbits new State-of-the-art indoor practice facility. The facility was opened on October 11, 2014. The SJAC has bleacher seating for up to 1,000 spectators and can be used for football practice, track practice, softball and baseball practice, track competitions, and other events within the SDSU athletic department. The 149,284-square foot facility is the largest indoor practice facility in Division I athletics and features an eight-lane, 300-meter track which is only one of five collegiate indoor tracks of that size in the nation. Inside the track is an 80-yard football field plus end zones at each end and is composed of a soy-based Astroturf. Within the facility it has areas for sports medicine and strength and conditioning. Sports medicine features include rehab space, a training room, weight room expansion, hydrotherapy, a football team room, offices and academic advising facilities. The SJAC is used by many of SDSU’s athletic programs.

All-Time statistical leaders

Single-game leaders

  • Passing Yards: Dan Fjeldheim (460, 9-28-2002)
  • Rushing Yards: Zach Zenner (295 2x, 11-24-2012, 9-7-2013)
  • Receiving Yards: Jeff Tiefenthaler (256, 9-27-1986)

Single-Season leaders

  • Passing Yards: Taryn Christion (3,369 2016^)
  • Rushing Yards: Josh Ranek – (2,055 1999)
  • Receiving Yards: Jeff Tiefenthaler (1,534 1986)

^ Season still ongoing.

Career leaders

  • Passing Yards: Austin Sumner – (9,458 2011–2014)
  • Rushing Yards: Josh Ranek – (6,744 1997–2001)
  • Receiving Yards: Jake Wieneke (4,080 2014–2017)

Media coverage

All home and road games are covered on the Jackrabbit Sports Network. The broadcast range of the Jackrabbit Sports Network covers eight states (South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, and Wyoming), and consists of the following stations:

The team does not have an official television partner, but Jackrabbit games have been televised on Midco Sports Net, Fox College Sports, the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports North, and local television networks.

Record against FBS competition

Overall 1–9.

Season Opponent Conference Result Record
2008Iowa StateBig 12L 17–440–1
2009MinnesotaBig TenL 13–160–2
2010NebraskaBig 12L 3–170–3
2011IllinoisBig TenL 3–560–4
2012KansasBig 12L 17–310–5
2013NebraskaBig TenL 20–590–6
2014MissouriSECL 18–380–7
2015KansasBig 12W 41–381–7
2016TCUBig 12L 41–591–8
2018Iowa StateBig 12Cancelled by weather
2019MinnesotaBig TenL 21-281-9


  1. "South Dakota State Jackrabbits Media Information". July 17, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
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