Familiar foe: Get to know SIU's Missouri Valley adversary turned 2nd-round playoff opponent

Neuqua Valley High School graduate Mark Gronowski leads top-seeded South Dakota State against Southern Illinois in round two of the FCS playoffs. (Photo courtesy Dave Eggen/Inertia)

Following its upset win at Weber State in the FCS playoffs, Southern Illinois next plays Sunday, May 2 at No. 1 seed South Dakota State.

Whether SIU fans are traveling to Brookings, S.D. for the game or just watching it on ESPN2 or listening on the radio, here’s a primer on the Salukis’ opponent:

Founded:  1881

Enrollment:  11,405

Nickname:  Jackrabbits

Colors:  blue and yellow

Location:  Brookings, S.D. (767 miles from Carbondale; 623 miles from Chicago, according to Google maps)

Population of city:  24,108

Conference:  Missouri Valley

Record:  6-1 overall, 5-1 in conference

Ranking:  No. 2 STATS Perform FCS poll, top seed in the 16-team FCS playoff bracket

Head coach:  John Stiegelmeier (23rd season)

Key players:  QB Mark Gronowski, RB Pierre Strong, RB Isaiah Davis, WR Jaxon Janke, WR Jadon Janke, TE Zach Heins, RT Garret Greenfield, DT Caleb Sanders, LB Preston Tetzlaff, LB Logan Backhaus, CB Don Gardner, K Cole Frahm

Stadium:  Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium (synthetic turf)

Best NFL player:  Jim Langer, two-time Super Bowl champion offensive lineman who is considered one of the NFL’s all-time best centers

Notable alumni: Gene Amdahl, IBM 360 inventor; Stephen Censky, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Tom Daschle, former Majority Leader of U.S. Senate; Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles tight end; Adam Timmerman, two-time Super Bowl champion guard; Adam Vinatieri, four-time Super Bowl champion kicker who is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer

Fun fact: There are 10 players on the Jackrabbits roster from Illinois.

Leave a comment