USD hosts SDSU Saturday

South Dakota State takes an 8-3 record into the final game of the regular season at the USD on Saturday.

A win will likely clinch the Jacks a top-eight seed, meaning a home game in the playoffs.

"I think it's crystal clear if we win we'll be a top-eight seed," said John Stiegelmeier, SDSU head coach. "So that's good, that's not pressure, that's exciting and that kicks in a whole different system in terms of the playoffs and so we have to go down there and play our best ball."

"Obviously, we'd like to spoil that for them," said Darin Greenfield, USD senior. "I mean, that's something they think they can have at the end of the season but we definitely want to be a part of why they won't be able to."

The Coyotes, meanwhile, are 4-7 overall. While their season will be over after this game, they say a win over the rival Jacks would be a perfect ending.

"A great opportunity for us, these games are like bowl games," said Bob Nielson, USD head coach. "They're big games for both programs regardless of the record. The season hasn't gone the way we would've liked to have gone but it doesn't take away the opportunity that this game brings."

It's a contrast in quarterbacks. The Jacks have seen steady improvement in true freshman Keaton Heide.

"Well, he's played in several games now," Nielson said. "You can see he's more comfortable and gotten better week by week. You know what we've got to do. Defensively we've got to be good against the run. That's what they want to do first."

Coyote senior signal-caller Austin Simmons will put a cap on a great career.

"Austin does a great job," Stiegelmeier said. "I really respect him. He'll run the ball also, very smart, they're an up-tempo team. I mean, we had a little over a total of 100 plays in the last game. They've had over 100-plays just on offense."

The game is sold out. Seating was at more of a premium since one side of the DakotaDome is closed for renovations.

"We've had some fun down there through the years," said . "You know this has been decades for me, happy for them to get their facility renovated."