Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Unexpected rivalry game loss alters season

Rylan Bruns
BHSU head football coach Josh Breske addresses his team after losing Black Hills Brawl to SDSMT Sept. 30.

After a year spent in Spearfish, the Homestake Trophy returned to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) after the Hardrockers constructed an upset victory over the Yellow Jackets at Lyle Hare Stadium on Sept. 30.

Despite entering the game with three straight wins and the added confidence of last year’s rivalry victory in Rapid City, BHSU found itself in a 21-0 deficit by the end of the first half.

“I had the impression going into the week that we were becoming overly confident as a football team,” said Josh Breske, the Yellow Jacket’s head coach. “It’s been a strength of ours through the past three weeks leading up to a game. However, I certainly got the sense that we let our confidence sour into arrogance.”

The Hardrocker offense put up a total of 464 all-purpose yards – 237 through the air and 227 on the ground – against BHSU’s defense.

“It just felt like we didn’t show up to play and we were too confident in ourselves that we could beat them because we were a better team,” said Ryder Blair, a BHSU senior linebacker. “We didn’t prepare well enough.”

The Yellow Jacket defense was unable to contain Hardrockers’ quarterback, Jayden Johannsen, who racked up the scoreboard with three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns.

“There were some missed assignments,” Blair said.

Offensively, the Jackets struggled to get the ball moving on the ground, totaling only 95 yards rushing and one touchdown. BHSU quarterback Tanner Clarkson passed for 233 yards despite taking four sacks, but he and his receivers were unable to find the end zone.

“We lost track of the small details, and that’s what matters in those types of games,” Clarkson said. “I give credit to them for having a good game plan, but we had a lot of mental errors.”

After being shutout in the first half, the Yellow Jacket offense managed to find the endzone twice, beginning with a rushing touchdown late in the third quarter. The final score occurred late in the fourth quarter when junior cornerback Lovenski Simon returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.

However, the Jackets would never find the momentum they needed to conduct a comeback.

“We gave a lot of fair warning to our football team throughout the week about what [arrogance] will do to your psyche,” Breske said. “When you go out and expect to win but you don’t do what’s necessary, then you’re going to take a loss. Unfortunately, we became all the things that we don’t like about [SDSMT]. We believed that we were the superior team, but we did not prepare the right way.”

The BHSU-SDSMT rivalry runs deeper than simply a regional feud. “Those who have been a part of this rivalry, even current students understand the difference between [BHSU] and [SDSMT],” Breske said. “With the School of Mines there always seems to be this air of superiority. Maybe they see themselves as an elite group of people because of the professions that they choose and the programs they study.”

On Oct. 7, the Yellow Jackets were in search of redemption on homecoming night, which managed to find in the form of a 34-24 victory over the New Mexico Highlands (NMH) Cowboys. The Yellow Jackets entered the game with a three-game losing streak to NMH.

Last season, the Cowboys upset the Jackets’ five-game win streak and flushed any aspirations of a perfect season in the same night.

“It was the exact same thing [as the SDSMT game],” Breske said. “We were feeling ourselves and we thought that a win streak was going to carry us. We failed to do the little things that produce wins.”

Despite a lower conference ranking and a losing record, NMH possessed a new offensive strategy with uncertain potential.

“They’re running a new triple-option offense, and if they have a mistake-free day it could end up being a long day for whoever is playing them,” Breske said. “This is by no means a ‘put a check in the win column next to Highlands’ because this is a really talented, athletic offense, and their defense is just as tough.”

The BHSU defense proved to have learned from its mistakes, holding the Cowboys to two scores and shutting down eight of their 13 third-down conversion attempts.

On offense, the Jackets found the end zone twice through the air and three times on the ground. Clarkson led the charge with four touchdowns and 319 total yards.

About the Contributor
Nathan Feller, Editor-in-Chief