Indiana State’s football program unwillingly wrote a new chapter what’s become an old offensive story.

The Sycamores managed just 90 yards of total offense in a 41-0 loss to No. 21-ranked South Dakota State at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium on Saturday. It’s the first time in school history ISU has been held below 100 yards of offense in two consecutive games.

ISU (0-4, 0-1 MVFC) had only 95 yards of total offense against Eastern Illinois on Sept. 12. It was also the first time ISU has been shut out in consecutive games since 1999. The Sycamores managed only five first downs.

“You cannot play offensive football like that and have a chance to win a game. It starts with me, it’s my fault. Whatever we’re doing wrong, it goes to the head coach to get it fixed. I haven’t done a good enough job of getting it fixed,” ISU coach Trent Miles said.

ISU running back Darrius Gates had 20 yards rushing to lead the Sycamores. The lack of production is embarrassing for the entire offense.

“It’s hard to live with this. We shot ourselves in the football when we had chances to move the ball. We didn’t execute,” Gates said. “It’s frustrating, but we can’t quit. I don’t sense in the locker room that anyone isn’t fighting, that anyone isn’t trying to get better.”

ISU’s defense gave up 414 yards of offense to SDSU, but the Jackrabbits ran 19 more plays than the Sycamores and had a nine-minute advantage in time of possession. ISU’s defense has been put in a position where it’s had to be perfect to give the Sycamores any chance of breaking a losing streak that reached 30 consecutive defeats.

“It should have been a 10-0 or 17-0 game. The defense has to work harder,” said ISU safety Donye McCleskey, who was then asked if it was frustrating to be put in that position as a defense. “It’s frustrating, but we have to stop them. We have to score. We have to get turnovers.”

Miles wasn’t having it.

“Offensively, we’re leaving [the defense] out there to dry. They can’t be on the field for that many plays,” Miles said.

What was most galling to the Sycamores was that despite the lack of offense, ISU was in the game at halftime. The Jackrabbits led 10-0 at halftime, scoring a touchdown with under a minute left after SDSU blocked an ISU punt.

ISU held the Jackrabbits to two three-and-out series to start the game. ISU drove to midfield on its first drive and went for it on 4th-and-inches, but the line didn’t get the push for quarterback Travis Johnson to convert on a quarterback keeper.

SDSU (2-0, 1-0) drove the ISU 3 on its third drive, but McCleskey tackled SDSU’s Tyrel Kool for a six-yard loss on 2nd-and-goal and SDSU eventually had to settle for a Kyle Harris 26-yard field goal to lead 3-0 after one quarter. Harris missed another field goal attempt early in the second quarter.

SDSU threatened again in vain late in the second quarter. The Jackrabbits drove to the ISU 8, but Harris came up empty again, missing a 32-yard field goal attempt wide right with 2:59 left.

ISU had been given all of the gifts to that point in the game, but couldn’t take advantage offensively. The Jackrabbits didn’t make the same mistake when they got a gift of their own just before halftime.

After ISU went three-and-out after the Harris miss, SDSU’s Tyler Duffy got past blocker Larry Carter and blocked a Gabe Mullane punt. Duffy also recovered it at the ISU 14. Two plays later, SDSU’s Mike Steffen juked ISU corner Andrew Blackmon in the right corner and pulled in a high Ryan Crawford pass one-handed in the end zone to put the Jackrabbits up 10-0 with 49.3 seconds left in the half.

ISU had 77 yards of total offense in the first half ... it proved to be the Sycamores’ high-water mark as production completely disappeared in the second half.

The Sycamores did not gain a first down in a decisive third quarter. They gained just two in the fourth quarter, both by SDSU penalties.

The Jackrabbits took full advantage. Kyle Minett’s 2-yard touchdown run and Duffy’s 10-yard TD scamper sandwiched around a Harris field goal to make it 34-0 at the end of the third quarter.

“The offense didn’t do anything. It wasn’t like they were doing anything amazingly different in the second half. We couldn’t do a thing. We couldn’t run it, throw it, catch it, block it. It comes back to me for our offense not doing what it needs to do,” Miles said.

Making matters worse for ISU, safety Alex Sewall injured his right knee on Duffy’s touchdown. The initial report was that he did not have ligament damage, but he’ll be evaluated this week.

ISU plays host to Youngstown State on Saturday. Miles was asked if the divide between offensive and defensive production concerned him as far as the Sycamores’ psyche is concerned.

“I’m not worried about that because we don’t have those types of kids anymore. The days of getting 60 and 70 getting hung on us because kids quit are over. That’s not going to happen,” Miles said.

South Dakota State 41, Indiana State 0

Indiana State 0 0 0 0 — 0

S. Dakota State 3 7 17 14 — 41

SDSt—FG Harris 26

SDSt—M.Steffen 17 pass from Crawford (Harris kick)

SDSt—Minett 2 run (Harris kick)

SDSt—FG Harris 22

SDSt—Duffy 10 run (Harris kick)

SDSt—Minett 3 pass from Crawford (Reifenrath kick)

SDSt—Paula 6 run (Reifenrath kick)



First downs 5 20

Rushes-yards 24-25 36-149

Passing 65 265

Comp-Att-Int 11-25-0 23-29-1

Return Yards 0 43

Punts-Avg. 9-34.9 2-42.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 6-43 5-40

Time of Possession 25:45 34:15


RUSHING—Indiana St., Gates 7-20, A.Brown 12-13, Craig 1-0, Tr.Johnson 4-(minus 8). S. Dakota State, Minett 18-95, Duffy 6-29, Paula 4-22, Monke 3-7, Crawford 4-2, T.Kool 1-(minus 6).

PASSING—Indiana St., Tr.Johnson 11-25-0-65. S. Dakota State, Crawford 21-27-1-239, O’Brien 2-2-0-26.

RECEIVING—Indiana St., Mardis 4-21, Lacotti 3-19, Kent 2-18, Gates 1-9, A.Brown 1-(minus 2). S. Dakota State, Fox 7-67, M.Steffen 5-89, Montague 3-27, Minett 3-14, Cochart 2-36, Beyer 2-23, Sheehan 1-9.

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