In a game filed permanently in the “Problems every coach would like to have” folder, South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier apologized after his team beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 90-6 on Saturday.
Stiegelmeier said he apologized to UAPB head coach Cedric Thomas off the field after the game and led off his post-game press conference with a public apology.
“Disappointed in how I managed the game,” he said. “I should have slowed it down earlier in the game. I should have taken all passes out. And I should have been more respectful to our opponent. I apologize to Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Coach Thomas. I am excited about the young guys who were in there and made plays when given the opportunity, so you have to balance that. I think I could have been a better head football coach tonight.”
South Dakota State led 28-6 after the first quarter and 49-6 at halftime. The Jackrabbits scored 21 points in the third quarter and 20 in the fourth. Three of South Dakota State’s second half touchdowns came through the air, but the first two were screens and the third was an RPO where quarterback Justin Roberts was instructed pre-snap to hand the ball off, Stiegelmeier said.
Two Jackrabbit quarterbacks combined to throw 21 passes, completing 19 for 557 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Eight Jackrabbits combined to rush 36 times for 369 yards and five touchdowns. The 90 points and 926 yards were school records. (Obviously.)
South Dakota State is the third-ranked team in FCS; Arkansas-Pine Bluff is coming off a 2-9 season and entered Saturday with a 1-1 record, losing to Division II Morehouse College and beating NAIA Cumberland. Stiegelmeier is in his 22nd season at South Dakota State, while Thomas is in his first year at UAPB.
For his part, Thomas said he and his program were not owed an apology following the Lions’ 84-point loss.
“I don’t need no apology,” Thomas said Monday during the SWAC weekly teleconference, via HBCUSports.com. “I’m a grown man. If that’s his (Stiegelmeier) philosophy toward football, I totally understand. I’ve been on both sides of it.
“It’s my job to stop them. It’s our job to put kids in position and come up with game plans to make sure we stop them from putting points up. It’s their job to score and score points. It’s my job to put our players in the best position to curtail that … and we didn’t do a good job of that.”