Lions lose in first home game of season

The Lions football team did something Saturday they have not done since being reinstated: lose the home opener.
The Lions struggled to move the chains against the South Dakota State  University (SDSU) Jackrabbits, and it showed on the scoreboard at the end of the game, suffering their second loss of the season, 31-14.
“We’re just making too many stupid mistakes, and we don’t do the things necessary to win,” head coach Ron Roberts said. “We’re our worst enemy right now.”
SDSU running back Zach Zenner ran for a career high 279 yards on the ground, third most ever by a Jackrabbit running back, and continued to run until being pulled in the fourth quarter after the lead was secure. Afterwards, Roberts noted his team’s sloppy tackling.
“You have to be able to play disciplined football,” Roberts said. “We had unblocked guys, guys missing tackles in the backfield. We probably had eight missed tackles in the backfield. You got to make those plays.”
The Lions couldn’t get anything going in the first half, having just two total yards through a quarter and a half of play. Senior quarterback Nathan Stanley managed to go 22-43 for 190 yards and a touchdown, but most of it came in the second half.
In the third quarter, Stanley found senior running back Michael Chaney for a 19 yard touchdown pass that put the Lions’ first points on the board. For Chaney it was the highlight of his game; he finished the night with seven carries for 10 yards. As a whole, the Lions finished with -11 rushing yards, due in large part to four sacks by the opposing defense.
Sophomore safety Tyler Stoddard managed to intercept a pass, one of the few turnovers the Lions managed. Freshman defensive lineman Collin Middleton stripped Zenner of the football, while senior defensive back T’Darryl Grays brought it back for the final Lion touchdown.
However, perhaps the most inconsistent part of the Lions’ lineup was the inexperienced receiving corps.
Sophomore Stanley Moore led the team with five catches for 34 yards, while junior Marquis Frugé managed four catches for 65 yards.
“Obviously it’s hard to replace Simmie Yarborough, Brandon Collins and Kory Theodore but we have a young group,” said senior offensive tackle Paul Roppolo. “They’re really talented. Not saying the last one wasn’t, but they’re also really talented, and they catch on quick.”
The Lions have a short turnaround this week, heading to UT-Martin on Thursday seeking their first win of the season. The Lions and the Skyhawks have history as the Lions defeated UT-Martin in the 2010 season 24-10 at Strawberry Stadium.