It was a mismatch on paper when the schedule was released months prior to the start of the regular season.
The disparity became a jarring reality when South Dakota State thumped Arkansas-Pine Bluff 90-6 on Saturday.
The Jackrabbits scored the most points in the history of its program. The Golden Lions, in the midst of a seemingly perpetual rebuilding project, suffered its most lopsided defeat in recent memory.
How bad was the blowout between an FCS power versus a SWAC afterthought?
Every single player on the South Dakota State roster participated in the game, which is a rarity in college football.
By halftime, it was 49-6 Jacks. By the fourth quarter, fifth-string running back Blair Mulholland scored a touchdown to make it 83-6.
The 90 points were the most South Dakota State had scored against an opponent since 1922.
The Jackrabbits appeared to show no mercy against the Golden Lions even after the starters had been removed after the first 30 minutes of the Purge-like massacre.
Jackrabbit head coach John Stiegelmeier said he tried to be somewhat understanding to Arkansas Pine Bluff’s plight by going deep into his roster. But even he admitted after it was over that the historic victory was not necessarily a crowing achievement.
“I’m disappointed in how I managed the game,” said Stiegelmeier. “I should’ve slowed it down earlier. I apologize to Arkansas-Pine Bluff and coach (Cedric) Thomas. I could’ve been a better football coach tonight.”
Maybe that’s what a coach in his position is supposed to say to display good sportsmanship.
The truth of the matter is that it’s unlikely whatever tactic Stiegelmeier tried to lessen the discomfort, UAPB still would have greatly suffered. After all this a Golden Lions team whose only win came at the hands of an NAIA school. It’s really not Stiegelmeier’s fault here.
On any given Saturday, many teams can find themselves on the wrong end of a blowout. This particular Saturday was indicative of that with several HBCUs taking it on the chin in non-conference play.
It was just the perfect storm of great team competing against an opposite side that hasn’t been, and isn’t going to be, realistically competitive at the FCS level for quite some time.
This outcome should have almost been expected.