The only thing worse in sports than being dominated is being humiliated by a condescending response from the winner.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff got both with its 90-6 loss at South Dakota State on Saturday.
South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier, whose Jackrabbits were up 49-6 at the half, kept his team playing hard all the way to the final whistle, using game action to get reps for his backup players to practice things like blocking, tackling and the timing on pass routes.
Stiegelmeier, after the game, threw his viciously beaten foe a bone.
“Disappointed in how I managed the game,” Stiegelmeier 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 (Cedric) 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.”
“I want us all to learn about being a good sport, being a good sportsman, being a good sport, honoring your opponent,” Stiegelmeier said. “There’s the competition. We balance that.
“Honestly, I’ve never been in a situation like this. I learned a little bit more. We should have went turtle earlier and slowed the game down and, like I said, not thrown the ball. We threw two screens behind the line of scrimmage that went for touchdowns. I just know this — I don’t feel as good about the win as I should because of what happened.”
The passing game in question was on point throughout, and even though the coach made his best effort at being conciliatory, he managed to diminish the accomplishment of those pass plays he “shouldn’t have called.”
Taryn Chistion completed 13 of 14 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns, his pass attempt total held down not by the defense but by the end zone requiring him to give the ball back to the other team.
Cade Johnson caught two of those touchdown passes, along with three other balls, for 162 yards total.
Adam Anderson grabbed four balls out of the air for 128 yards and a solitary trip over the goal line.
Meanwhile, Isaac Wallace ran for 192 yards and two touchdowns — on just five carries.
The final from Brookings – Jacks beat the Golden Lions, 90-6!
— SDSU Football (@GoJacksFB) September 16, 2018
It’s hard to see just how Stiegelmeier could have been merciful when Arkansas-Pine Bluff was so bad.
Run it up the middle and the backs might well have broken through and run up the gut for scores.
Take a knee three times and punt and that’s a whole different kind of humiliation.
If you want to honor your opponents, you give them 60 minutes of honest competition. You can chew clock by snapping the ball with one second left on the play clock, but you don’t treat them like a chew toy or cat-and-mouse them.
Stiegelmeier probably meant well with his apology, but his “I’m sorry we beat them so badly” remarks just added insult to injury for Thomas and his team.
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