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SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier says QB Austin Sumner will not play vs. Jayhawks

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SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier (with bag) walks onto the Memorial Stadium turf to address his team prior to Friday's walk-through.

SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier (with bag) walks onto the Memorial Stadium turf to address his team prior to Friday's walk-through. by Matt Tait

The South Dakota State football team will be without reigning Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year Saturday when the Jackrabbits take on Kansas at 6:06 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Just before his team’s walk-through on Friday, SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier told the Journal-World that sophomore quarterback Austin Sumner would not play and that red-shirt freshman Eric Kline would make the first start of his career in his place.

“(He) has not taken a rep all week so his status is injured reserve,” Stiegelmeier said of Sumner, who threw for 2,300 yards and 16 TDs in eight starts as a true freshman last year. “I don’t think he’ll play at all. I don’t think we’re gonna risk it.”

Sumner spent the week working to rehab a hand injury he suffered during fall camp but was not able to progress to the point where he could be effective in the opener.

“It’s a deal where I know he wants to play,” Stiegelmeier said. “But he hasn’t taken a rep. Our other guy has taken all the reps. And I’m a coach that’ll tell you the truth, so if he’s playing I’ll come up and find you in the press box.”

Earlier this week, Stiegelmeier said preparing for the Jayhawks had been tough because there was no film on how the Jayhawks would play under first-year coach Charlie Weis. With Sumner out, the Jayhawks will face a quarterback which they have seen no film on, but Stiegelmeier said that did not exactly level the playing field.

“I would give coach Weis our playbook if I had our starter,” he said. “And that’s not a knock on Eric Kline. But you want to have your starting quarterback heading into the season.”

With Sumner sidelined, the Jackrabbits turn to Kline, whose only live-action experience came during SDSU’s spring game earlier this year. Stiegelmeier said the 6-foot-4, 205-pound back-up had embraced his new role and was confident.

“He’s excited, obviously,” the coach said. “But the excitement of running against scouts and lining up against this crew is gonna be a different kind of excitement. He’s a great leader, so he’ll be fine in that area.”

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