John Stiegelmeier, 62, will begin his 23rd season as South Dakota State's head coach on Thursday. Rather than Wisconsin-Stout, as was the case in his second season in 1998, this opener will be against the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.

Stiegelmeier's team faced the Gophers once previously: a 16-13 loss on Nov. 14, 2009, late in the first season at the on-campus stadium. The Jackrabbits also have played at Iowa State, Nebraska (twice), Kansas (twice), Illinois, Missouri and TCU since 2008.

"I was told by other FCS coaches early-on that you had to have the guarantee games on your schedule,'' Stiegelmeier said. "It's great for the budgets, and the players enjoy the challenge.''

The contract for this game vs. the Gophers was signed in 2012 and South Dakota State will receive $425,000. That's low by today's standards. Three more scheduled visits to Nebraska and another to Iowa in the 2020s will provide much-higher returns.