Lujan leads South Dakota St to historic win at Big 12 Kansas

September 5, 2015

Zach Lujan football

Zach Lujan

Anchorage’s Zach Lujan is gaining respect on the football field for two states; his home in Alaska and his home away from home at South Dakota State University.

The junior quarterback today lifted the Jackrabbits to their first FBS win with a 41-38 victory over the University of Kansas of the Big 12 Conference.

Lujan completed 17-of-33 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns in one of the greatest performances by a college football player from Alaska, maybe the greatest when you consider it came on the road against an opponent from a Power 5 conference.

“Composure and confidence come from preparation and trust in the game plan, and I think our coaches do a great job game planning putting us in situations to be successful,” he told me. “This is a huge win for the history of the program and a great way to start the year.”

Lujan, of South High fame, improved to 6-2 as a starter for his South Dakota State career.

In last year’s season opener at the University of Missouri he came into the game in the first quarter as an emergency substitute after starter Austin Sumner went down with an injury. Lujan filled in admirably, completing 21-of-28 passes for 239 yards in a 38-18 loss.

He went on to throw for nearly 2,000 yards and lead the team to five FCS wins, but was replaced when Sumber returned.

Now Lujan is the starter and showing everybody all over the country what they missed– twice; once out of high school and again out of Chabot College in California.

“I was highly under recruited out of high school and fortunate enough to go the JUCO route,” he said. “From there SDSU offered me, and despite getting attention from other schools, I really felt comfortable here and am part of a great program.”

And Lujan makes it better.

In terms of greatest college football performance by an Alaska player, Lujan’s day ranks right up there with the monster game former Chugiak running back Yohance Humphery had at the University of Montana in 2001 when he rushed for 265 yards and 4 TDs in a 38-23 win over Weber State.

“I take great pride coming from Alaska, as do all Alaskan collegiate athletes, and I think the more successful we are the more it opens the door for high schoolers and younger kids back home to take their talents to bigger and better schools,” Lujan said.