- Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer
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Don’t tell the Midwest that the Mayans were wrong. The blizzard that’s disrupted holiday travel plans throughout the region has had an “end of the world” feel to it.
Just ask South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits, anchored by standout Nate Wolters, were on a plane in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday when the snow derailed their travel plans for a Saturday road game at New Mexico.
A day earlier, the Summit League contender had suffered a 76-49 loss at Belmont. From there, South Dakota State's 1,200-mile busing nightmare began.
I could put this in story form. But I think you’ll better understand the drama the Jackrabbits have endured if you see the timeline (as told by assistant Austin Hansen):
5 a.m., Thursday: The Jackrabbits leave their hotel in Nashville for a 7 a.m. flight to Chicago, where they plan to hop on a flight to New Mexico for Saturday’s game.
7 a.m., Thursday: The team and the rest of the flight’s passengers are pulled off the plane due to weather conditions in Chicago. “We knew that we weren’t getting to Chicago,” Hansen told ESPN.com.
2 p.m., Thursday: After failing to find alternative flights that would work for the entire team, the Jackrabbits get on a chartered bus in hopes of reaching New Mexico in time for the weekend matchup.
Time unknown, Thursday: The squad makes a quick Taco Bell run after the staff convenes and decides to forgo a longer stop that would only prolong the trip. (The Jackrabbits could not recall where they were during this fast-food run at the time of publication.)
1 a.m., Friday: After trekking through Memphis and Little Rock on their journey, the team reaches Shawnee, Okla.
9 a.m., Friday: The Jackrabbits return to the bus to conclude their trip to Albuquerque for Saturday’s game. As of midday Friday, the team was in the middle of “Total Recall,” its fifth movie of the trip. “Another day in the life of a mid-major,” Hansen said.
Friday evening: The team hopes to arrive in Albuquerque and suit up for a quick practice. “We’re not going to be able to do too much,” Hansen said.
12:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. ET), Saturday: The Jackrabbits will face No. 16 New Mexico at the Pit.
4 p.m. MT (7 p.m. ET), Saturday: The team is scheduled to board a flight to Omaha, Neb. From there, they’ll take a three-hour bus ride to Brookings, S.D.
But it’s not all bad for South Dakota State.
“We’re getting plenty of rest,” Hansen said.