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Jacks Can't Get First Win

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – South Dakota State squandered five potential scoring opportunities in Northern Iowa territory, falling at the 15th-ranked Panthers, 24-14, Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 14,686 at the UNI-Dome.
The Jackrabbits remained winless at 0-4, including an 0-2 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. UNI, paced by 100-yard rushers Carlos Anderson and Tirrell Rennie, improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Each team missed out on scoring opportunities in the first quarter. UNI missed a 45-yard field goal on its second drive of the game and had a 30-yard attempt blocked by Cole Brodie on its next possession.
SDSU moved the ball into UNI territory late in the first quarter, but Kyle Minett was stripped of the football on a screen pass that would have
A Brodie interception on the next play from scrimmage set the Jackrabbits back at the UNI 30. The drive stalled at the 24 before Kyle Harris kicked a 41-yard field goal that would have given SDSU a 3-0 lead. However, the Jackrabbits were flagged for an illegal formation penalty and Harris’ second attempt, from 46 yards, was blocked.
UNI took advantage, scoring the first touchdown of the game. Rennie broke off a 65-yard run on the opening play of the drive to set up first and goal, then scored from a yard out on a fourth-down attempt.
SDSU put together its best drive of the first half in the closing minutes of the stanza, moving 65 yards as Minett carried for 30 and gained another 12 through the air. The Jackrabbits would come up empty again as O’Brien lofted a pass into the end zone that was intercepted in the end zone by UNI’s Andre Martin for a touchback.
The Jackrabbit offense got back on track during the opening drive of the second half. Minett gained 47 yards on a run up the middle on the second play from scrimmage to move the ball to the UNI 30. O’Brien completed a key third-down pass for a gain of 16 yards to Tyrel Kool to move the chains and later connected with Kool on a 9-yard touchdown pass to finish off an eight-play 77-yard drive.
UNI came back to take the lead on the ensuing drive, marching 67 yards on eight plays for the go-ahead touchdown, an 8-yard run by Rennie at the 6:10 mark of the third quarter.
The next Jackrabbit possession ended with another turnover. With the ball again at the UNI 30, Minett’s pass attempt out of the wildcat formation was intercepted again by Martin in the end zone.
The Panthers extended their lead to 17-7 early in the fourth quarter with another time-consuming drive. Billy Hallgren capped a 16-play, 64-yard that took more than seven minutes off the clock with a 33-yard field goal.
SDSU trimmed the deficit to 17-14 late in the fourth quarter with a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive capped by an O’Brien 6-yard touchdown pass to Colin Cochart. O’Brien was 7-for-8 passing on the drive for 52 yards.
The Jackrabbits’ attempt at an onside kick went out of bounds, giving UNI the ball at the SDSU 45. Rather than run the ball and work clock, UNI opted for a deep pass. Schuylar Oordt reached over a Jackrabbit defender in the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown pass from Rennie that sealed the Panthers’ victory.
SDSU’s last attempt to stay in the game ended once again across midfield as O’Brien was intercepted by Varmah Sonie.
Total offense was nearly equal, with UNI holding a slight edge of 390 yards to 385 by the Jackrabbits. The Panthers gained 276 yards on the ground as Anderson rushed 24 times for 136 yards and Rennie added 121 yards on 13 carries. Rennie completed 3-of-6 pass attempts for 69 yards, while Zach Davis completed 9-of-13 throws for 45 yards. Oordt led the Panther receivers with five receptions for 68 yards.
Minett posted his third consecutive 100-yard game with 137 yards on 18 carries. O’Brien completed 22-of-37 passes for 230 yards, with Kool the primary target by collecting 10 receptions for 113 yards.
Derek Domino led the Jackrabbit defense with 12 tackles, including one for loss. Andy Mink, making his first career start at nose tackle in place of an injured Ross Basham, was credited with 11 tackles, including two for loss and a sack.
Jamar Thompson paced the UNI defense with 11 tackles.
SDSU returns home to face Western Illinois in the 44th Annual Beef Bowl on Oct. 9. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. UNI travels to Southern Illinois.
NOTES: UNI leads the all-time series, 26-17-2 … last year’s game between the two teams also was decided by a 24-14 count, with SDSU winning on its home field … the Jackrabbits fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1969 … SDSU has been outscored 58-0 in the first half of its four games this season … the Jackrabbits dropped to 9-22 against ranked Football Championship Subdivision opponents since moving to Division I in 2004 … Minett crossed the 100-yard mark for 17th time in his career, upping his career rushing total to 3,470 — third on the SDSU career chart … Domino tallied double digits in tackles for the fifth consecutive game … Kool became the first Jackrabbit receiver to record double figures in catches and more than 100 yards receiving in a game since Glen Fox tallied 12 receptions  for 101 yards against Southern Illinois last season.

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