Jake Wieneke set the South Dakota State career receiving touchdowns record, but it was the running game of Cal Poly that stole the show and sent the Mustangs to a 38-31 victory over the ninth-ranked Jackrabbits Saturday night at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in the 50th Annual Beef Bowl.
Cal Poly, which racked up 601 yards of total offense, including 440 on the ground, improved to 2-1 overall. SDSU fell to 1-2 overall in losing for the first time at its new stadium.
A junior from Maple Grove, Minnesota, Wieneke wasted little time in etching his name into the Jackrabbit record book. The two-time All-American made a leaping catch over a Mustang defender in the left back corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Zach Lujan on the game’s opening drive. It was Wieneke’s 33rd career touchdown reception, breaking the previous mark of 32 by Jeff Tiefenthaler from 1983-86.
Cal Poly knotted the game at 7-all late in the first quarter on a 35-yard touchdown run by Kyle Lewis.
A 30-yard field goal by Chase Vinatieri in the opening minute of the second quarter gave SDSU a 10-7 lead, but Cal Poly would come back to score the final 10 points of the first half with two long drives. The Mustangs’ Kori Garcia capped a seven-play, 87-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a 16-play, 75-yard march that chewed up the final 8 minutes and 3 seconds of the half before ending on a 22-yard field goal by Casey Sublette that gave Cal Poly a 17-10 halftime advantage.
SDSU turned a Cal Poly fumble on the opening drive of the second half into the tying score as Taryn Christion returned to the Jackrabbit lineup and hit Wieneke for a 4-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 17, where it remained until the fourth quarter.
The final stanza was full of long drives and big plays. Cal Poly regained the lead 75 seconds into the quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Dano Graves to Lewis that finished off a seven-play, 90 yards drive.
Brady Mengarelli put the Jackrabbits across midfield with a 48-yard return on the ensuing kickoff and SDSU needed only one play to tie the game for a third time as tight end Dallas Goedert slipped through a tackle and rumbled down the left sideline for a 48-yard touchdown.
Cal Poly answered back less than a minute later on a 76-yard touchdown run up the middle by Joe Protheroe.
Wieneke and the Jackrabbits responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive capped by his third touchdown of the night, a 15-yard pass play from Christion with 9:14 to play.
The Mustangs then churned out a methodical 12-play, 84-yard game-winning drive that ended on a 13-yard touchdown run by Protheroe with 2:28 to play. Protheroe tallied 217 yards on 31 carries, with 140 of his yards coming in the fourth quarter.
SDSU’s final attempt to tie the game ended when Christion was intercepted Aaryn Bouzos on third down. The Mustangs picked up one first down to seal the victory.
Cal Poly finished with a 601-336 advantage in total offense. Lewis, who scored both rushing and receiving, accumulated 66 yards on the ground and 122 through the air on five catches. Mustang quarterback Dano Graves completed 9-of-11 passes for 161 yards.
Wieneke ended the night with nine catches for 114 yards and the three touchdowns, while Goedert collected five catches for a career-high 101 yards. Isaac Wallace and Brady Mengarelli each gained 40 yards rushing.
Christion completed 20-of-33 passes for 252 yards.
The Jackrabbits were led defensively by Jesse Bobbit, who registered a career-high 16 tackles. Chris Balster added a career-best 10 stops. Josh Letuligasenoa and Jerek Rosales each made a team-best six tackles for Cal Poly.
• SDSU has its lone bye week of the regular season next week and returns to action Oct. 1 by hosting Western Illinois in its Missouri Valley Football Conference opener. Kickoff for Military Appreciation Night is 6 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
• Cal Poly leads the all-time series, 6-3
• The Jackrabbits fell to 29-21 in Beef Bowl games
• SDSU has scored in all 12 quarters so far this season
• Wieneke’s 35 career touchdowns have come in 29 games
• Wieneke posted the 16th 100-yard receiving game of his career and 10th career multi-touchdown game
• Wieneke also moved into second place in career receiving yards at SDSU with 3,205, passing Josh Davis (3,192 yards from 2002-05) in Saturday’s game
• The Jackrabbits had two 100-yard receivers in a game for the first time since Nov. 15, 2014, against Western Illinois as Wieneke (159 yards) and Jason Schneider (114 yards) both surpassed the mark
• Saturday’s attendance of 16,887 was the second-largest home crowd in SDSU football history