South Dakota State quarterback Taryn Christion threw for a school-record 466 yards and tied a career high with five touchdown passes, while the Jackrabbit defense recorded a season-high six sacks in a 45-39 victory over Southern Illinois on Saturday night at Saluki Stadium.
The Jackrabbits, ranked 12th in the STATS media poll and 15th in the FCS coaches' poll, improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. SIU dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in league play.
SDSU's tandem of Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke combined for the first four Jackrabbit touchdowns. A junior tight end, Goedert capped the opening drive of the game, a 10-play, 75-yard march with a 17-yard touchdown run on an end-around.
After SIU put together a long scoring drive late in the first quarter, the Jackrabbits built a 21-7 lead as Christion first connected with Wieneke on a 47-yard touchdown, followed later in the first half by a 39-yard scoring strike to Goedert.
The Salukis pulled to within 21-15 on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Josh Straughan to Connor Iwema, which was followed by a trick play on the ensuing extra point as kicker Austin Johnson ran the ball in for the two-point conversion.
The Jackrabbits answered in the final minute with an eight-play, 74-yard drive that took less than a minute and ended with a 17-yard pass from Christion to Wieneke, giving SDSU a 28-15 halftime lead.
SDSU pushed its lead to 35-18 on its first offensive play of the second half as Brady Mengarelli caught a swing pass on the left sideline and cut through the middle of the Saluki defense for a 56-yard touchdown.
SIU climbed back to within a field goal after two 11-yard touchdowns - one rushing and one receiving - by Jimmy Jones later in the third quarter.
After Kellen Soulek blocked a 54-yard field goal attempt, the Jackrabbits stemmed the tide on their first possession of the fourth quarter with Christion tossing his fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 27-yarder to Alex Wilde.
The Salukis pulled to within 42-39 on the ensuing drive on Jonathan Mixon's second rushing touchdown of the game. Mixon's score was set up by back-to-back pass plays of 30 and 31 yards to set up first and goal.
Christion set the Jackrabbit single-game passing record with a 46-yard strike to Wieneke down the left sideline, which placed the ball at the SIU 17 with under five minutes to play. The drive stalled, but Chase Vinatieri connected on a 33-yard field goal with 2 minutes, 15 seconds to play for what proved to be the winning margin.
The Jackrabbit defensive line ended any hopes of an SIU comeback as Blake Whitsell and Cole Langer were credited with sacks on consecutive plays to force the Salukis to turn the ball over on downs.
The two squads combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense - 572 by SDSU and 520 for SIU. Christion completed 32-of-51 passes for his 466 yards and connected with eight different receivers. Goedert caught a career-best 12 passes for 108 yards, with Wieneke ending the night with six catches for 164 yards. It was the third game in a row both players topped the 100-yard for receiving.
Isaac Wallace led the Jackrabbit rushing attack with 58 yards on nine carries, with Mengarelli adding six carries for 33 yards.
Christian Rozeboom led all players with a career-high 20 tackles for the Jackrabbits. Jesse Bobbit added 10 stops.
Straughan ended the night 33-of-50 passing for 380 yards. Billy Reed tallied eight catches for 86 yards, with Iwema adding six receptions for 107 yards. Mixon carried eight times for 37 yards.
The Jackrabbits resume conference action next Saturday (Oct. 15) at North Dakota State. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at the Fargodome
* SDSU leads the all-time series, 4-3
* The road team has won five of the seven meetings, including three in a row by SDSU in Carbondale
* Saturday's game marked the first meeting between the two squads since 2013
* Wieneke has recorded 19 career 100-yard games, 12 in MVFC contests
* Wieneke moved into second place in career receptions at SDSU with 178, passing both Jeff Tiefenthaler (173 receptions from 1983-86) and Jason Schneider (175 receptions from 2011-14) in Saturday's game
* Wieneke upped his career receiving touchdown total to 37 and has 11 multi-touchdown games in his career
* The previous Jackrabbit single-game record for passing yards was 460 by Dan Fjeldheim, versus St. Cloud State on Sept. 28, 2002
* Christion moved into a tie with Brad Nelson (2004) for touchdown passes in a single season at SDSU with 20
* Christion also set a Jackrabbit single-game record for total offense with 475 yards (466 passing, 9 rushing)
* Goedert has caught a touchdown pass in six consecutive games dating back to last season
* Goedert's 12 receptions tied for third most in a game by a Jackrabbit receiver and were the most in a game since Glen Fox recorded 12 catches against Southern Illinois on Nov. 7, 2009
* SDSU has scored in 19 of 20 quarters this season
* Attendance was 5,704 at Saluki Stadium