South Dakota State scored touchdowns in all three phases of the game to go on to defeat Drake, 56-28, in the inaugural game at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium Saturday night.
Playing before a crowd of 15,171, the Jackrabbits, ranked ninth in the STATS FCS media poll and 12th by the FCS coaches, evened its record at 1-1. Drake, a member of the Pioneer Football League, dropped to 0-2.
SDSU took the opening kickoff and marched 63 yards on five plays. All-America wide receiver Jake Wieneke scored the first points in the new stadium on a 3-yard pass from Taryn Christion 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the contest.
Christion put the Jackrabbits out front 14-0 four minutes later as he scrambled 36 yards for a touchdown, then connected with Wieneke from 15 yards outs later in the first quarter to push the SDSU lead to 21-0. Christion completed all 11 of his pass attempts in the first quarter for 123 yards, hooking up with seven different receivers.
Drake put together two long scoring drives in the second quarter to climb back into the contest. The first Bulldog touchdown came on a 3-yard pass from Cody Thibault to Eric Saubert to cap an 11-play, 74-yard drive. In the final minute of the first half, Conley Wilkins scored on a 3-yard run that finished off an 11-play, 83-yard drive that pulled Drake to within 28-14 heading into halftime.
In between the two Bulldog touchdowns, the Christion-to-Wieneke connection was again on display as the tandem teamed up for a 1-yard touchdown with 5:04 to play in the first half. With his third score of the night – and fifth this season – Wieneke tied Jeff Tiefenthaler’s school record for career touchdown receptions with 32.
Late in the third quarter, the Jackrabbit defense got into the scoring act as defensive end Jared Blum picked off a screen pass and scored from 3 yards out. Jesse Bobbit and reserve defensive end Austin Smenda also intercepted passes in the second half.
Christion tallied his career-best fourth touchdown pass of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter as Dallas Goedert leaped up and over a defender and made a highlight-reel one-handed catch in the right corner of the end zone that pushed the SDSU lead to 42-14.
SDSU further salted away the game less than two minutes later on a blocked punt for touchdown. Cody Hazelett blocked the Drake punt attempt and Jake Harms scooped up the loose ball at the 2-yard line before finding paydirt.
Drake’s Drew Lauer returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, but the Jackrabbits tacked on a final touchdown later in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard pass from backup quarterback Zach Lujan to Alex Wilde.
The Jackrabbits ended the night with a 460-310 advantage in total offense. Christion completed 24-of-28 passes for 224 yards, while Lujan went 3-for-3 for 49 yards. Adam Anderson tallied five receptions for 66 yards and Connor Landberg tied a career high with five catches for 43 yards.
Brady Mengarelli led the Jackrabbit rushing attack with 69 yards on seven carries.
For Drake, Wilkins gained 67 yards on 18 carries, while Saubert and Keegan Gallery each finished with six receptions and respective yardage totals of 53 and 42 yards. Thibault started at quarterback and completed 12-of-17 passes for 91 yards, while Grant Kraemer came on in relief to complete 12-of-18 passes for 133 yards.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Christian Rozeboom led the Jackrabbits with 12 tackles, followed by eight-tackle performance by Dallas Brown. Of Brown’s eight tackles, 3.5 were for loss, including 1.5 sacks.
The Jackrabbits resume home action Sept. 17 by hosting Cal Poly in the 50th Annual Beef Bowl. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.
* South Dakota State improved to 16-4 in home openers under head coach John Stiegelmeier
* The crowd of 15,171 is the largest for a Jackrabbit home opener
* Wieneke only recorded three catches for 19 yards, but all three of his receptions were for touchdowns
* Wieneke now has nine multi-touchdown games in his career, including three three-touchdown games
* Wieneke’s 32 career touchdown receptions have come in 28 games
* SDSU last blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown on Nov. 28, 2009, in an FCS playoff game at Montana as Corey Jeske scored after Ross Shafrath blocked a punt in the end zone
* The last time the Jackrabbits blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in a home game was on Nov. 13, 1993, as Dean Herrboldt went 27 yards against North Dakota