South Dakota State rushed for a season-high six touchdowns, including three in the third quarter, as the Jackrabbits kept pace atop the Missouri Valley Football Conference standings with a 49-24 victory over Missouri State Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
The Jackrabbits, ranked 13th in the STATS media poll and 15th by the Football Championship Subdivision coaches, improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in league play. Missouri State fell to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the MVFC. SDSU and North Dakota State are now in a two-way tie for the league lead after NDSU defeated Youngstown State, 24-3, on Saturday.
SDSU scored on two of its first three possessions to take an early 14-0 lead. Aided by a roughing-the-punter penalty, the Jackrabbits marched 72 yards on 11 plays on the opening drive of the game, scoring on a 3-yard run by Mikey Daniel.
The Jackrabbits' next scoring drive took only two plays and 42 seconds. Quarterback Taryn Christion hooked up with running back Brady Mengarelli for 35 yards on the first play, then connected with Dallas Goedert down the right hash for a 51-yard scoring strike.
Missouri State countered with a pair of touchdowns 64 seconds apart later in the first quarter to knot the game at 14-all. Backed up deep in their own end, the Bears' Zac Hoover caught a screen pass from Brodie Lambert, made the first Jackrabbit defender miss, and rambled 91 yards for a score.
Following an interception, the Bears quickly cashed in another third-down play as Lambert hit Malik Earl over the middle for a 38-yard touchdown with 1 minute, 35 seconds to play in the opening half.
SDSU regained the lead for good on an Issac Wallace 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. Missouri State's Zach Drake tallied a 22-yard field goal on the final play of the opening half to make the score 21-17 at intermission.
The third quarter was all Jackrabbits. After the Jackrabbit defense forced its third three-and-out of the game, the Jackrabbit offense effectively mixed the run and pass for a nine-play, 61-yard drive that ended on a 4-yard touchdown run by Kyle Paris.
Mengarelli and Wallace added respective scoring runs of 19 and 3 yards on the next two Jackrabbit possessions to push the margin to 42-17.
MSU opened the fourth-quarter scoring with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Lambert to Erik Furmanek, but the Jackrabbits had the final tally with Mengarelli scoring from 10 yards out with 5:52 remaining after the Bears turned the ball over for the second straight possession.
Mengarelli totaled 226 all-purpose yards, carrying the ball 10 times for a season-high 89 yards, catching five passes for 68 yards and returning three kickoffs for 69 yards.
SDSU held a 548-336 advantage in total offense, including a 213-120 edge in rushing yards. Paris gained 52 yards on seven carries in his most extensive action of the season.
The Jackrabbit passing-game triumvirate of Taryn Christion, Jake Wieneke and Dallas Goedert all reached milestones in Saturday's game. Christion completed 22-of-37 passes for 324 yards and added another 25 on the ground in setting the SDSU single-season record for total offense with 3,163 yards.
Wieneke and Goedert each crossed the 1,000-yard mark for single-season receiving, becoming the first Jackrabbit tandem to accomplish that feat in the same year. Wieneke, who caught six passes for 114 yards, also set the MVFC career mark for receiving yards with 3,899 yards. Goedert finished the afternoon with seven receptions for 113 yards.
For MSU, Lambert completed 10-of-21 passes for 224 yards, with Hoover on the receiving end of three catches for 113 yards. Deion Holliman was the Bears' leading rusher with 49 yards on six carries.
Jesse Bobbit led the Jackrabbit defense with nine tackles. As a team, SDSU recorded eight tackles for loss, including three sacks. Dylan Cole registered a game-high 14 tackles for MSU.
The Jackrabbits close out the home portion of their regular season schedule by hosting the University of South Dakota in the South Dakota Showdown Series. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
SDSU leads the all-time series, 8-1
The Jackrabbits improved to 18-6 in November league games since joining the MVFC in 2008
SDSU's six rushing touchdowns were the most in a game since tallying six in a 2012 playoff game against Eastern Illinois
The previous single-season record for total offense by a Jackrabbit was 3,056 yards by Brad Nelson in 2003
Christion moved into a tie for second place on the SDSU single-season charts for passing touchdowns with Nelson (2003) with 27 and took over fourth place in single-season passing yardage with 2,882
The Jackrabbits topped the 500-yard mark in total offense for the fourth time this season
Goedert and Wieneke each tallied more than 100 receiving yards in the same game for the sixth time this season
The previous record for career receiving yards by an MVFC player was 3,876 yards by Dedric Ward of Northern Iowa from 1993-96
Attendance was 10,828