Dallas Goedert tied a school record with four touchdown receptions and the South Dakota State defense returned two second-half interceptions for scores to rout eighth-ranked Western Illinois, 52-14, in the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for both teams Saturday night at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
The 15th-ranked Jackrabbits, who scored the final 45 points of the game, improved to 2-2 overall. Western Illinois suffered its first loss of the season, falling to 3-1.
A junior tight end from Britton, Goedert tallied each of the Jackrabbits' first three touchdowns on the evening and tied Don Bartlett's record of four touchdown receptions set in 1949 midway through the third quarter.
All 14 of the Fighting Leathernecks' points came in the first quarter. Western took advantage of a partially blocked punt on the Jackrabbits' opening drive of the game to put together a quick five-play, 41-yard drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Sean McGuire.
WIU regained a momentary 14-7 lead late in the opening quarter with a seven-play, 92-yard drive highlighted by a 71-yard run by Stacey Smith on a jet sweep that moved the ball to the SDSU 5. Joey Borsellino finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown reception from McGuire.
From there it was all Jackrabbits.
Goedert put the Jackrabbits on the board with a 24-yard touchdown reception from Taryn Christion on SDSU's second possession of the game and later dragged a pair of Western Illinois defenders over the goal line for the tying score early in the second quarter. His third score of the game was another 24-yard reception from Christion midway through the second stanza.
The Jackrabbits' Connor Landberg added another clip to the highlight reel in the closing seconds of the first half after he made an acrobatic one-handed catch in the back corner of the end zone on a 17-yard pass from Christion. The play was originally ruled an incomplete pass, but was later overturned by replay, giving SDSU a 28-14 lead heading into intermission.
SDSU carried the momentum into the second half on defense as redshirt freshman linebacker Christian Rozeboom intercepted a McGuire pass and rambled 37 yards for a touchdown.
Chase Vinatieri booted a 38-yard field goal to extend the Jackrabbit lead to 38-14 before Goedert moved into the record books with a leaping and juggling catch and run over and through two defenders on the right sideline that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown. Goedert finished the night with career highs of eight catches for 204 yards.
Dallas Brown capped the scoring with the Jackrabbits' second defensive touchdown of the game as he picked off a pass and weaved his way into the end zone from 19 yards out.
The Jackrabbits finished with a 478-342 advantage in total offense. Christion ended the Military Appreciation Night aerial assault 22-of-31 passing for career highs of 361 yards and five touchdowns. Jake Wieneke added seven catches for 102 yards, marking the second game in a row that both he and Goedert topped the 100-yard mark for receiving.
Brady Mengarelli led the SDSU ground game with 41 yards on 11 carries.
The Jackrabbit defense limited the conference's leading rusher, Steve McShane, to 56 yards on 14 carries. Lenoir led the Fighting Leathernecks with 10 receptions for 84 yards, while McGuire was 15-of-27 passing for 113 yards. Trenton Norvell finished at quarterback, completing 5-of-10 passes for 46 yards.
Rozeboom paced the SDSU defense with 10 tackles, including a sack.
The Jackrabbits travel to Southern Illinois for an Oct. 8 matchup. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Illinois.