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Battle for the State Goes to the Jacks



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BROOKINGS, S.D. — South Dakota State scored 21 first-quarter points en route to a 31-8 win against South Dakota Saturday at Coughlin Alumni Stadium in what was the final regular season game for both teams. It was the first meeting between the two rivals since 2003 in a series that began in 1889.

Austin Sumner threw for 272 yards and a touchdown and Zach Zenner ran for 164 yards and a score to prevent the 23rd-ranked Jackrabbits from dropping back-to-back games. SDSU’s defense, meanwhile, got a defensive touchdown, limited South Dakota to 22 yards rushing and stopped two drives inside the red zone.

Will Powell caught eight passes for 118 yards in his final game as a Coyote. With 2,521 yards, he is the second-leading receiver in USD history. His 21 touchdown catches are a program record.

USD senior linebacker Kyle Shanker sacked Sumner three times and helped put the Coyotes on the board in the fourth quarter by blocking an Ethan Sawyer punt. Mike Garvey scooped the loose ball and ran 27 yards for South Dakota’s first score. A two-point conversion pass from Josh Vander Maten to Tyler Wilhelm made it 24-8 with 7:41 remaining.

South Dakota State recovered the ensuing onside kick and Zenner plowed in from one yard out for the game’s final score with 5:08 to play. Two late interceptions of USD backup quarterback Kevin Earl sealed the win.

A missed opportunity on the Coyotes’ first play from scrimmage helped fuel South Dakota State’s early barrage of points. Vander Maten overthrew Powell streaking all alone in the middle of the field following a playaction fake. It was Vander Maten’s first throw with a 20-plus mile an hour wind at his back.

A few plays later, Vander Maten was stripped while running a quarterback draw. The fumbled ball bounced off the grass and into the waiting hands of Jackrabbit linebacker Chris Tracy who went untouched 43 yards for a score that made it 14-0.

Tight end Cam Jones capped South Dakota State’s next possession with a 1-yard run that made it 21-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter. Sumner was 7-of-8 in the opening quarter for 101 yards. He converted all three third downs he faced.

South Dakota mustered four first downs and 87 yards of offense in the first half and trailed 24-0 at the break. The Coyotes out-gained the Jackrabbits 124-18 in the third quarter but had no points to show for it. Vander Maten threw incomplete on 4th-and-3 from the SDSU 7. Kevin Robb missed a 32-yard field goal as the third-quarter horn sounded.
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