JACKRABBIT STATE: SDSU Wins 31-28 Thriller At USD
Jacks Win 9th Straight Game Over Coyotes
VERMILLION, S.D. – Taryn Christion threw for three touchdowns and the South Dakota State came up with three key stops in the second half to defeat the University of South Dakota, 31-28, in the regular season finale for both teams at the DakotaDome.
With their fifth consecutive win, including their fourth in a row against a ranked opponent, the fifth-ranked Jackrabbits improved to 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. USD, ranked 15th, dropped to 7-4 overall and 4-4 in league play. Both teams will find out their postseason fate during the Football Championship Subdivision Playoff Selection Show at 10 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU.
After a scoreless first quarter between two of the highest-scoring offenses in the FCS ranks, the situation quickly changed early in the second stanza, with SDSU putting up a pair of scores 13 seconds apart. Chase Vinatieri put the Jackrabbits on the board with a 45-yard field goal, and, after a Jordan Brown interception and return deep into USD territory on the Coyotes’ first play of the ensuing drive, Christion connected with Jake Wieneke for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
USD answered with a 49-yard touchdown run by Michael Fredrick a minute later, before the Jackrabbits hit on a big play. Christion found Wieneke near midfield and the three-time All-American spun out of a would-be tackle for a 69-yard touchdown that gave SDSU a 17-7 lead.
Fredrick’s second touchdown of the day, a 17-yard run midway through the second half, trimmed the SDSU advantage to 17-14 heading into halftime.
The Coyotes took what would be their lone lead of the day on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Chris Streveler to Dakarai Allen late in the third quarter. The USD score came after the Jackrabbits stuffed the Coyotes on consecutive plays at the 1-yard line on the previous drive, ending a 14-play, 96-yard drive without any points.
SDSU countered on its next drive with a 10-play, 65-yard drive, during which the Jackrabbits converted on fourth-and-3 from the USD with a 13-yard run by Christion. Mikey Daniel leaped over and through the Coyote defense for a 1-yard touchdown run.
After USD missed a 42-yard field goal that would have tied the game, the Jackrabbits pushed the lead back to 10 points at 31-21 with an eight-play, 75-yard drive. A leaping one-handed catch by Dallas Goedert for 10 yards on third-and-1 kept the drive alive before Christion found Cade Johnson open in the right flat for a 17-yard touchdown with 4 minutes, 52 seconds to play.
The Jackrabbit defense came up with its second turnover of the day on the next Coyote drive as Eric Kleinschmit forced a fumble and Christian Rozeboom recovered at the SDSU 23. Rozeboom led all players with 10 tackles, followed by nine from Chris Balster and eight by Nick Farina.
The Coyotes got the ball back after burning all three of their timeouts and drove the length of the field to pull to within 31-28 on a 3-yard pass from Streveler to Allen.
However, SDSU secured the victory by recovering the onside kick and managing to run out the clock thanks to some scrambling by Christion. The junior quarterback completed 23-of-36 passes for 299 yards and tied Austin Sumner (2011-14) atop the SDSU career charts for touchdown passes with 65.
Goedert ended the day by tying a season high with 11 catches for 117 yards, while Isaac Wallace gained 69 yards on 10 carries.
USD finished with a 583-386 advantage in total offense as Streveler ended the day 27-of-39 passing for 286 yards and added 65 yards on 12 carries.
The Coyotes had two running backs go over the century mark as Fredrick tallied 123 yards on 15 carries and Kai Henry added 109 yards on 17 carries.
Allen posted a team-high seven catches for 83 yards.
Should SDSU be awarded a top-eight seed for the FCS playoffs, the Jackrabbits would receive a first-round bye and host a second-round game Dec. 2. If the Jackrabbits are not included in the top eight seeds, they would play Nov. 25 at a site to be determined.
* SDSU leads the all-time series, 53-50-7, and has won nine consecutive games in the in-state rivalry dating back to 2001
* The Jackrabbits finished with nine regular season wins for the first time as an FCS program
* Wieneke’s two touchdown catches were his only receptions of the day as he upped his season touchdown total to 13 and career total to 56
* Goedert topped the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in the last six games and sixth time this season
* Goedert took over sole possession of third place in career receptions at SDSU with 186, breaking a tie with Jason Schneider (175 receptions from 2011-14)
* Rozeboom registered double figures in tackles for the seventh time in 2017, giving him 103 stops for the season
* SDSU is 55-25 in MVFC regular season games since joining the league in 2008
* Attendance was 10,147
VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota State quarterback Taryn Christion passed for 299 yards and three scores to lead the fifth-ranked Jackrabbits to a 31-28 win against No. 16 South Dakota Saturday inside the DakotaDome.
The win moves SDSU to 9-2 overall, 6-2 in the MVFC, and should give the Jacks a top-eight seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs. South Dakota is 7-4 overall, 4-4 in MVFC, and has likely earned its first FCS playoff berth following losses to several other bubble teams Saturday. The field of 24 will officially be announced at 10 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU.
South Dakota rushed for 297 yards and passed for 286, but couldn’t post enough points to get the win. Michael Fredrick rushed for a season-high 123 yards and two first-half touchdowns, and Kai Henry added a career-best 109 yards. They are the first USD running back tandem since 2014 to eclipse 100 yards in the same game.
Coyote quarterback Chris Streveler wore a glove on his throwing hand and still completed 27 of 39 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 65 and had a 59-yard dash to the 1 called back due to penalty early in the fourth quarter. South Dakota missed a 42-yard field goal at the end of the drive that would have tied the game at 24-24. Christion at the Jacks capitalized with a touchdown drive that made it a two-score game with 4:52 remaining.
“I’m really proud of our football team today,” said USD head coach Bob Nielson. “It’s a crew that’s dealt with a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries, and I thought they played great today. I thought it was going to be a game where we were going to have to score 30 points to win, and we had chances to do that.
“Chris Streveler, if there’s a guy that’s a better player in college football, I haven’t seen him. He didn’t practice all week. The reason why he was wearing gloves is because his throwing hand is so swollen, he can’t even hang onto the football right now. And look what he did. He’s been such a tremendous leader for us.”
One week after breaking the Coyotes’ single-season record for total offense, Streveler broke the program’s season mark for passing yards, surpassing Wesley Bechorner’s 2005 tally of 3,049 in the third quarter. Streveler has passed for 3,236 yards in essentially 10 games. He threw two second-half touchdowns to Dakarai Allen Saturday to give him 23 touchdown tosses on the season, one more than he had last season.
On the other side were all-American pass catchers Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke for SDSU. Goedert caught 11 passes for 117 yards and was a force for much of the game. Both of Wieneke’s catches went for scores. The first was an 11-yard touchdown catch on a one-play drive setup by a Jordan Brown interception and return to the 6. The second came moments later when he caught a slant in traffic, was sandwiched by two defenders, bounced away and sprinted the rest of the way for 69 yards that made it 17-7 with 8:52 left in the second quarter.
In a game that figured to have a lot of scoring, there was surprising none in the first quarter. Chase Vinatieri’s 45-yard field goal with 12:07 left in the second quarter sparked a string of 31 combined points scored in less than five minutes. The Jacks took a 17-14 lead in the break.
Allen broke a tackle and raced to the pylon for a 10-yard touchdown catch with 3:54 left in the third quarter that gave USD its first lead at 21-17. SDSU answered with a 65-yard drive capped by a Mikey Daniel 1-yard plunge that made it 24-21 at the end of three quarters.
USD’s first drive of the fourth quarter stalled at midfield, but the defense quickly got it back. The Coyotes overcame a 1st-and-20 and Henry converted a 4th-and-1 at midfield on the drive that came up empty on the missed field goal with 8:47 left.
Goedert made a one-handed catch on 3rd-and-1 at the USD 44, and three plays later, Christion hit Cade Johnson for a 17-yard touchdown when he was unaccounted for out of the backfield. Johnson had two of his three catches on the drive for 35 yards.
Streveler and the Coyotes marched 76 yards in less than a minute and made it 31-28 on a 3-yard jump ball to Allen in the end zone with 2:14 to go. South Dakota State recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock to seal the win.
South Dakota outgained SDSU 583-386, though it should be noted the Jacks lost 46 yards while running out the clock at the end of the game. Allen finished with career highs of seven catches for 83 yards. South Dakota State got 69 yards rushing from Isaac Wallace and 36 yards more from Brady Mengarelli.
Cornerback Isaac Armstead led the Coyote defense with a career-high nine tackles. He also picked off his second pass of the season, and sacked Vinatieri on a fake field goal try in the second quarter. USD had all three sacks posted Saturday and finished with nine tackles-for-loss.