SDSU Smothers Fourth Ranked Northern Iowa

Jacks Win Home Finale 38-7

BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State turned in its most complete performance of the season, putting together a big second half in defeating Northern Iowa, 38-7, in a top-10 showdown between Missouri Valley Football Conference rivals Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

The Jackrabbits, ranked eighth in the STATS FCS media poll and ninth by the Football Championship Subdivision coaches, matched a season high by forcing four turnovers in improving to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in league play. UNI, ranked fourth by the media and fifth by the coaches, had its four-game winning streak snapped in falling to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the MVFC.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Jackrabbits cracked the scoring column on its first drive of the second stanza. Freshman quarterback Keaton Heide ended up with the ball on a double reverse and fired a strike downfield to wide receiver Cade Johnson for a 65-yard gain to the UNI 4-yard on the first play of the series. Two plays later, Mikey Daniel, seeing action as the featured back in place of an injured Pierre Strong, Jr., plunged in from two yards out.

The SDSU defense, which came up with an interception by freshman Jordan Gandy on UNI’s first drive of the game, came up with another takeaway in the second quarter as Logan Backhaus picked off a pass off a deflection by Seven Wilson. The Jackrabbits also forced five Panther punts en route to a 7-0 halftime lead.

SDSU extended its lead to 17-0 with a pair of scores in the third quarter. The Jackrabbits marched 73 yards on nine plays to open the second half, capping the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Heide to Jaxon Janke. Heide set what is believed to be a Jackrabbit single-game record by completing his first 14 passes of the game. The Wayzata, Minnesota, native ended the day 15-of-16 passing for 196 yards.

Chase Vinatieri added a 44-yard field goal for the Jackrabbits before UNI trimmed the margin to 17-7 in the final minute of the third quarter, finishing an eight-play, 60-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run by Sam Schnee.

After faltering in the fourth quarter last week against Illinois State, the Jackrabbits turned the tables on Saturday by scoring three touchdowns over the final 15 minutes. First, Tolu Ogunrinde stripped the ball from UNI quarterback Will McElvain and Don Gardner scooped up the rolling football and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.

Following Michael Griffin II matching Backhaus for the team lead with his third interception of the season, Heide tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, a 20-yard back-shoulder throw to Johnson in the right corner of the end zone. Johnson was the game’s leading receiver with six catches for 134 yards.

Backup quarterback Kanin Nelson provided the exclamation point with a 12-yard touchdown run in the waning moments. All 58 yards on the scoring drive came on the ground for a Jackrabbit squad that finished with a 337-239 advantage in total offense.

Daniel, a Brookings native playing on the Jackrabbits’ Senior Day, led the SDSU ground game with 82 yards on 21 carries. Devin Blakley added 21 yards on six carries.

For UNI, McElvain ended the afternoon 12-of-24 passing for 85 yards and added 50 rushing yards on 12 carries. Schnee paced the Panthers on the ground with 74 yards on 18 carries. Jaylin James was the receiving leader for UNI with three catches for 34 yards.

The Panthers’ Chris Kolarevic led all players with 13 tackles, followed by teammate Bryce Flater with 11.

Seven Wilson led SDSU with eight stops.

SDSU closes out the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 23) with a matchup at in-state rival South Dakota. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.


  • UNI leads the all-time series, 31-22-2, including a 9-6 advantage since SDSU moved to Division I in 2004
  • The 31-point margin of victory on Saturday is the largest by either team in the Division I era
  • SDSU held an opponent to less than 100 yards passing for the third time this season
  • The Jackrabbits limited to opposition to less than 300 yards of total offense for the fifth time in 2019
  • SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier moved into sole possession of second place in career victories in MVFC games with 66, breaking a tie with former UNI and Missouri State mentor Terry Allen; current UNI coach Mark Farley is the all-time leader with 98
  • Stiegelmeier also moved into a tie with former Western Illinois and Missouri State coach Randy Ball for third place in MVFC career coaching victories in all games with 98
  • Johnson crossed the 1,000-yard mark for receiving for the second year in a row, finishing the day with 1,048 yards in becoming the fourth Jackrabbit player to accomplish the feat
  • Johnson topped the 100-yard mark for the third time this season and ninth time in his career
  • The previous mark on record for most consecutive completions to start a game was 11 by Taryn Christion versus Drake in the first-ever game played at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016
  • Gardner’s fumble return for touchdown was the first by a Jackrabbit player since a 43-yard scoop and score by Chris Tracy versus South Dakota on Nov. 17, 2012
  • The Jackrabbits have intercepted a pass in all 11 games this season and 17 of 18 games dating back to the 2018 campaign
  • SDSU ended a two-game home losing streak and improved to 24-5 all-time at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium
  • The Jackrabbits improved to 2-2 against ranked FCS opponents this season and 37-45 since 2004
  • Attendance was 7,317

-Recap Courtesy SDSU Athletics

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