SDSU cruises by USD 31-8
BROOKINGS -- South Dakota's Division I college football bragging rights were up for grabs for the first time and it was the Jackrabbits who ran away with the honors.
South Dakota State built a 21-point first quarter lead and resisted two red zone drives from South Dakota, as the Jackrabbits defeated the Coyotes, 31-8, in front of 15,278 people in Brookings Saturday.
The Jackrabbits, with a playoff berth on the line, zapped any life from USD with a 10-play, 75 yard drive to open the game with quarterback Austin Sumner hitting wide receiver Aaron Rollin for a 7-yard touchdown reception.
On the following drive, Coyote quarterback Josh Vander Maten fumbled the ball and senior linebacker Chris Tracy ran it back 43 yards to put SDSU ahead 14-0 with 8:02 remaining in the first quarter.
The Jackrabbits finished off a 64 yard drive before the end of the quarter when tight end Cam Jones took a direct snap as quarterback and plunged in from a yard out to put SDSU ahead 21-0.
The Jackrabbits added a career-long 48-yard field goal before halftime from kicker Justin Syrovatka to go up 24-0 into the break. The Coyotes rallied in the third quarter, driving 13 plays to the SDSU 7-yard line before Vander Maten's pass to wideout Terrance Terry fell short on 4th and 3.
After a missed 32 yard field goal at the end of the third quarter and a 44-yard try was blocked, the Coyotes special teams finally gave the red section in the corner of the stadium something to cheer about when Kyle Shanker blocked an Ethan Sawyer punt and Mike Garvey ran it back 27 yards for a touchdown. The fourth-quarter touchdown, coupled with a two-point conversion, cut the lead to 16 points.
The Jacks then answered with a 5-play drive and running back Zach Zenner scored from one yard out with 5:08 to play to set the final 23-point margin. SDSU won the total yardage battle, 428-266.
Zenner finished the game with 28 carries and 164 yards. Sumner was 20-for-30 passing for 272 yards and one touchdown, while the 'Yotes Vander Maten was 21-for-36 for 219 yards. USD's Will Powell led the Coyotes with eight catches for 118 yards.
SDSU's win caps an 8-3 season, with the Jackrabbits finishing alone in second place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference at 6-2. On the flip side, the Coyotes difficult debut season in the MVFC comes to an end at 0-8 in the league and 1-10 overall.
The Jackrabbits will find out if they qualify for the 20-team NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The selection show will be aired on ESPNU.