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Zenner, SDSU take down Coyotes 27-12

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — Austin Sumner threw for two scores and Zach Zenner ran for 137 yards and a TD as South Dakota State defeated South Dakota 27-12 on Saturday.

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Sumner completed 16 of 23 passes for 175 yards as the Jackrabbits (7-4, 4-3 Missouri Valley Football Conference) kept their playoff hopes alive with their third straight win. Sumner connected with Jason Schneider from 34 yards in the first quarter and 5 yards early in the fourth.

SDSU ran for 140 of its 315 total yards, while South Dakota (4-7, 3-4) was one-dimensional on the offensive end.

“We just didn't have it in the running game,” South Dakota coach Joe Glenn said. “Zenner went for 137, that's the big difference in that game. They were able to run the football and we weren't.”

The Coyotes were held to just 59 yards rushing, leaving quarterback Kevin Earl to carry most of the offensive load. Earl completed just 21 of 48 passes, but went for 325 yards and a touchdown.

He missed some other throws.

“When you can throw a ball 60 yards, it's hard to hit a guy on the dead run,” Glenn said. “He can make those throws, he does make those throws. We've gotta make those plays.”

SDSU took a 7-0 lead on a 34-yard pass to Schneider and a PAT kick by Justin Syrovatka with 1:09 left in the first quarter.

The Coyotes answered with a 21-yard field goal by Miles Bergner early in the second quarter and it stayed that way until the Jackrabbits went 47 yards on six plays late in the half. Zenner capped the drive with a 1-yard run on a direct snap, but the PAT failed.

Bergner's 25-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the half closed the deficit to 13-6.

The Coyotes pulled within one on Earl's 13-yard TD pass to Terrance Terry, but Bergner's PAT hit the upright, leaving USD down a point. Terry had nine catches for 115 yards.

The Jackrabbits scored the next 14 points to put the game away. Schneider's sec-ond TD came on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Winston Wright returned an interception 85 yards with 2:36 to play.

USD had recovered a Zenner fumble one play earlier on the SDSU 30.

“That's a recurring nightmare for us. We're not finishing. Throughout the game we had chances. You just got to make those plays, that's all,” Glenn said.

Jordan Roberts led USD in rushing with 31 yards on eight carries.