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Dominating in the snow: SDSU football advances past Duquesne

BROOKINGS -- The fans who withstood the blowing snow at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium on Saturday were rewarded. Led by a strong defense and offense which gained momentum as the game progressed, the No. 5 South Dakota State University football team to...

South Dakota State University running back Mikey Daniel leaps over a Duquesne defender on his way to a 27-yard touchdown during a FCS playoff game Saturday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)
South Dakota State University running back Mikey Daniel leaps over a Duquesne defender on his way to a 27-yard touchdown during a FCS playoff game Saturday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

BROOKINGS -- The fans who withstood the blowing snow at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium on Saturday were rewarded.

Led by a strong defense and offense which gained momentum as the game progressed, the No. 5 South Dakota State University football team took down Duquesne University, 51-6, in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

“We played, in that environment, an unbelievable game,” SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier. “I’m really proud of our defense. I’m excited the way we ran the football in these conditions.”

The Jackrabbits drove 75 yards on nine plays to start the game, capped by a 43-yard touchdown reception to Cade Johnson from Taryn Christion. However, the offense stalled the rest of the quarter, forcing the defense to keep the Dukes’ offense in check.

It answered, holding Duquesne to 14 yards of offense in the first quarter and just 19 rushing yards on 19 attempts in the half. In fact, Duquesne’s only score came on its first drive of the second half, as Daniel Parr capped a 75-yard drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown. Although, Winner native Krockett Krolikowski blocked the extra point to keep it 24-6.

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The Dukes (9-4) struggled to find momentum all game, finishing with 84 rushing yards and 244 total yards, in part to Krolikowski’s disruption on the defensive line. He finished with three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks.

Meanwhile, Isaiah Hill and Pierre Strong both rushed for touchdowns in the second quarter and Chase Vinatieri kicked a 39-yard field goal 26 seconds before half to give the Jackrabbits a 24-0 halftime lead.

SDSU countered Parr’s touchdown with three of its own in the third. Hill scored on the same double-reverse play as he did in the second quarter, Mikey Daniel, who finished with 100 yards on 10 carries, scored his first of two touchdowns and Zy Mosley had a 43-yard pick-six.

“We know that we’ve been really successful running the ball as of late,” Daniel said. “That’s kind of the game plan, and that’s what we needed to do to be successful today.”

Mitchell native Kanin Nelson entered the game in the fourth quarter, rushing for 17 yards. Freeman native Xavier Ward had a tackle, too.

SDSU (9-2) plays No. 4 Kennesaw State in the quarterfinals.

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