BROOKINGS -- A underwhelming home effort for No. 6-ranked South Dakota State meant a second-straight home loss for the Jackrabbits’ -- this time on Hobo Day in front of 16,889 fans -- Saturday against No. 20 Northern Iowa, with UNI winning 26-17 at Dykhouse Stadium.

UNI never trailed in the game and took advantage of a Jackrabbit offense that could never get consistency going or sustain drives, finishing 5-for-19 on third downs. In particular, SDSU rushed for only 60 yards on 25 carries against a stout Panther defense.

South Dakota State's Adam Bock (32) spins down Northern Iowa running back Dom WIlliams (7) during a Missouri Valley Football Conference game Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 at Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)
South Dakota State's Adam Bock (32) spins down Northern Iowa running back Dom WIlliams (7) during a Missouri Valley Football Conference game Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 at Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

SDSU has rushed for at least 100 yards in the 26 of its last 30 games, and for the second time that span since 2019, Northern Iowa held them to 60 yards or less on the ground. Pierre Strong had a fourth-quarter touchdown -- which allowed SDSU to get within six points at 23-17 14 minutes remaining -- but was kept to 53 yards on 14 carries for the game. It is the second consecutive home loss after a 42-41 overtime loss to Southern Illinois on Oct. 9.

“I’m disappointed in our performance as a football team,” SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier said. “There are times where one side of the ball has to rise up because it’s not going as well for the other side. … Our program is made up of winners. I trust that they’ll put it behind them and run to grow from it and learn from it.”

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Quarterback Chris Oladokun was 24 for 53 passing for 300 yards but was sacked three times and had a lost fumble that set up UNI’s first touchdown. SDSU’s receivers finished the game with five drops, as well.

The Panthers (4-3, 2-2 Valley) got a big game from receiver Isaiah Weston, who had 125 yards on four catches and a touchdown from Theo Day, who was 11-for-21 passing for 232 yards and a touchdown. The 40-yard scoring connection from Day to Weston came with 10:48 remaining in the first half, starting a run of 13 straight points for Northern Iowa and breaking a 10-all stalemate with the go-ahead touchdown.

UNI got a big boost from the team’s kicker Matthew Cook, who hit three field goals, including a 55-yarder late in the first quarter and a 51-yard field goal with 12 minutes remaining to set the final nine-point margin.

Saturday’s UNI win marked the seventh time in the last 10 series meeting that the road team has won. Tucker Kraft had nine catches for 123 yards for the Jackrabbits, who had a first-quarter touchdown catch from Jadon Janke.

SDSU (5-2, 2-2 Valley) heads to Youngstown State on Oct. 30 for a conference road game in Youngstown State. Northern Iowa, which responded from a home loss to South Dakota last week, hosts Southern Illinois Oct. 30 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.