South Dakota State rolls Dixie State for 4-0 start to season
35-point second quarter carries Jackrabbits in Beef Bowl win
BROOKINGS -- It was a slow first quarter for the No. 2-ranked South Dakota State football team.
And it was a deluge from that point forward.
The Jackrabbits scored 35 points in the second quarter, erasing a pedestrian start against a winless Dixie State (Utah) club in a 55-7 victory in front of 14,473 fans Saturday in the Beef Bowl game at Dykhouse Stadium.
The win improves SDSU to 4-0 on the season as they close out non-conference play for the regular season, and is SDSU’s first 4-0 start to a season since 2000.
For a third-straight game, SDSU’s defense again controlled an outmatched opponent, holding another opponent to seven points or less and forcing five turnovers. In that three game stretch, SDSU’s defense has allowed 14 total points and an average of 220 yards of offense per game.
It took a while for the Jacks to get rolling on Saturday night.
SDSU, which entered Saturday’s game averaging 8.5 yards per play, gained minus-2 yards on its first 15 plays of the game. Over the next 15 plays, SDSU gained 126 yards, plus benefitted from a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Dalys Beanum on his first career interception as part of a 28-0 surge in favor of SDSU, which won its 32nd game in 37 all-time games since Dykhouse Stadium opened in 2016. The 35 points scored by SDSU in the second quarter tied a Division I-era record.
It was another banner day for the Jackrabbit tight ends, with Zach Heins capping the first half with a 3-yard touchdown catch from Chris Oladokun with 10 seconds remaining, putting SDSU up 35-0. Reserve junior tight end Mike Morgan had a first-half touchdown from 11 yards out and then rattled off a 55-yard catch-and-run score in the third quarter from quarterback Keaton Heide. Morgan was named the Beef Bowl’s most outstanding player, in SDSU’s 54th edition of the game that honors the state’s beef industry.
Pierre Strong rushed for a pair of touchdowns -- including a 21-yarder to open the scoring early in the second quarter -- and had 88 yards rushing on 15 carries, as SDSU rushed 43 times for 194 yards in the win. Playing exclusively in the first half, Oladokun was 7-for-17 passing for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Brookings High School graduate and freshman Josh Buri scored his first career touchdown on a 6-yard run late in the fourth quarter for the Jacks.
The Trailblazers, who are transitioning from Division II to Division I that will be complete in 2024-25, were held to 238 yards and did not get the ball inside the SDSU 20-yard-line until the waning seconds, when Kobe Tracy found Cade Veach for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 6 seconds remaining.
Dixie State, which is in the midst of playing four straight top-25 FCS opponents and heads to No. 4 Montana next week, has allowed 43.7 points per game on defense to open the season.
The Jackrabbits (4-0, 1-0 Valley) host Southern Illinois at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9 in Brookings.