VERMILLION, S.D. (KWSN) —South Dakota State scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, then held off three South Dakota chances to tie in a 27-12 win in front of a capacity crowd of 10,845 at the DakotaDome Saturday.
The 19th-ranked Jackrabbits (7-4, 4-3 MVFC) took a 20-12 lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Austin Sumner to Jason Schneider three seconds into the final quarter. South Dakota drove inside the SDSU 35 three times down the stretch, but was turned away. An 80-yard interception return by Winston Wright with 2:36 remaining sealed the win.
Sumner completed 16 of 23 passes for 175 yards. He shook off a first quarter interception and hooked up five times with Jason Schneider for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The Jacks also got 137 yards rushing and a score from Zach Zenner.
USD quarterback Kevin Earl was 21 of 48 for 325 yards, but the Coyotes (4-7, 3-4) were unable to establish a ground game. Running backs Trevor Bouma and Jordan Roberts didn’t practice all week and were game-time decisions. Both played Saturday and combined for 46 yards on 14 carries.
South Dakota twice settled for field goals following drives of 60-plus yards that worked inside the SDSU 10. It allowed the Jacks to take a 13-6 lead into halftime.
Terrance Terry caught a 13-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter that closed the Jacks’ lead to 13-12. The game-tying extra point attempt hit the right upright and was no good. Terry had a career-high 115 yards on nine catches.
South Dakota’s first attempt at a tying touchdown ended at the SDSU 30 when Jake Gentile forced wide receiver Josh Vander Maten out of bounds inches shy of the first down marker. The Jacks’ offense drained seven minutes off the clock on the ensuing possession, but Dyllon Knox blocked Justin Syrovatka’s 39-yard field goal attempt to keep it a one-score game with 4:34 remaining.
Earl hit Nick Meyer for 21 yards and Tyler Wilhelm for 14 to reach the SDSU 28. Two incomplete passes followed Earl’s first down run and R.C. Kilgore sacked Earl on fourth down to end the drive.
South Dakota’s defense provided one last chance when linebacker Keyen Lage drilled Zenner in the backfield and forced the ball loose. Safety Devin Taverna recovered and was tackled at the SDSU 30 with 2:53 to go.
Earl tried to hit Terry on a 10-yard out towards the sideline on first down, but Terry turned up field as the pass was thrown leaving Wright all alone to make the interception at the 20. Wright made a cut up field and raced 80 yards for the final score of the game.
It was the only turnover for the Coyotes, but it was one of several missed opportunities in the passing game. USD hit several long passes and averaged 15 yards a completion, but other opportunities existed when the Coyotes had raced behind the secondary. Meyer was alone downfield on a flea-flicker in the second half, for example, but couldn’t run down the long pass.
It was the third week in a row South Dakota fell short against a top-20 program at home. The Coyotes will wrap up the season next week at No. 1 North Dakota State. South Dakota State kept its FCS playoff chances alive and will take on Youngstown State next weekend in Ohio.
Courtesy: University of South Dakota