SDSU Football Wins, USD Football Loses on Saturday
USD fell to the University of North Dakota on the road and SDSU captured another win at home against Illinois State.
As USD will take on the University of Northern Iowa to conclude their season next week at home for Senior Day and South Dakota State will have a season-ending bye week ahead of the FCS Playoffs.
Here is the complete release from the University of South Dakota on their loss to UND.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—North Dakota special teams accounted for nine points and that proved the difference in the Fighting Hawks' 28-19 win against South Dakota Saturday inside the Alerus Center.
It was the 100th meeting between the old NCC rivals. North Dakota protected its home turf for the 15th consecutive time in the series dating back to a win in 1987. The Hawks (7-3, 5-2 MVFC) took a big step in securing an at-large playoff bid with the win. South Dakota (3-7, 2-5) fell to 0-6 on the road this season. The Coyotes host UNI on Senior Day next week in their season finale.
A blocked punt right before halftime turned a 13-7 South Dakota lead into a 14-13 deficit. The Coyotes also missed their first extra point, had their second deflected but sail through the uprights anyway, and had their third extra point blocked.
Instead of two teams standing with three touchdown drives apiece, South Dakota found itself trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter and couldn't rally back.
Coyote quarterback Aidan Bouman passed for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Carter Bell caught six passes for 50 yards and two scores. Wesley Eliodor caught a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game and had 47 yards on four receptions.
On the other side, it was Hawk quarterback Tommy Schuster who completed 24-of-28 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Bo Belquist had seven catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Smith was all alone on a screen pass for an 11-yard score.
Both running backs were terrific. Travis Theis ran 14 times for 95 yards and caught three passes for 37 yards. Tyler Hoosman carried 23 times for 80 yards and hauled in six passes for 28.
Both teams produced long scoring drives to start the game. South Dakota went 65 yards on nine plays on its opening possession. North Dakota countered with a 14-play, 79-yard touchdown drive. That pretty much accounted for the first quarter.
South Dakota went 75 yards on 13 plays on its second drive to make it 13-7. North Dakota reached the Coyote 2 on its second drive, but got a stop in the form of a Da'Raun McKinney interception on a 4th-and-goal play from the 2.
By that point, just 2:21 was left on the first half clock and South Dakota began from its 20. A backside hold erased a 27-yard run by Shomari Lawrence on the first play of that drive. That was the start of a disastrous sequence for USD.
Now backed up to the 10, USD ran down the clock to produce a 4th-and-8 from its 22 with 20 seconds left and with UND out of timeouts. But Jayson Coley blocked the punt, Nate DeMontagnac recovered on the 2, and Schuster threw a 2-yard strike to Belquist with 10 seconds left.
Just like that, the lead was gone and never regained. North Dakota marched 61 yards on the opening drive of the second half to make it 21-13. South Dakota's offense blinked for the first time and had to punt. Four minutes later, Schuster had North Dakota back in the end zone for a 28-13 advantage.
Bouman hit Bell with a 5-yard strike with 12:37 left for the final score of the game. But C.J. Siegel got home from the edge on the extra point to keep it a two-score game.
Here is the complete release from South Dakota State University after their win over Illinois State.
Top-ranked South Dakota State displayed a swarming defense throughout the day and the offense found its stride in the second quarter for a Jackrabbit squad that completed a perfect season in Missouri Valley Football Conference play with a 31-7 victory over Illinois State Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
With their school-record 10th consecutive victory, the Jackrabbits improved to 10-1 overall and 8-0 in league play. Illinois State dropped to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the MVFC.
SDSU spotted Illinois State a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when the Redbirds' Dillon Gearhart blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone by Sy Dabney.
The Jackrabbits responded with scores on each of their next three drives to take a 13-7 lead into intermission. On the first play of the second quarter, Mark Gronowski hooked up with Jadon Janke deep downfield for a 51-yard pass play that put the ball at the Illinois State 10. However, SDSU could only come away with a field goal as Hunter Dustman put the Jackrabbits on the board with a 22-yard field goal.
SDSU and Gronowski turned to a power running game on the next possession as the sophomore quarterback rushed for gains of 8 and 14 yards on third-down plays to extend the drive, that capped a 14-play, 79-yard march with a 6-yard scamper up the middle on another third-down attempt for the Jackrabbits' first touchdown of the game and a 10-7 lead.
Dustman later matched his career-long field goal with a 45-yarder, making the second week in a row he connected from that distance on the final play of the first half.
Illinois State mustered only seven offensive plays for 25 yards in the second quarter. The Redbirds were held to 100 total yards in the game, marking the lowest total by an SDSU defense since giving up only 90 yards to Indiana State on Sept. 19, 2009.
It was more of the same for the Jackrabbits in the third as they scored two more touchdowns on short fields after Illinois State miscues. Following an interception by DyShawn Gales, SDSU needed only four plays to cash in. A 43-yard pass from Gronowski to Janke was followed by an 8-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Davis.
Then, after Illinois State punted into its own player with the ball coming to rest at the Redbird 30, Gronowski fired a 7-yard touchdown pass to Zach Heins in the final minute of the quarter.
Dustman closed out the scoring with his third field goal of the day, a 35-yarder midway through the fourth quarter.
In not allowing an offensive touchdown, the Jackrabbit defense held Illinois State to 100 yards of total offense and forced the Redbirds to punt nine times.
SDSU racked up 431 yards of total offense, with Gronowski completing 20-of-28 passes for 283 yards. Jadon Janke tallied a career-high 129 yards on five receptions, while twin brother, Jadon, added four receptions for 67 yards. Tucker Kraft hauled in a game-high six passes for 44 yards.
Davis led the Jackrabbit rushing attack with 50 yards on 16 carries.
Illinois State quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse finished the afternoon 9-of-20 passing for 55 yards and also was the leading ball-carrier with nine carries for 18 yards.
Jason Freeman paced the SDSU defense with seven tackles, including a sack, while linebacker Saiveon Williamson added four tackles and a pass breakup in his first career start.
Jeff Bowens and Zeke Vandenburgh each made 10 tackles for Illinois State, with Vandenburgh notching three sacks and four tackles for loss.
The Jackrabbits will find out their Football Championship Subdivision playoff pairing when selections are announced Nov. 20.
- South Dakota State leads the all-time series, 6-5
- Saturday's game was the first between the two squads since 2019
- The Jackrabbits won the MVFC title outright for the first time after sharing regular season crowns in 2016 and during the 2020-21 spring season
- SDSU posted 10 regular season wins for the first time in program history
- The Jackrabbits previously won nine games in a row in 1928 and again between the 1950 (last three games) and 1951 (first six games) seasons
- SDSU held a 39:34-20:26 advantage in time of possession and ran 30 more offensive plays (72-42)
- Jaxon Janke took over sole possession of fourth place in career receptions at SDSU with 179, breaking a tie with Jason Schneider (175 receptions from 2011-14)
- Davis moved into sole possession of ninth place in career rushing touchdowns by a Jackrabbit with 27, passing both Darwin Gonnerman (26 from 1966-68) and Taryn Christion (26 from 2015-18)
- Dustman made three field goals for the second game in a row and third time this season
- Dustman has made nine consecutive field goal tries
- SDSU has held nine of its 11 opponents this season under 100 yards rushing
- The 100 total yards allowed by the Jackrabbits marks the lowest total since giving up only 90 yards to Indiana State on Sept. 19, 2009
- Attendance was 8,160 on a day in which the temperature at kickoff was 21 degrees