BROOKINGS, SD — Taryn Christion became South Dakota State’s all-time passing yardage leader and tied a career high with five touchdown passes, but it was Isaac Wallace’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime that finally pushed the Jackrabbits over the finish line in a 54-51 victory over Indiana State Saturday night at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
With the win, the Jackrabbits improved to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. SDSU entered the game ranked third in the STATS FCS media poll and fourth in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches’ poll.
Indiana State dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The Jackrabbits took a 42-24 lead into the fourth quarter after scoring three third-quarter touchdowns. Wallace scored on a 4-yard swing pass from Christion on SDSU’s first drive of the half, then turned to some trickery to go ahead 35-17 as kicker Chase Vinatieri took a pitch from holder Brady Hale on a would-be field goal attempt and turned the corner around left end for a 15-yard touchdown run.
The Sycamores answered with a 62-yard touchdown run by Ja’Quan Keys, but SDSU countered as Christion hit Adam Anderson on the slant for a 3-yard touchdown that capped a five-play, 91-yard drive. Pierre Strong Jr. set up Anderson’s second touchdown of the game with a 69-yard run to the Indiana State 3.
Indiana State would force overtime by scoring on its final five drives of regulation, starting with the Keys touchdown run midway in the third quarter. Ryan Boyle ran for a 4-yard touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter, then hooked up with Rontrez Morgan for a 34-yard touchdown to pull the Sycamores to within 45-38. Morgan’s second touchdown of the night came after Indiana State reached into its own bag of tricks by converting a fake punt.
After Vinatieri booted the second of his two field goals to give the Jackrabbits a 48-38 lead with 3 minutes and 16 seconds remaining, Keys rambled 57 yards to cut the margin to a field goal.
SDSU recovered the ensuing onside kick, but couldn’t pick up a first down and was forced to punt. Hale’s kick was downed at the 1-yard line, but the Sycamores quickly climbed out of the deep hole as Boyle completed passes of 30 yards to Dante Jones II and 47 yards to Morgan. Indiana State had first-and-goal from the 7 later in the drive, but settled for a game-tying 25-yard field goal by Jerry Nunez as time expired in regulation.
The Jackrabbits won the coin flip and elected to go on defense first. Indiana State had two shots from the 1-yard line, but linebacker Dalton Cox, with help from defensive end Ryan Earith on the second play, again forced the Sycamores to settle for a Nunez field goal.
Cox led the Jackrabbits with 10 tackles.
SDSU kept the ball in the hands of its playmakers during its overtime drive. Christion completed another screen pass to Wallace on third-and-8 to move the chains and again came up big on third down as the senior quarterback hit Cade Johnson for another nine yards. After a pass interference penalty moved the ball to the 2-yard-line, Wallace found paydirt over the right side of the line to end the game.
Wallace gained 81 yards on a career-high 21 carries, while Strong posted a team-high 95 yards on only six carries. Mikey Daniel added 70 yards on 10 carries.
The two squads each finished with 293 rushing yards as Keys tallied a game-high 159 yards on 19 carries.
Christion, who threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to Anderson on the opening drive of the game as well as 9- and 5-yarders to Jacob Brown and Mikey Daniel, respectively, ended the night 20-of-31 passing for 229 yards. His completions were spread among eight different receivers, with Anderson and Kallan Hart each catching four balls for 57 yards.
For Indiana State, Boyle ran for two scores and threw for two more in a 19-for-29 effort with 276 yards. Morgan finished with game highs of nine catches and 155 receiving yards
Jonas Griffith led all players with 18 tackles for Indiana State, while Jamal Jones added 17 stops.
The Jackrabbits close out a two-game homestand by hosting Youngstown State in the 105th Hobo Day game on Oct. 13. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
- SDSU leads the all-time series, 7-2
- The two squads had not played since a 24-7 Jackrabbit victory on Oct. 10, 2015, at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium
- SDSU and Indiana State combined for a Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium record of 105 points
- The Jackrabbits improved to 16-2 in three seasons at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium
- Christion threw five touchdown passes in a game for the sixth time in his career and second time this season
- Christion ended the night with 9,597 career passing yards as he surpassed the 9,458 yards by Austin Sumner from 2011-14
- Christion also moved into second place on the MVFC career passing yardage charts
- The Jackrabbits recovered a third-quarter fumble and have now forced at least one turnover in 19 consecutive games dating back to late in the 2016 season
- SDSU has scored in 14 of 16 quarters this season
- Chase Vinatieri passed his uncle, Adam, for sole possession of fifth place in SDSU history with 28 field goals
- The Jackrabbits improved to 5-5 in overtime games
- Attendance for the Hall of Fame Game and inaugural Precision Agriculture Bowl was 10,318
- Temperature was 42 degrees at kickoff
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