The Collegian

Jacks survive scare from Sycamores

MIRANDA+SAMPSON
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Jacks survive scare from Sycamores

MIRANDA SAMPSON

MIRANDA SAMPSON

MIRANDA SAMPSON

MIRANDA SAMPSON

Landon Dierks

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Saturday night was a classic example of why Missouri Valley Football Conference coaches preach that there are no easy games once you enter conference play.

The No. 3 Jackrabbits closed as 35-point favorites on VegasInsider.com over Indiana State but needed overtime to defeat the visiting Sycamores by a score of 54-51.

It appeared that SDSU was poised to secure its first home conference victory at home when leading 42-24 at the end of three quarters, but the Sycamores responded in a big way.

ISU answered a 21-point third quarter performance by the Jackrabbits with 24 points of their own in the fourth quarter. A 25-yard field goal by kicker Jerry Nunez as time expired forced overtime in Brookings.

During overtime, Indiana State failed to find the end zone. Instead, they settled for a 20-yard field goal.

It was not enough.

Isaac Wallace scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown on the lone overtime possession for the Jacks to seal the deal.

While the SDSU running game took over in the second half, the Jacks won Hall of Fame Game and Precision Agriculture Bowl behind a record-setting performance from senior quarterback Taryn Christion.

Christion added to his Missouri Valley Football Conference record for career touchdown passes (87) and set the all-time records for passing yards in SDSU history.

“It’s just awesome,” said junior tight end Kal Hart. “He’s a leader on and off the field… It’s great to know there’s somebody like that leading our offense.”

Christion finished the night with 229 yards passing and five touchdowns.

SDSU (3-1, 1-1) owned a 21-17 lead at the half.

The Jacks scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions of the second half, including a 15-yard rushing touchdown by SDSU kicker Chase Vinatieri on a fake field goal, helping the Jackrabbits build a lead as large as 18 points.

After the SDSU offensive attack in the third quarter, ISU (2-3, 0-2) mounted a furious comeback and nearly came out victorious in Brookings.

A 57-yard touchdown scamper by Keys brought the Sycamores to within three points with 2:08 to play, but SDSU senior safety Brandon Snyder recovered an onside kick attempt – meaning the Jackrabbits could ice the game with a first down.

They never got the first down.

Senior punter Brady Hale’s punt was downed at the one-yard line, but ISU drove the ball 92 yards in under two minutes to set up Nunez’s game-tying kick as the clock hit zeros.

Indiana State carved up the Jacks defense for 569 yards on 71 plays.

The Sycamores were led by senior running back Ja’Quan Keys, who had 159 yards on 19 attempts and two scores.

Quarterback and redshirt sophomore Ryan Boyle made numerous difficult passes against the SDSU secondary and finished the night with 276 passing yards and two touchdowns. Boyle also made a difference on the ground with 60 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

SDSU made an effort to run the ball in the second half. Jackrabbit running backs rushed for 210 yards in the second half and overtime and racked up 293 yards on the ground for the game.

“I thought our offensive line played really well,” SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier said. “[ISU] does a lot of things on defense and we were playing at one point with two guys who are not starters… I’m concerned about the two guys that got hurt, but credit to the guys that went in.”

Senior right tackle Tyler Weir and junior center Wes Genant both exited early due to injury. Both players didn’t reappear after they sustained injuries. It’s unknown if their injuries will withhold them from the Hobo Day game against Youngstown State.

Pierre Strong, Isaac Wallace and Mikey Daniel all gained 70 yards or more on the ground for the Jackrabbits. Adam Anderson was the leading receiver with 4 receptions for 57 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Next up, the Jacks will face off with the Youngstown State Penguins (2-3, 1-1) on Hobo Day.

 

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