South Dakota State football falls 24-9 to Cedar Falls

Andrew Holtan

South Dakota State was averaging 48.4 points and 529.6 yards per game. Today, against Northern Iowa the No. 2-ranked Jackrabbits were held to 376 yards and fell to the No. 25 Panthers 24-9 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“We didn’t finish,” said head coach John Stiegelmeier. “We did have some good things happen offensively, especially early in the game.”

Senior quarterback Taryn Christion struggled all day to find a rhythm, completing 25 of his 50 pass attempts for 325 yards and two interceptions.

The Jacks outgained the Panthers 376 to 326 yards, but could only come away with three field goals.

SDSU scored a field goal on its first possession of the game to take a 3-0 lead but were behind 14-3 heading into the fourth quarter. The Jacks cut the lead to 14-9 midway through the fourth quarter with a pair of field goals from kicker Chase Vinatieri. One of which was a career-long 57-yarder, that tied a school record.

SDSU would attempt an onside kick after the Vinatieri field goal, but it was unsuccessful.

“If we get the onside, we’re geniuses,” Stiegelmeier said. “…We play to win and it was there. He just didn’t get the kick the way we wanted him to.”

The Panthers kicked a field goal to make it 17-9 with 3:53 left in the game and Christion was intercepted by Xavier Williams with 23 seconds left. Williams returned it for a touchdown to make it 24-9.

The Panthers had 154 rushing yards and were led by Marcus Weymiller who had 108 yards on 20 attempts. Quarterback Eli Dunne completed 13-22 for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

This was the first game for the SDSU without senior running back Isaac Wallace, who was leading the team in rushing but is out for the season after dislocating his hip and having surgery.

Wallace’s absence was a big one, as the Jacks only had 51 rushing yards. The Jacks were also without their starting right tackle Tyler Weir and starting right guard Wes Genant.

“We are so beat up right now, it’s unbelievable. We have to just send the next guy out and he attempts to make a play,” Stiegelmeier said.

Sophomore wide receiver Cade Johnson had seven receptions for 121 yards and freshman tight end Blake Kunz had three receptions for 72 yards.

The Jacks fall to 4-2 and 2-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They were set up to have a top-four seed in the FCS Playoffs heading into today if they won out. Now, they need to focus on winning out to get a top-eight seed and that is not guaranteed.

The Panthers improve to 4-2 and 3-1 in the MVFC. They will head to Macomb, Illinois, next weekend to take on the Western Illinois Leathernecks.

SDSU will stay on the road, as they travel to Normal, Illinois next weekend and will face the Illinois State Redbirds who fell to North Dakota State 28-14 earlier today.