Sumner led Jacks fall to NDSU


NDSU scored four second half touchdowns against the Jacks and scored on every second half possession until finally taking a knee to end the game.

Senior quarterback Austin Sumner returned to the field for the Jackrabbits, guiding them to halftime lead, but the NDSU offense could not be stopped in the second half and rallied the Bison to a 37-17 victory for the Dakota Marker.

Despite Sumner’s return, the first half belonged largely to the defenses. SDSU could do little moving the ball early, but J.T. Hassell’s interception of Carson Wentz set the Jacks up in Bison territory. After stalling offensively, they settled for a Justin Syrovatka field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

NDSU responded, tying the game with a field goal on their next possession and then taking a 6-3 lead late in the second quarter, having stifled the Jackrabbits offensively.

Getting the ball with less than two minutes to play in the half seemed to spark The SDSU offense. On third and two on their own 24, Zach Zenner broke loose for 34 yards to give Jacks a chance to score heading into the break. Sumner then took advantage on the next play, hitting Jake Wieneke for a 42-yard touchdown pass to take the lead.

Since SDSU elected to receive to start the game NDSU got the ball out of halftime and marched 88 yards down the field in 12 plays to reestablish the lead.

“Being down 10-6 and them just scoring to get ahead, I thought the first drive was going to be critical on both sides of the ball and we were able to march in,” said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman.

The Jackrabbits got it down to the NDSU 40 on the following drive, but failed to convert a fourth and one, giving the ball back to the Bison who emerged from a nine play 60 yard drive with another touchdown and a 20-10 lead with the third quarter winding down.

SDSU answered, using a balanced attack of runs by Zenner and Brady Mengarelli and passes from Sumner to Larves Jones to set up a one-yard touchdown run for Zenner out of the shotgun.

“We gave Zach a little better chance with some scheme things,” said head coach John Stiegelmeier. “I’m proud of the fat guys on a number of those plays and obviously Zach is a phenomenal football player.”

Nevertheless, the Jackrabbit defense could not hold and NDSU responded with another clock draining drive, this time going 11 plays and 71 yards in which the Jacks could not slow down the Bison rushing attack as Wentz joined running back John Crockett in the 100-yard rushing club.

“We need to rise up and hold the line of scrimmage,” Stiegelmeier said. “Any time it’s between second and five and second and one you know they were controlling the line. We didn’t get it done. … We got outphysicalled in the end there.”

The Jacks slipped up on the next drive as Sumner’s pass bounced off Trevor Wesley and found its way into the hands of Colten Heagle.

NDSU only managed a field goal, but did manage to take more time on the clock, putting the pressure on the Jacks to score two touchdowns in four and half minutes.

SDSU could not answer, instead coughing up the ball on a third and five when Sumner was sacked for the fourth time, allowing NDSU to burn down the clock and put the game out of reach with another touchdown.

Zenner finished the game with 96 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries while Sumner guided the Jacks to 162 yards and a touchdown through the air, completing 14 of 27.

The Bison did better, tallying 405 yards, 290 of them coming on the ground as Crockett rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries and Wentz finished with 100 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and passed for 115 yards and a touchdown.

“We knew we had to run the ball in the second half if we were going to win the game,” Klieman said.

T.J. Lally led the SDSU defense, finishing with 20 tackles and one tackle for loss.

“T.J. is a really good football player, a great leader,” Stiegelmeier said. “They gave us a lot of different looks and he was able to get us lined up the right way for the most part. He’s just a good football player, a really good football player.”

Kyle Emanuel had 10 tackles and four sacks for NDSU.

The loss gives SDSU four losses on the season, forcing them to win out to be in the discussion for a playoff berth. When it comes to NDSU, the SDSU senior class will depart never having beaten the Bison as NDSU wins its 33rd straight football game.

Next up is a trip to face the Indiana State Sycamores on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 12 p.m.