Late game heroics lead Jacks to victory

Football

Football

It was a day of second chances for SDSU.

As expected, the No. 18 ranked SDSU Jackrabbits and the No. 20 University of Northern Iowa Panthers played some riveting football into the final minutes of the game, keeping fans at the UNI Dome on the edge of their seats Saturday night in Cedar Falls, Iowa as the Jackrabbits defeated the Panthers 31-28.

Jason Schneider came up with a 40-yard game-saving- one-handed catch. and then Justin Syrovatka drilled a 44- yard field goal to take a 31-28 lead with two minutes left in the game.

“Jason Schneider converted that [route] to a fade, I think we threw a weak ball and didn’t get it out there enough,” said head coach John Stiegelmeier during the post-game press conference. “I’d love to see that

replay because I think it’s a phenomenal catch. That’s the kind of player he is.”

Schneider ended the night with a team-high of nine receptions for 117 yards.

On the defensive side, Melvin Taveras sealed the game, intercepting Brion Carnes for his second interception of the season with 50 seconds left in the game.

“I’ve got faith in our defense,” Stiegelmeier said. “I mean we have a bunch of hard working guys and some coaches that work their tails off and have done a great job this year so far.”

After SDSU struck first with a first quarter touchdown, the Panthers owned the second quarter of Saturday’s game, scoring two touchdowns including a 50-yard touchdown run by David Johnson. to go into the half up seven.

The Jackrabbits would go ahead by two touchdowns on

a one-yard Zach Zenner run with just under nine minutes left in the game, but UNI’s Charles Brown caught a pass on fourth down with less than six minutes to go in the game to keep UNI in it by giving them a first down. UNI’s Johnson punched in a two- yard touchdown closing the gap on SDSU. Brown caught five passes for 43 yards, tying a team high for the night with teammates Chad Owens and Johnson.

UNI recovered an onside kick with about five minutes left in the game to give them a chance to tie it up, but SDSU’s Jack Sherlock ended the UNI drive with a sack on fourth and six near midfield.

“I had to come back and prove something,” Sherlock said. “UNI’s offensive line is always fundamentally sound … I had something to prove today.”

Then, with less than four minutes to play, UNI’s Ray

Mitchell intercepted a tipped ball on a forced pass from Zach Lujan and ran it back 58 yards for the tying touchdown, at 28 all. Then came Schneider’s heroics.

Lujan ended the game 21-38 on passing attempts with 223 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

The Panthers defense didn’t give Zenner very much running room in the first half despite being on the field quite a bit and limited Zenner to 80 yards on 29 carries for the game.

Even so Zenner became the second Jackrabbit to cross the 1,000-yard mark in three consecutive seasons, joining Kyle Minett as he helped improve SDSU to 5-2 overall on the season while the Panthers dropped to 3-4 on the year.

SDSU will play at home Oct. 25 for Hobo Day against Youngstown State at 2 p.m. in Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.