SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –
South Dakota State rode an efficient ground attack that gashed Missouri State for seven rushing touchdowns to a 62-30 Missouri Valley Football Conference victory over the Bears Saturday afternoon at Robert W. Plaster Stadium.
SDSU (5-2, 2-2 MVFC) scored three times in the opening quarter to establish and early double-digit lead, including two of Mikey Daniel's four rushing TDs on the day. The Jackrabbits racked up 591 yards of total offense on the afternoon, using a string of 21 unanswered points to open the second half to turn a seven-point affair into a runaway victory.
Brady Mengarelli led the SDSU rushing attack with 115 yards on just 11 carries, scoring two touchdowns for the Jacks. Quarterback Taryn Christion added 382 yards of total offense thanks to a 14-of-19 passing effort for 323 yards and two TDs, while Dallas Goedert led all receivers with eight catches for 170 yards.
For their part, the Bears (1-6, 0-4 MVFC) tallied 448 yards of offense, including a season-best 235-yard rushing game that was powered by Peyton Huslig
's 123 yards. The MSU quarterback also accounted for 189 yards through the air on 17-of-24 passing, while Deion Holliman
and Malik Earl
each reeled in six catches for a combined total of 132 receiving yards.
Missouri State stood toe-to-toe with the 13th-ranked Jackrabbits early in the game, as the two offenses combined to rack up 575 yards of total offense and 61 points in the opening half. Cade Johnson set the tone for the early offensive fireworks with a 61-yard return of the opening kickoff, setting up the first of three one-yard SDSU scoring runs in the half that gave the visitors a 6-0 edge just two minutes into the game.
Huslig, who completed 11-of-14 passes for 130 yards over the game's first 30 minutes, hooked up with Earl on a 44-yard completion that led to a Zach Drake
But the Jackrabbits would need just one play to extend their lead to double digits, getting a 57-yard scoring burst from Mengarelli to make it a 13-3 contest.
A pair of career-best explosive runs from Holliman and Jason Randall
kept the Bears in the game. Holliman's stop-and-go 63-yard return of a Brady Hale punt late in the first quarter pulled the Bears to within three points, and Randall dashed untouched to the endzone from 68 yards out, after Daniel capped a 63-yard SDSU drive with his second rushing touchdown of the half. Christion followed by finishing off a 75-yard scoring march with another one-yard TD rush for the Jacks, once again stretching the margin to 10 points.
Huslig carried the load on MSU's ensuing drive, picking up 24 yards on the ground before completing three straight passes to cover the final 26 yards. His seven-yard pass to Erik Furmanek
with 5:11 to play in the half drew the Bears to within 27-24.
But the Jacks turned in their longest drive of the day with a 10-play drive covering 75 yards to reaffirm their 10-point edge. Christion connected with Goedert three times for a total of 48 yards, including a 32-yarder that set up a seven-yard scoring toss to Johnson with just 28 seconds left in the half.
After Drake's season-long 48-yard field goal brought the Bears back to within seven points to close the half, SDSU registered perhaps the key sequence of the day on the initial drive of the third quarter. With MSU electing to go for a first down on a fourth and one at their own 34, Christian Rozeboom and Ryan Earith stopped Huslig for no gain to hand the ball back to their offense. Christion found Goedert for a 23-yard completion on the next play from scrimmage, and Daniel carried it over the goal line from two yards out on a fourth-and-one call.
The Jacks would score on their next three offensive possessions as well, getting two more rushing touchdowns from Mengarelli and Daniel, as well as a 42-yard scoring strike to Goedert to account for the final margin.
Defensively, Rozeboom led all tacklers with 19 stops to go along with a forced fumble. McNeece Egbim
paced the MSU defense with 10 tackles, and Kurran Blamey
added a season-high nine stops.
Up next, the Bears will welcome Indiana State to Plaster Stadium for a 2 p.m. homecoming contest next Saturday (Oct. 28).
Postgame Notes: Deion Holliman
's 63-yard punt return marked the third—and longest—of his MSU career and his school-record-tying fifth overall kick return for a TD, matching Cornelius Perry's 52-year-old Bears career record of five punt/kickoff returns for touchdowns…Jason Randall
's second-quarter, 68-yard TD run represented a career long rush and his second of the season; his 85 total rushing yards marked a season high and the second-best total of his MSU career…Peyton Huslig
's 123 rushing yards represented a career high and the second-best rushing day for a Bear this season…MSU's 235 rushing yards as a team was its best single-game total since its 2016 season-opener vs. Southwestern (321)…The loss marked the 500th in the history of the Missouri State program…The Bears saw their all-time record at Plaster Stadium dip to 211-167-12.