SPRINGFIELD – No. 4 South Dakota State got back in the win column Saturday when they defeated Missouri State 35-14. The Jackrabbits outgained the Bears 526-249 and had 232 rushing yards.
It was the first career start for freshman quarterback Keaton Heide. He finished the game with 11-for-19 with 173 yards and two touchdowns. SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier was pleased with Heide’s first career start.
“I thought he played very well,” Stiegelmeier said. “We put some pressure on him by not getting calls in or personnel in on time. That’s something we can control. But he made some good throws.”
Heide said the game slowed down for him as it progressed.
“After the first quarter, first couple series, getting some hits into me. Becoming more comfortable in the pocket and having trust in my teammates just made everything easier,” Heide said.
The story of the game was the Jackrabbit defense. The Bears did not get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter and SDSU forced 10 punts and seven three-and-outs on 15 drives. The Jacks also forced three turnovers.
“I’m really pleased (with the defense). We got our starters out and had some second and third stringers in when they got some yards and points. But those guys have to step up because they are one play away from being the first string guys … I think our defensive staff did a phenomenal job this game,” Stiegelmeier said.
MSU’s quarterback Peyton Huslig went 15-for-32 with 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Bears had 90 rushing yards, which is higher than their 61.9 per game average. Jeremiah Wilson led MSU with 87 yards and a touchdown.
SDSU came into the game second in the Missouri Valley in rushing yards per game meanwhile MSU was last in the conference in rush yards given up per game. Things stayed the same as the Jacks racked up 232 rushing yards.
Pierre Strong Jr. led the way with 18 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. C.J. Wilson had 97 yards on eight carries and had a 41-yard touchdown run. Mikey Daniel also had a touchdown.
“Honestly we would all say that it seemed kind of hard initially. The we broke some plays and you just wear away at them. You get some plays. Those guys are all good players,” Stiegelmeier said.
The biggest play of the game came in the fourth quarter when SDSU was on their own 11 yard line. Strong took a direct snap and shovel passed it to Cade Johnson who then took it 89 yards to the house and gave the Jacks a 28-7 lead.
“You gotta be ready to make the play. You have to be ready to play like it’s your last play. I know that sounds monotonous over and over and over, but that’s the secret. What a huge play by our offense. Lot of great blocking down field,” Stiegelmeier said.
Johnson finished with five catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. Adam Anderson had three catches for 62 yards and a score.
The kicking woes continued for SDSU’s Chase Vinatieri. He missed an extra point on the Jacks’ first touchdown and missed a 35-yard field goal later in the game. That prompted Stiegelmeier to let sophomore Cole Frahm attempt a field goal. He missed as well, but there was a penalty that continued the SDSU drive.
“I thought [Frahm] that opportunity and he missed it and owned up to it. Both are good kickers, they just have to get their confidence back. We’re running out of time. They need to do it this week,” Stiegelmeier said.
Vinatieri has now missed four extra points this season and is 7-for-13 on field goal attempts.
Even with the blowout victory, Stiegelmeier was still upset with the amount of penalties the Jackrabbits had. SDSU had nine penalties for 67 yards.
“Just be disaplined. Our corners, if the guy can’t get away from you. Let him go. Play him tight and try to get an interception. Don’t interfere with him. Just do your job and do it legally,
“ he said.
The Jacks now have three games left and every game is a big one if they want to get a top-eight seed and first round bye in the FCS Playoffs. The first test will be No. 7 Illinois State at home who just lost to No. 9 Northern Iowa 27-10 Saturday.
“Can’t wait to get home. Can’t wait to see the fans show up like they did last Saturday and help support the Jackrabbits. It’s going to be a great atmosphere and a great chance to help us out. We got a chance to be a top-eight seed. We need everybody on board to help us out,” Stiegelmeier said.
The FCS Playoff committee will announce its top-10 ranking on Wednesday night at halftime of the Miami (Ohio) and Ohio game on ESPNU. The 24-team bracket will be announced on
Sun, Nov. 24 at 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU.
No. 4 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 35, Missouri State 14
SDSU (7-2, 4-1) 6 8 7 14
MSU (1-7, 1-4) 0 0 0 14
SDSU – Adam Anderson 10 pass from Keaton Heide (Chase Vinatieri kick failed), 7:09
SDSU – Mikey Daniel 1 run (Anderson pass), 4:56
SDSU – C.J. Wilson 41 run (Vinatieri kick), 3:45
MSU – Jeremiah Wilson 57 run (Parker Lacina kick), 13:22
SDSU – Cade Johnson 89 pass from Pierre Strong Jr. (Vinatieri kick), 11:15
SDSU – Strong Jr. 1 run (Vinatieri kick), 6:07
MSU – Jordan Murray 32 pass from Peyton Huslig (Lacina kick), 2:53
First Downs 18 15
Plays-Yards 65-526 61-249
Rushes-Yards 42-232 29-90
C-A-Int.-Yards 14-23-0-294 15-32-2-159
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-77 5-40
Punts-Avg.-I20-TB 5-42-2-0 10-41.3-2-1
Kickoffs-Avg.-TB 6-58-3 3-51-0
Punt Returns-Yards-TD 1-4-0 0-0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards-TD 3-33-0 2-22-0
INT Returns-Yards-TD 2-16-0 0-0-0
Fumble Returns-Yards-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 0 0
Possession Time 32:46 27:14
Third-down Conversions 4-11 2-13
Fourth-down Conversions 0-1 0-0
Red Zone 3-5 0-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-14 0-0
Field Goals 0-1 0-0
RUSHING: SDSU – Pierre Strong Jr. 18-99, C.J. Wilson 8-97, Mikey Daniel 8-18, Blair Mulholland 1-11, Keaton Heide 3-9, Kanin Nelson 1-1, Cade Johnson 1-1. MSU – Jeremiah Wilson 12-87, Myron Mason 3-6, Donovan Daniels 3-3, Damoriea Vick 1- -2, Peyton Huslig 10- -4.
PASSING: SDSU – Keaton Heide 11-19-0-173, Pierre Strong Jr. 2-2-0-108, Kanin Nelson 1-2-0-13. MSU – Peyton Huslig 15-32-2-159.
RECEIVING: SDSU – Cade Johnson 5-164, Adam Anderson 3-62, Deyon Campbell 2-25, Blake Kunz 1-24, Jaxon Janke 2-21, Pierre Strong Jr. 1- -2. MSU – Jordan Murray 4-52, Damoriea Vick 2-28, Tyler Currie 3-23, Armand Baker 1-17, Ja’Ron Burks 1-14, Lorenzo Thomas 1-13, Kendall Stewart 1-7, Antwan Woods 1-6, DJ Frost 1- -1.
DEFENSE: SDSU – Seven Wilson 12 tackles, TFL; Logan Backhaus 6 tackles, TFL; Josh Manchigiah 4 tackles, INT; Quinton Hicks 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks; Ryan Earith 3 tackles, 0.5 sack; Xavier Ward 3 tackels, sack; Michael Griffin 2 tackles, FR; Diamond Evans INT. MSU – McNeece Egbim 10 tackeles; Jaylen Henderson 9 tackles, FF; Angelo Garbutt 7 tackles, TFL, FR; Kam Carter 7 tackles, 0.5 TFL, FF; Austin Henderson 3 tackles, FR.
A – 5,108