Jacks win overtime thriller
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - South Dakota State scored touchdowns on both of its overtime possessions, including the decisive 2-yard run by Zach Zenner, to defeat Missouri State, 43-36, in a back-and-forth Missouri Valley Football Conference game Saturday afternoon at Plaster Field.
With the double-overtime victory, the Jackrabbits improved to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in league play. Missouri State fell to 1-8 overall, 1-5 in the MVFC. SDSU closes out the home season Nov. 5, hosting Southern Illinois in the 98th Hobo Day. Kickoff is set for 2:05 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
With the score deadlocked at 29-all, Missouri State was poised to win the game near the end of regulation, but Austin Witmer's 32-yard field goal attempt from the left hash sailed wide right.
SDSU won the coin toss to start overtime and elected to go on defense. However, Missouri State regained the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Trevor Wood.
The Jackrabbits needed only one play to knot the game at 36-all as Austin Sumner connected on a 25-yard scoring strike to a diving Dale Moss. In the second overtime, Sumner completed passes of 14 yards to Aaron Rollin and eight yards to Moss to set up Zenner's game-winning touchdown.
The SDSU defense rose to the occasion in the second overtime, holding the Bears to one yard on a reverse before a pair of incomplete passes forced fourth-and-9. On the final play, MSU was whistled for holding and Wooden's scramble came up short of the first down marker, giving the Jackrabbits their first overtime victory since 1998.
The Jackrabbits wasted little time to break into the scoring column, taking the opening kickoff deep into Missouri State territory. SDSU gained first downs on four consecutive plays, highlighted by pass plays of 22 and 12 yards from Austin Sumner to Aaron Rollin. The Jackrabbit drive stalled inside the 5-yard line, with the Jackrabbits having to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Justin Syrovatka.
Likewise, Missouri State mounted a scoring drive on its opening possession. However, the Bears finished off their seven-play, 52-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Wooden to Dorian Buford.
The Bears took advantage of an SDSU turnover late in the first quarter to build their lead to 14-3. After Andrew Beisel stripped Dom Clare of the football and recovered at the Jackrabbit 27, MSU needed only one play to score as Wooden hit tight end Matt Thayer down the middle of the field.
SDSU put together its longest scoring drive of the season to close the gap to 14-9 with under six minutes to play in the first half. Sumner connected with Moss on a 48-yard pass play to set up the Jackrabbits first and goal, and Sumner hit Rollin on a slant from 5 yards out on third-and-goal for the Jackrabbits' first touchdown of the game to cap a nine-play, 94-yard drive. A pass play on the two-point conversion attempt failed.
The Jackrabbit defense held firm for the remainder of the half, but the offense couldn't capitalize on a pair of big plays. Anthony Wise's interception gave SDSU the ball near midfield, but the Jackrabbits failed to put any points on the board, missing a 43-yard field goal. Moments later, SDSU stopped the Bears on a fourth-and-1 play from the Jackrabbit 38, but couldn't come up with a first down to extend the drive.
SDSU needed only two plays to regain the lead early in the third quarter after stopping the Bears on fourth-and-1 for the second time in the game. On the first play, Sumner hooked with Rollin on a 60-yard pass, followed by a 12-yard touchdown run by Tyrel Kool. Kool was initially stopped at the line but bounced outside the right end for his third rushing touchdown of the season. Once again, the two-point attempt failed, leaving the score at 15-14.
Missouri State answered with a long drive into the wind to take back the lead. Wooden scrambled for 14 yards on third-and-10 to extend the drive, then threw his third touchdown of the game, a 15-yarder to Thayer in the right corner of the end zone.
The lead would change twice in the fourth quarter. After R.C. Kilgore partially blocked a punt deep in Missouri State territory, SDSU took a momentary 22-21 advantage as Sumner found Brandon Hubert for a 3-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal, only to have the Bears answer with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Wooden to Robert Fields, which was followed by a two-point conversion from Wooden to Cadarrius Dots.
SDSU knotted the game at 29-all on its next offensive play as Sumner lofted a pass down the left sideline to a wide-open Moss for an 80-yard touchdown.
Moss finished the game with seven catches for a career-high 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Rollin tallied eight catches for a career-high 163 yards and a score. Sumner, a redshirt freshman, topped the 300-yard mark for the fourth time in five games, tallying 377 yards and four touchdowns in a 20-of-31 performance.
Zenner led the rushing attack with 77 yards on 16 carries. Kool added 10 carries for 46 yards.
For Missouri State, Wooden accounted for 338 yards of total offense, rushing 24 times for 107 yards and tallying 231 through the air on 22-of-31 passing with a career-high four touchdowns. Jermaine Saffold, who set the MSU career receiving yards record in the game, notched seven catches for 74 yards.
Caleb Schaffitzel led the Bears with nine tackles.
NOTES: SDSU leads the all-time series, 4-0 ... the Jackrabbits improved to 2-4 in overtime games, snapping a four-game losing streak ... SDSU played its first overtime game since a 46-44, triple-overtime loss to McNeese State (La.) in the 2008 Hobo Day game ... Rollin recorded his third 100-yard receiving game of the season and fourth of his career ... Moss' 178 yards receiving were the seventh most in a game by a Jackrabbit as he topped the 100-yard mark for the second straight game and third time this season ... Moss and Rollin each recorded 100-plus receiving yards in the same game for the second time this season (Sept. 17 at Cal Poly) ... Sumner's 377 yards passing were the fourth-most in a game by a Jackrabbit quarterback ... Trevor Greger made his first career start, playing at right tackle ... Skyler Luxa drew the start at linebacker after beginning the season at safety ... attendance was 12,312 on homecoming at Missouri State