South Dakota State wide receivers Dale Moss and Aaron Rollin each caught two touchdown passes and collected more than 100 receiving yards in leading the Jackrabbit football team to a 45-34 victory over Southern Illinois in the 98th Hobo Day game Saturday at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
The Jackrabbits improved to 4-6 overall and 3-4 in Missouri Valley Football Conference action. SIU dropped its sixth consecutive game, falling to 2-7 overall and 1-6 in league play.
SDSU put together its most impressive offensive half of the season, racking up 35 points and 325 yards of total offense. The Jackrabbits set the tone by scoring on their first offensive possession of the game, taking advantage of a Saluki fumble to march 60 yards on seven plays. Rollin capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Austin Sumner at the 9-minute, 45-second mark of the first quarter.
SIU capitalized on an interception deep in Jackrabbit territory to draw even at 7-all. Mike McElroy recorded the first of his two interceptions on the day, giving the Salukis the ball at the SDSU 10. Two plays later, Jewel Hampton scored from a yard out.
Rollin put the Jackrabbits on top for good moments, scoring from 44 yards out on a pass from Sumner. After forcing a three-and-out on the next SIU possession during which the Jackrabbits used timeouts to force the Salukis to punt into the wind, the Jackrabbit quick-strike offense clicked again. Sumner hit Moss on a 37-yard pass play on the final play of the first quarter to move the ball to the SIU 11 and Tyrel Kool scored from a yard out 77 seconds into the second quarter to make the score 21-7.
Following a Saluki touchdown of a 1-yard pass from Kory Faulkner to MyCole Pruitt, the Brandon connection of Sumner and Moss got into high gear. On the Jackrabbits' first play from scrimmage, Sumner hit Moss in the left flat and ran past the SIU defense for a 71-yard touchdown. The pair connected again with eight seconds remaining in the half on a 4-yard touchdown pass, capping a 15-play, 80-yard drive that was extended when punter Jason Schlautman ran for 18 yards and a first down after an off-target snap.
Sumner completed 11-of-20 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as SDSU led 35-14 at intermission.
The momentum shifted in favor of SIU in the third quarter. The Salukis blocked a punt and intercepted two passes - one of which came on a botched trick-play attempt by Rollin - to pull to within 35-28 heading into the final quarter. Hampton scored on a 56-yard run immediately after McElroy's second interception of the game, and Faulkner added a 1-yard quarterback sneak to cap an 8-play, 40-yard drive after Sumner was picked off for the second time on the afternoon.
However, the Jackrabbits stemmed the tide with a scoring drive that bridged the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth. Rollin turned a short catch into a 49-yard gain to give SDSU first-and-goal from the 4-yard line and backup running back Dom Clare muscled his way into the end zone on the next play to give SDSU a 42-28 advantage.
SIU mounted one last scoring drive, with Faulkner scoring from 15 yards out on fourth-and-1 with 3:38 to play. However, pressure from the outside by Bo Helm forced the Salukis to hook their extra-point attempt, leaving the score at 42-34.
Zach Zenner moved the ball into Saluki territory with a 38-yard run on the first play of the next Jackrabbit drive. With the ball at the SIU 30 and the wind at their back, on fourth down the Jackrabbits opted for a long field goal attempt rather than punt. Justin Syrovatka came through with a career-long 47-yarder to seal the Jackrabbit victory.
A candidate for the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision, Sumner topped the 300-yard mark for the fifth time in six games by completing 16-of-28 passes for 328 yards. He tied a career high with the four touchdowns.
Moss finished the afternoon with five receptions for 139 yards, while Rollin caught five balls for 133 yards. Zenner led the ground game with 59 yards on 14 carries.
Hampton finished the game with 28 carries for 167 yards to lead the Saluki offense. Faulkner completed 13-of-32 passes for 162 yards and gained another 50 on the ground on 15 carries. Pruitt led SIU receivers with six catches for 83 yards.
The Jackrabbits close out the season Nov. 12 at Western Illinois.
NOTES: The all-time series is tied at 2-2 ... SDSU recorded its second consecutive victory over SIU ... game attendance was 12,147 ... the Jackrabbits ended the home season with a 2-3 record, losing all three games to ranked opponents ... average season attendance was 12,105 - the second highest in program history - as all five home games drew at least 10,000 fans ... SDSU improved to 58-35-5 on Hobo Day, including 12-3 under head coach John Stiegelmeier ... Rollin recorded his second consecutive 100-yard game and fourth of the season, moving into eighth on the SDSU charts for single season receptions (56) and ninth in receiving yards (837) ... Moss notched his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game and fourth of the season, moving into seventh in single-season receiving yards (861) and a tie for 10th in receptions (54) ... Sumner stands 51 yards away from joining the Jackrabbit single-season passing yardage top 10 ... Anthony Wise recorded an interception for the second consecutive game and Winston Wright broke up three passes... Andy Mink notched a sack for the fifth time in six games ... Zenner tallied 142 all-purpose yards (59 rushing, 83 on kickoff returns)