Jacks run winning streak to four
BROOKINGS - The South Dakota State defense forced five turnovers and Zach Zenner again ran for more than 100 yards as the 25th-ranked Jackrabbit football team ran its winning streak to four games with a 17-7 victory over Missouri State in the 46th Annual Beef Bowl Saturday night at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
Playing before a crowd of 14,186, the Jackrabbits improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Missouri State remained winless at 0-5 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The nation's leading rusher, Zenner put the Jackrabbits on the board midway through the first quarter as he broke through the middle en route to an 88-yard touchdown run.
SDSU took advantage of a short punt to push the lead to 10-0 with 2 minutes, 34 seconds to play in the first half on a 23-yard field goal by Justin Syrovatka.
Missouri State quickly came back to cut the margin back to a field goal before the end of the half. Ryan Heaston gained 31 yards on the ground before Ashton Glaser completed a 28-yard pass to Julian Burton that set the Bears up first and goal from the Jackrabbit 3. Two plays later, Glaser completed the five-play, 62-yard drive that took 74 seconds with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Jackrabbits failed to capitalize on a pair of Bear turnovers in the third quarter, missing a 32-yard field goal and throwing an interception of their own after Outstanding Player of the Beef Bowl Ross Shafrath recorded his second interception of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, SDSU did turn a turnover into points. Chris Tracy picked off a Glaser pass at the MSU 24 and moments later Austin Sumner connected with Brandon Hubert on an 8-yard touchdown pass across the middle. Sumner was 3-for-3 on the drive to account for all 24 yards.
Mistakes continued to plague the Bears as they missed a 33-yard field goal and threw their fourth interception on their next two fourth-quarter possessions. The final MSU drive of the game ended at the Jackrabbit 3-yard line as time expired.
Total offense was nearly even between the two teams as the Jackrabbits held a five-yard advantage, 386-381. SDSU's balanced offense featured 194 yards through the air as Sumner completed 17-of-27 passes, but was intercepted three times. Zenner carried the ball 30 times for 182 yards.
Aaron Rollin caught four passes for 40 yards, while Hubert added four catches for 38 yards.
For Missouri State, Ryan Heaston picked up 148 yards on 20 carries and added a team-high five receptions for 35 yards. Glaser finished the night 15-of-39 passing for 158 yards.
Shafrath led the Jackrabbit defense with 12 tackles and added a pass breakup to go along with his two interceptions. T.J. Lally added 10 stops and a forced fumble.
Missouri State's Nate Davis led all players with 14 tackles, including a sack.
The Jackrabbits will have a week off before resuming league action Oct. 13 by hosting Western Illinois in the annual Hall of Fame Game. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
NOTES: South Dakota State leads the all-time series 5-0 ... the Jackrabbits have won seven consecutive games against Football Championship Subdivision opponents dating back to last season, including five straight Missouri Valley Football Conference games ... SDSU improved to 23-11 in MVFC games since joining the league at the start of the 2008 season ... Zenner ended the day with 1,077 rushing yards for the season ... Zenner has topped the 100-yard mark in the first half of all five games this season ... SDSU intercepted four passes in a game for the first time since a 2008 game at Stephen F. Austin (Texas) ... each team committed five turnovers, including one on the same play as the Jackrabbits fumbled after picking off their fourth pass of the evening ... Missouri State held a 223-194 advantage in net team rushing yards ... the Jackrabbit defense did not record a sack after tallying a total of 17 over the last three games ... Missouri State was flagged 10 times for 99 yards, while the Jackrabbits committed 11 penalties for 95 yards ... Shafrath has been the team's leading tackler in all five games this season and has recorded double figures in tackles in six of the last eight games dating back to 2011 ... Rollin recorded his 100th career catch, ending the day with 103 career receptions ... attendance was 14,186