SDSU gets back on track with big second half at Western Illinois
Jacks outscore Leathernecks 28-7 in second half to win 41-17
MACOMB, ILL (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota State broke loose from Western Illinois with a 21-point third quarter to defeat the Fighting Leathernecks, 41-17, in a Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Hanson Field.
The Jackrabbits, who entered the game ranked seventh in the Stats Perform media poll and eighth by the Football Championship Subdivision coaches, improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in league play. WIU dropped to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the MVFC.
Holding a 13-10 halftime advantage, the Jackrabbits began to assert themselves on the opening drive of the second half. After forcing a punt after a three-and-out, Kinser Madison blocked the Leatherneck punt at the WIU 15 and Canyon Bauer scooped up the football at 9 and carried it in for a touchdown.
Although Western Illinois answered with a 15-yard touchdown run by Myles Wanza on its next drive, the Jackrabbits quickly regained the momentum with two touchdowns less than three minutes apart later in the quarter. Pierre Strong, Jr. found the end zone from 17 yards out for the first SDSU score and Jaxon Janke scored on a 21-yard pass from Chris Oladokun moments later as the Jackrabbits dominated the battle for field position in the third quarter.
Strong, who rushed 19 times for 122 yards, capped the scoring less than a minute into the fourth quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Jackrabbits drew first blood, scoring on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Oladokun to Jadon Janke midway through the first quarter.
Western Illinois would score the next 10 points over a four-minute span to take its lone lead of the game. Dennis Houston tallied for the first points for the Leathernecks on a 12-yard end-around touchdown and Mason Laramie booted a 43-yard field goal into a brisk wind.
Houston tallied a game-high 14 receptions for 71 yards.
SDSU tied the game on a 47-yard field goal by Cole Frahm and grabbed the 13-10 halftime advantage on the final play of the first half as Frahm connected again from 29 yards out.
The Jackrabbits limited WIU to 84 yards of total offense in the second half and held a 370-237 advantage for the game. SDSU’s offense was spread nearly evenly as Oladokun completed 17-of-25 passes for 195 yards and the Jackrabbits gained another 175 on the ground. Jaxon Janke caught a career-high nine passes for 101 yards to lead the receiving corps.
Western quarterback Connor Sampson was 29-of-51 passing for 207 yards.
The Jackrabbits return home to host Northern Iowa Oct. 23 on Hobo Day. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
- South Dakota State leads the all-time series, 12-5, and has won the last four meetings
- The Jackrabbits have scored 40-plus points in all six games this season
- SDSU has scored first in all six games this season; the Houston touchdown for WIU marked the first points the Jackrabbits surrendered in the first quarter in 2021
- The Janke twins scored receiving touchdowns in the same game for the second time this season (at Indiana State) and third time in their careers
- Jaxon Janke topped the 100-yard mark in receiving yards for the second time in his career
- Strong hit the century mark for the fifth time this season and 15th time in his career
- Strong moved into sixth place on the SDSU career rushing touchdowns chart with 31, breaking a time with Anthony Watson (29 touchdowns from 2003-06) and passing Scott Nedved (30 touchdowns from 1998-2002)
- Frahm upped his career field goals total to 24, passing Tony Harris (23 field goals from 1977-80), K.C. Johnson (23 from 1984-86) and Keith Witt (23 from 2002-03) for seventh place on the Jackrabbit career charts
- Attendance was 2,287
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