BROOKINGS, S.D. - Chase Vinatieri booted a 43-yard field goal in overtime, lifting South Dakota State to a 27-24 victory over Illinois State in a key Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
With their fourth win in a row and third consecutive against a ranked opponent, the Jackrabbits improved to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Illinois State, ranked 17th in the STATS FCS media poll and 20th by the coaches, fell to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the MVFC. SDSU entered the day ranked fifth by the FCS coaches and sixth by the media.
Vinatieri's game-winner from the left hash came after Illinois State missed a 39-yard field goal attempt wide to the left on the opening possession of overtime.
The Redbirds sent the game to overtime with a 5-yard touchdown run by James Robinson with 2 minutes and 14 seconds remaining in regulation. Robinson's score capped an 11-play, 83-yard drive that included Illinois State converted on third-and-22 from the SDSU 29 with the help of a Jackrabbit penalty.
SDSU had taken a 24-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter on an 84-yard touchdown run by quarterback Taryn Christion, who found an open seam along the right hash on his way to the end zone.
The Jackrabbits, who came up empty on the opening drive of the game thanks to an interception, opened the scoring by taking advantage of a short field after forcing Illinois State to punt on its first possession of the game. A 17-yard punt return by Marquise Lewis put the ball at the Redbird 33 and SDSU needed only one play to score as Christion connected down the middle with All-America tight end Dallas Goedert for a 33-yard touchdown. It would be Goedert's only catch of the day.
Illinois State answered on its ensuing drive with a ground-based 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. All but 12 of the Redbirds' yards on the drive came on the ground, including a 3-yard score by Robinson.
SDSU took a 17-7 lead with consecutive of scoring drives in the second quarter. Vinatieri kicked a 34-yard field and SDSU later put together an 11-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Christion to Jacob Brown.
The Jackrabbit momentum did not last long, however, as Christian Uphoff returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. After SDSU was forced to punt for the first time on the afternoon, the Redbirds drew even on the final play of the first half on a 30-yard field goal by Sean Slattery.
The defenses took over in the third quarter, with each team forcing a turnover. Ryan Earith stripped Illinois State quarterback Malachi Broadnax of the football at the Jackrabbit 26, with Kellen Soulek coming away with the recovery. The Redbirds' Adam Conley answered by tipping a Christion pass and made a diving interception. Illinois State also stuffed SDSU on fourth-and-1 from the Redbird 44 earlier in the quarter.
Earith forced another fumble in the fourth quarter during the Redbirds' game-tying drive. As a team, the Jackrabbits forced a season-high 10 tackles for loss, including four sacks.
SDSU held a 361-317 advantage in total offense. Christion completed 17-of-36 passes for 172 yards and tallied a game-high 110 yards rushing on nine carries. Jake Wieneke caught five passes for 52 yards.
For Illinois State, Robinson gained 83 yards on 15 carries, while Markel Smith added 63 yards on 10 carries. Broadnax, who had attempted only eight passes entering Saturday's game, finished the afternoon 10-of-18 passing for 102 yards and added 63 yards on the ground on 19 carries in his first career start. Christian Gibbs recorded six catches for 55 yards.
Christian Rozeboom registered a game-high 10 tackles for the Jackrabbits, followed by eight from Chris Balster. Brannon Barry notched eight tackles to lead Illinois State.
The Jackrabbits close out the regular season by traveling to nationally ranked in-state rival South Dakota. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.
* The all-time series between SDSU and Illinois State is tied, 4-4
* The Jackrabbits improved to 4-5 in overtime games
* SDSU last played an overtime game on Nov. 21, 2015, losing 30-24 in double overtime at Western Illinois
* Saturday's game marked the first overtime game played at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium
* Christion has tallied both rushing and passing touchdowns in four consecutive games
* Christion topped the 100-yard mark in rushing for the second time in his career (other: Oct. 15, 2016, in a win at North Dakota State)
* Christion moved into seventh place in single-season passing yards with 2,555 (he holds the single-season record of 3,714 in 2016)
* Rozeboom recorded double figures in tackles for the 13th time in 23 career games
* Center Jacob Ohnesorge made his 50th career start, setting a new SDSU mark for consecutive starts by an offensive lineman, which was previously held by Bryan Witzmann (2010-13)
* Attendance was 9,458