MACOMB, Illinois - South Dakota State quarterback Taryn Christion accounted for six touchdowns, including three scoring passes to Jake Wieneke, to lead the Jackrabbits to a 52-24 victory over Western Illinois in a battle of nationally ranked teams Saturday afternoon at Hanson Field.
The Jackrabbits, ranked eighth by the Football Championship Subdivision coaches and 11th in the STATS media poll, improved to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. WIU dropped to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in league play.
The reigning MVFC Offensive Player of the Year, Christion matched a career high with five touchdown passes as he finished the day 26-of-41 for a season-high 386 yards. He connected with Marquise Lewis in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game to give SDSU an early 7-0 lead.
Western Illinois scored the next 10 points to grab its only lead of the day. Nathan Erickson kicked a 45-yard field goal on the Fighting Leathernecks' first possession and WIU turned an interception of Christion by Quentin Moon into quick points as Steve McShane capped a two-play, 11-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Chase Vinatieri knotted the game at 10-all late in the first quarter with a 30-yard field.
From there, it was all Jackrabbits. Christion hooked up with Wieneke on scoring passes of 13 and 1 yards in the second quarter, which were sandwiched around a 39-yard run by McShane, to give SDSU a 24-17 halftime lead.
SDSU took full control of the contest by outscoring Western Illinois 21-0 in the third quarter. Lewis scored his second touchdown of the game by taking a short pass along the right sideline and then broke a pair of tackles while staying inbounds for a 46-yard score. That capped an eight-play, 87-yard drive in which the Jackrabbits converted on third-and-15 deep in their own territory.
Mikey Daniel scored on a 2-yard run and the Jackrabbits took advantage of a fumble to push the margin to 45-17 on a 6-yard pitch and catch from Christion to Wieneke.
After McShane scored his third touchdown of the day on a 47-yard pass from Sean McGuire, Christion tallied his final score of the day with a quarterback keeper around right end for a 1-yard touchdown.
SDSU held a 579-285 advantage in total offense. All-America tight end Dallas Goedert went over the 100-yard mark for the third game in a row with eight catches for 113 yards. Wieneke finished with season highs of eight catches for 97 yards as he took over third place on the FCS career charts with 54 touchdown receptions.
Brady Mengarelli led the Jackrabbit rushing attack with 70 yards on 12 carries, while Daniel rushed 12 times for 66 yards and Christion added 37 yards on eight attempts.
Christian Rozeboom, who recovered the third-quarter fumble and added an interception in the fourth quarter, registered 10 tackles. Jordan Brown forced a fumble and contributed eight tackles.
For WIU, McShane racked up 90 rushing yards on 12 carries and caught three passes for 66 yards. McGuire completed 13-of-20 passes for 155 yards, while Jaelon Acklin contributed six catches for 59 yards.
Brett Taylor finished with a game-high 14 tackles for Western Illinois, followed by 13 for David Griffith.
The Jackrabbits return home to face North Dakota State in the annual Battle for the Dakota Marker. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
* SDSU leads the all-time series, 10-5
* The Jackrabbits have outscored WIU by a combined 104-38 in their last two meetings
* SDSU improved to 28-39 against ranked FCS opponents since moving to the subdivision in 2004, including an 18-16 marked against ranked MVFC foes since joining the league in 2008
* The Jackrabbits topped the 50-point mark for the fourth time this season and are averaging 49.3 points per game in their six victories
* SDSU has now won six or more games in 12 of its 14 seasons as an FCS member
* Christion went over the 7,000-yard mark in career passing (7,054) and 8,000-yard mark in career total offense (8,040) - totals which both rank second in program history
* Christion threw five touchdown passes in a game for the fourth time in his career and moved into second place on the SDSU career charts with 58, passing Ryan Berry (56 touchdown passes from 2005-08)
* Wieneke broke a tie with Terrell Hudgins for third place in FCS receiving touchdowns with Terrell Hudgins (52 for Elon from 2006-09)
* Wieneke moved into fourth place in FCS career receiving yards with 4,674, passing New Hampshire's David Ball (4,655 yards from 1995-98)
* Rozeboom recorded his 12th career double-digit tackling performances in 21 career games
* Wieneke recorded the 15th multi-touchdown game of his career and his second three-touchdown performance game against Western Illinois
* Daniel has rushed for a touchdown in four straight games
* Attendance was 2,247