BROOKINGS, S.D. – Brady Mengarelli rushed 14 times for 105 yards and three first-half touchdowns to lead the Jackrabbit offense to a 58-49 win over the defense in South Dakota State’s annual spring football game Saturday at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The performance by the offense ended a five-game winning streak by the Jackrabbit defense.
A redshirt freshman from Prescott, Ariz., Mengarelli scored on a 2-yard run on the Jackrabbits’ third offensive series, then scampered 30 yards for a touchdown to cap a nine-play, 65-yard drive on the next possession.
Mengarelli added a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter as the offense built a 27-19 halftime lead in the game, which used a scoring system that awarded points for big plays other than scoring plays.
The Jackrabbits continued to find success on the ground in the second half as Reggie Gandy scored from 34 yards out on the second offensive series of the third quarter. Gandy finished the day with 74 yards on nine carries.
The passing game got into the act on the next offensive possession as the California connection of redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Douglas hooked up with sophomore wide receiver Connor Landberg on a 21-yard touchdown.
Junior quarterback Tyler Finnes added a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jason Schneider to cap the Jackrabbit touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Finnes completed 19-of-34 passes for 127 yards, while Douglas connected on 8-of-14 passes for 91 yards. Returning starting quarterback Austin Sumner was one of several Jackrabbit regulars held out of Saturday’s game due to injury.
Schneider and Dom Wright each caught six passes for 44 yards. Landberg tallied five catches for 47 yards.
Redshirt freshman running back Bridgeport Tusler added 81 yards on 13 carries, including a 50-yard run late in the third quarter that set up a 22-yard field goal by Joe Tjosvold.
The Jackrabbit defense was led by safety Melvin Tavares with 11 total tackles, including three for loss. Shayne Gottlob registered eight tackles. The Jackrabbit defense also forced three turnovers – interceptions by Nick Farina and T.J. Lally, and a fumble recovery by Jesse Bobbit.
Saturday’s game marked the conclusion of spring practice for the Jackrabbits, who will open the 2014 season Aug. 30 at Missouri.