Jackrabbits rebound with road victory

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – South Dakota State racked up more than 500 yards of total offense and carried a shutout into the fourth quarter, defeating Missouri State, 35-14, in Missouri Valley Football Conference action Saturday afternoon at Robert W. Plaster Stadium.

The Jackrabbits, ranked fourth in the STATS FCS media poll and fifth by the Football Championship Subdivision coaches, improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the MVFC. Missouri State dropped to 1-7 overall and 1-4 in league play.

SDSU put together an eight-play, 67-yard scoring drive to take a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter. A 19-yard reception by Cade Johnson pushed the ball across midfield and a 17-yard run by C.J. Wilson set up first and goal for the Jackrabbits. Freshman quarterback Keaton Heide finished off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Adam Anderson. It was Anderson's first touchdown catch of the season.

The extra point was no good.

The Heide-to-Anderson connection worked again on the next Jackrabbit scoring drive in the second quarter. The duo hooked up on a 44-yard pass play to the MSU 11, setting up Mikey Daniel's 1-yard touchdown run three plays later. SDSU converted on the two-point play as Heide hit a sliding Anderson in the back of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

SDSU couldn't add to its lead before halftime despite an interception and 16-yard return by Josh Manchigiah to the Bears' 24-yard line moments later. Two penalties preceded a missed field goal.

Meanwhile, the Jackrabbit defense limited Missouri State to nine rushing yards in the first half and forced the Bears to four three-and-outs.

The Jackrabbits upped their lead to 21-0 in the third quarter, when C.J. Wilson cut through the line for a 41-yard touchdown run. Wilson finished with 97 yards on eight carries.

Both of Missouri State's fourth-quarter touchdowns were sandwiched around a pair of Jackrabbit scores. STATS FCS Walter Payton Award candidate Cade Johnson took a forward pitch from Pierre Strong, Jr. and weaved his way through the Bears' defense for an 89-yard touchdown for the first SDSU tally of the final stanza.

Strong capped the Jackrabbit scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run, which came after Michael Griffin II came away with the third takeaway of the game by the SDSU defense by recovering a fumble at the MSU 4. Strong led a balanced rushing attack with 99 yards on 18 carries as SDSU out-gained Missouri State, 232-90, on the ground.

Jeremiah Wilson put the Bears on the board with a 57-yard touchdown run 98 seconds into the fourth quarter and Jordan Murray closed out the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown reception from Peyton Huslig.

SDSU ended the game with a 526-249 advantage in total offense. Johnson led all players with five catches for 164 yards. In his first career start, Heide completed 11-of-19 passes for 173 yards.

For Missouri State, Huslig was 15-of-32 passing for 159 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Wilson gained 87 yards on 12 carries, with Murray leading the MSU receivers with four catches for 52 yards.

The SDSU defense, which forced Missouri State to punt 10 times, was led by Seven Wilson's career-high 12 tackles. Fellow linebacker Logan Backhaus added six stops.

The Jackrabbits return home to host Illinois State in a battle of nationally-ranked teams. Kickoff for the Hall of Fame Game is slated for 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The game also has been designated as Military Appreciation Day.