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South Dakota State Beats Western Illinois 38-14

Western Illinois University
Western Illinois University

After three straight losses, the South Dakota State football team rediscovered the win column with a 38-14 victory at Western Illinois Saturday.

The game plan seemed simple for the Jackrabbits, let the defense take it away on the offense cash in.

Four plays into the game SDSU had its first takeaway when Je Ryan Butler intercepted Trenton Norvell and the Jacks were in business at the WIU 34.

The offense did its part in six plays with Austin Sumner throwing to Cam Jones for a 24-yard touchdown and a 7-0 SDSU lead.

They weren’t off the field very long, because Winston Wright picked Norvell off on the very next play at the Leathernecks 28.

The Jackrabbit offense knew just what to do with it, and on fourth and goal from the one, Sumner to Jason Schneider for the score.  14-0 SDSU.

After a WIU three-and-out, the Jacks mounted another scoring drive, capped by a Justin Syrovatka 48 yard field goal to push the advantage to 17-0, 11 minutes into the game.

On the first three drives, Sumner was 7-of-9 thru the air.

The SDSU defense knew coming in that stopping the WIU rushing attack was a key to the game, and in the second quarter they found out why, when the Leathernecks put together an 80-yard drive, 73 on the ground, including a J.C. Baker three yard run for a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-7 at halftime.

The Jacks had chances to put the game away early the third, but Sumner was picked off at midfield on the first possession, and then Syrovatka missed a 23-yard field goal on the next possession.

On SDSU’s next possession, the Jacks benefited from great field position, fielding a punt on their own 48, and the offense used a Sumner to Schneider 35 yard pass to move it to the 10, and then found the end zone two plays later when Sumner found Vince Benedetto for a 5-yard touchdown and a 24-7 lead.

WIU had a quick answer when Norvell hit on passes on 25 and 33 yards to start the next drive which ended with a Baker touchdown 1-yard TD run and the SDSU lead was cut to 24-14.

South Dakota State’s talented running back Zach Zenner netted just 20 yards rushing on his first 15 carries, but on carry number 16 he broke off an 80-yard touchdown, and the Jacks extended the lead to 31-14 after the one play scoring drive.

The fourth quarter began a lot like the first, with a SDSU takeaway leading to points when Wright grabbed his second pick of the day, and Zenner added his second score of the day on a 1-yard run four plays later.  Zenner finished the day with 133 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Sumner was 21-of-35 for 265 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.

The SDSU defense allowed Baker to run for 112 yards and two scores, but forced four turnovers.

The Jackrabbits play at Missouri State next Saturday at 1:00pm.

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