South Dakota State Football Falls at Home to Illinois State

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Illinois State scored on four consecutive second-half possessions and forced three turnovers in the final 17 minutes to defeat South Dakota State, 27-18, Saturday afternoon in a battle of nationally ranked Missouri Valley Football Conference teams at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

Both teams ended the day 7-3 overall and with 4-2 records in the MVFC.

Illinois State, ranked 11th in the STATS FCS media poll and 12th by the Football Championship Subdivision coaches, scored three times – a pair of field goals and a touchdown – in the fourth quarter. The longest scoring drive by the Redbirds in the final stanza covered only 18 yards as they capitalized on an interception and two fumbles.

SDSU grabbed its first lead of the game midway through the second quarter as freshman quarterback Keaton Heide connected with Adam Anderson in the back right corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown.

The Jackrabbits wasted an interception by Logan Backhaus at the Illinois State 33 later in the second quarter, coming up empty when a fake field goal attempt went awry.

Illinois State drew back to within a point at 11-10 on a field goal seconds before halftime, stringing together a nine-play, 66-yard drive that consumed less than two minutes.

SDSU increased its lead to 18-10 on its opening drive of the second half. A 23-yard catch and run on third-and-11 by Jaxon Janke and a 10-yard run by Heide later in the drive set up Pierre Strong, Jr.’s 4-yard touchdown run. Also a candidate for the Walter Payton Award, Strong went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season in Saturday’s game, but was held in check with only 29 yards on 12 carries.

Mikey Daniel led the Jackrabbits with 40 yards on 10 carries.

Overall, Illinois State held a 302-260 advantage in total offense. Davis completed 11-of-17 passes for 165 yards. Tanner Taula led Redbird receivers with three catches for 47 yards.

For SDSU, Heide finished the day 15-of-25 passing for 171 yards. Cade Johnson caught a career-high 11 passes for 74 yards.

Rozeboom ended the afternoon with a season-high 14 tackles. Backhaus added six stops.

The Jackrabbits close out the home portion of their regular season schedule by hosting another highly ranked opponent in Northern Iowa. Kickoff for the Nov. 16 matchup is set for 2 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

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