Jackrabbits Hand Coyotes First Conference Loss
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Jackrabbits Hand Coyotes First Conference Loss

The No. 4 Coyotes (6-1,4-0) football team hosted the No. 1 Jackrabbits (7-0,4-0) in the DakotaDome on Saturday, Oct. 28. 

This year’s No. 4 ranking is tied with the 2017 Coyotes team for their highest ranking of all time. 

The matchup history between these two teams is a long and storied one with the Jackrabbits leading all time 57-53-7. 

Both teams were tied for first in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) and the winner will gain full control of first place.

The Jackrabbits won 37-3 over the Coyotes with a dominating offensive performance from junior quarterback Mark Gronowski and company.

The Coyotes got the scoring started early with a first drive field goal. The Coyotes found themselves on the Jackrabbits 33-yard line before being stopped by the defense. South Dakota’s sophomore kicker Will Leyland made a career high 50-yard field goal. That would end the scoring for the day for the Coyotes.

On the Jackrabbits second drive, Gronowski threw a  ball deep to senior wide receiver Jaxon Janke when it was picked off by South Dakota’s sophomore defensive back Shahid Barros.

The first quarter would end with the Coyotes leading 3-0.

The Jackrabbits opened up their scoring in the second quarter with a touchdown. On a trick play, the Jackrabbits handed the ball off to senior wide receiver Jadon Janke on an end around and he took it seven yards for a score.

SDSU  scored another touchdown on their next possession, this time coming from junior running back Amar Johnson. Johnson would break off multiple Coyote tackle attempts and eventually found his way in the endzone for a 20-yard rushing touchdown.  

On the ensuing possession, South Dakota’s sophomore quarterback Aiden Bouman threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted by Jackrabbits’ senior safety Tucker Large, this was Bouman’s second interception of the year.

South Dakota State took advantage of the pick, scoring a field goal to end the first half. The 49-yard field goal was scored by junior kicker Hunter Dustman, a career long.

Dustman made two more field goals coming out of the half, one from 22-yards at the 11:24 mark in the third quarter and the other from 47-yards coming at the 3:06 mark in the third. 

The first score of the fourth quarter came on another 20-yard touchdown rush from Johnson. This put the Jackrabbits ahead 30-3 with 8:25 left..

The final score of the game came off a 4-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore running back Angel Johnson. That score was set up by another Jackrabbit interception, this time from senior linebacker Isaiah Stalbird.

This final touchdown ended the game 37-3 in favor of the Jackrabbits keeping their undefeated streak on the season. 

Bouman finished the day passing wise  17 for 31 for 133 yards and two interceptions. On the other side, Gronowski passed 13 for 19 for 207 yards and an interception.  Both quarterbacks are top five in the FCS in QBR had zero touchdowns and at least an interception.

The Jackrabbits rushing attack was led by senior running back Isaiah Davis who had 17 carries for 73 yards. The two Johnsons, Amar and Angel, added over 100 yards total with three rushing touchdowns.

The Coyotes weren’t able to get any traction in the run game as junior running back Travis Theis led the way with nine carries for 29 yards and redshirt freshman running back Charles Pierre Jr. added in seven carries for 25 yards.

Defensively, the Coyotes’ senior linebacker Brock Mogensen and junior defensive back Dennis Shorter had 12 and 11 tackles, respectively.

The Jackrabbits came into the game as the No.1 offense in third down percentage and it worked out well for them as they went seven for 10 on third down.

After the win, the Jackrabbits take full control of the MVFC and move on to play North Dakota State in Brookings on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

The Coyotes now drop from tied for first to tied for second in the MVFC with Northern Iowa. They will go on the road next week to play Southern Illinois on Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Tavin Carncross | The Volante