FCS Playoffs: South Dakota State, Snow Overwhelm Duquesne 51-6

SDSU’s Pierre Strong, Jr. scores on a long touchdown run during the Jackrabbits 51-6 win over Duquesne. Courtesy of Argus Leader

BROOKINGS, S.D.–On a day with snowy and windy conditions, fifth playoff seeded South Dakota State raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead and easily beat Duquesne 51-6 in the Division I FCS second round contest in front of 3,042 in attendance at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

“We knew it was going to snow,” said SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier. “But I honestly think our guys don’t think about it. They embrace whatever weather we have and have fun playing the game they love.”

SDSU (9-2) took the opening kickoff and capped the drive off when Taryn Christion hit Cade Johnson 43-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-0.

Early in the second quarter, the SDSU offense converted a Dukes’ turnover into points when Isaiah Hill turned a reverse into a 23-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead.

After Duquesne (9-4) turned the ball over on downs, the Jackrabbits were back in the end zone on a one-play drive, courtesy of a Pierre Strong Jr. 52-yard touchdown run making it 21-0.

Chase Vinatieri kicked a 39-yard field just before halftime to give the Jacks the 24-0 halftime lead.

Duquesne started the second half in what would be their only offensive highlight as quarterback Daniel Parr hit wide receiver Kellon Taylor for a 68-yard gain to the SDSU seven-yard line. Parr scored two plays later on a three-yard touchdown run. After a blocked extra point, the SDSU lead was cut to 24-6.

Later in the third quarter, South Dakota State got back on the scoreboard with Hill’s second touchdown run on a reverse.

The Jackrabbit defense racked up two more turnovers on the Dukes’ next two possessions – a Lorenzo Williams interception that led to a Mikey Daniel touchdown run and then five plays later, Zy Mosley grabbed a 43-yard pick-six to make it 44-6 SDSU after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Daniel added his second touchdown run to finish out the scoring.

“Our O-line was doing their thing and when you do that, nobody likes to tackle in those conditions,” said Daniel.

Daniel rushed for 100 yards for his first century mark game of this career. Daniel, along with Strong who rushed for 92 yards and Christion 49, to headed the SDSU offense.

The Jackrabbits totaled 470 yards of total offense while holding the Dukes to just 240. A.J. Hines, the Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was limited to just 21 yards on ten carries after he averaged 136 yards per game.

With the win, the Jackrabbits now travel to fourth-seeded Kennesaw State in the quarterfinals next week. Kennesaw defeated Wofford 13-10 to move to this match-up.