South Dakota State gets playoff revenge on UNI

(STATS) – Not many FCS teams had been hotter than Northern Iowa since its regular-season win over South Dakota State, although, ironically, the Jackrabbits were one of them.

So were they ever anxious for another chance to play UNI on Saturday.

The No. 5-seeded Jackrabbits dominated the rematch, scoring on all five of their first-half possessions en route to a 37-22 victory in the second round of the FCS playoffs at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings.

Quarterback Taryn Christion threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one to fuel South Dakota State (10-2), which takes a six-game winning streak into the quarterfinals. Next Saturday, the ‘Rabbits will host New Hampshire (9-4), a 21-15 upset winner over No. 4 seed Central Arkansas.

UNI (8-5) was a mere 2-3 when it won 38-18 at South Dakota State on Oct. 14. The Missouri Valley Conference triumph spurred a run to the Panthers’ 19th playoff appearance, but after routing Monmouth 46-7 in the first round, the Panthers were handled in the 53rd meeting with their rival.

South Dakota State, which set a program record for wins in a season, held an 11-minute, 26-second advantage in time of possession. It led 26-7 at halftime, and after Christion connected for touchdowns with Cade Johnson, Dallas Goedert and Jacob Brown, coach John Stiegelmeier’s team built a 34-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Chase Vinatieri was 3 for 3 on field goals, including a 55-yarder.

After UNI’s run game dominated in the regular-season matchup, the Panthers only had 82 yards on the ground. Quarterback Eli Dunne was 26 of 36 for 287 yards and one touchdown with an interception.