(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.
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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.