By Kent Schmidt
CSN West Columnist
College Sporting News
The crowd of 4,367 at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium saw the first Division I playoff game in the state of South Dakota.
In what was a defensive struggle in the first four series of the game, the fifth series started the offensive onslaught by SDSU. That series started and finished on a 68-yard rush by Zenner for the score with 4:27 left in the first quarter.
SDSU held EIU on the next drive and drove it deep into EIU territory but had to settle for a 22-yard Justin Syrovatka field goal to put the Jackrabbits up 10-0 with 2:25 left in the opening quarter.
Eastern Illinois hit the scoreboard on their next drive with a field goal of their own from Cameron Berra from 19 yards out after driving it close to the end zone with 14:04 left in the second quarter.
The Jackrabbits then scored on two more Zenner touchdowns on their next two possessions—a 4-yard and a 7-yard respectively to put SDSU up 24-3.
After another Syrovatka field goal, SDSU blocked a EIU punt to set up an eight yard touchdown pass from quarterback Austin Sumner to tight end Cam Jones as time expired in the first half.
The score put SDSU up 34-3 at the half time break.
It was more of the same for SDSU in the second half.
SDSU scored another field by Syrovatka from 28 yards out to give the games only scoring in the third frame and a SDSU 37-3 lead.
The Jackrabbits put any doubt in the fourth quarter with two touchdown runs from Zenner’s backup in Reggie Gandy from a yard out and 12 yards out respectively.
Eastern Illinois did get one touchdown from running back Jake Walker in the fourth quarter.
Erik Lora was the highlight for the Panther offense in catching 106 yards.
South Dakota State will play at #1 North Dakota State next week in the second round of the playoffs.