Sycamores unable to keep pace with Jackrabbits in MVFC opening



South Dakota St.

3-0, 1-0


Indiana State

2-2, 0-1

Score by quarters
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
South Dakota St.
17 17 3 7 44
Indiana State
0 0 0 0 0

Game Recap: Football | | Seth Montgomery |

HIGH EARTH, Ind. – Indiana State was unable to keep up with the Jackrabbits’ quick start on Saturday afternoon as the Sycamores fell to South Dakota State’s # 2/3 visit to the Memorial Stadium, 44-0.

The Sycamores (2-2, 0-1 MVFC) threatened to score multiple times throughout the game, but Indiana State couldn’t hit him in the end zone in Missouri Valley Football’s opener. South Dakota State (3-0, 1-0 MVFC) used a solid game from Pierre Strong, Jr. and Chris Oladokun to take a 34-0 halftime lead to secure the victory of the conference.

Indiana State put up a few late-game scoring opportunities in the fourth quarter as the Sycamores looked to make a comeback in their home opener of the conference. However, the Sycamores returned the ball twice in Jackrabbits territory in the final 15 minutes of the loss.

Peterson kerlegrand had a strong offensive outing for the Sycamores on Saturday afternoon as the senior running back tallied 76 yards on 21 carries. He added two catches for a team-high 50 yards on the day of the loss.

Quarterbacks Kurtis wilderman (9-of-22, 89 yards, 1 INT) and Anthony thompson (5 of 6, 59 yards) split on the field throughout the game for the Sycamores. Zach Larkin was the QB duo’s favorite target with a career-high five catches for 42 yards, while Meet Morgan added three catches for 31 yards in the loss.

Strong, Jr. led the Jackrabbits that day with 173 total offensive yards, including 150 rushing yards. The senior running back added a 22-yard touchdown pass during South Dakota State’s first practice in Oladokun to highlight the Jackrabbits’ offense.

Oladokun finished 12 of 21 for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the win. His favorite target, Tucker Kraft, finished with five catches for 85 yards and one touchdown, while Jaxon Janke and Jadon Janke also added receiving points in the game.

Michel thomas led the Sycamores’ defensive efforts with a record 10 tackles as the junior red jersey safety was all over the pitch in their second double-digit tackle of the season. Inoke Moala and Henrik Bardnt added tackles for loss in the game, while Ty hambright forced an early fumble to cap off the defense performance.

Adam Bock was SDSU’s tackling leader in the game with 10 tackles and added the game’s only turnover with a 16-yard interception in the first quarter. Isaiah Stalbird and Caleb Sanders both finished the game with 1.5 tackles for loss.

How they scored

  • South Dakota State posted their first points on the board at 12:55 in the first quarter as Pierre Strong sent it back across the field to Chris Oladokun for a 22-yard touchdown pass to give a lead of 7 -0 to Jackrabbits.
  • The Jackrabbits added to their lead after an interception from Indiana State with Oladokun finding Jadon Janke for a 33-yard touchdown pass in the right corner to give SDSU a 14-0 lead with 5:37 to play in the first quarter.
  • SDSU added a 45-yard Cole Frahm field goal with 2:42 left in the first quarter to top off a 6-play, 22-yard drive as the Jackrabbits led 17-0.
  • Oladokun found Tucker Kraft for a 26-yard touchdown with 10:14 left in the second quarter to give SDSU a 24-0 lead after the 8-play, 88-yard drive.
  • Oladokun and Jaxon Janke connected for a 42-yard screen pass and scored to put SDSU ahead 31-0 with 8:23 left in the first half.
  • The Jackrabbits added Frahm’s 32-yard field goal late in the game with 1:56 left in the first half to take a 34-0 lead at the half-time break.
  • SDSU added a 27-yard Frahm basket with 2:52 left in the third quarter to cap a 12-play, 88-yard drive as the Jackrabbits went up 37-0.
  • Amar Johnson topped the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter to give the Jackrabbits a 44-0 lead.

Inside the statistics

  • Indiana State finished the game with 226 total attacking yards in the game, with the Sycamores scoring 3.3 yards per game.
  • The Sycamores finished the contest with 78 rushing yards and 148 passing yards during the contest, with quarterbacks combining to run 14 of 29 in the air with five different receivers carrying receptions.
  • The Sycamores won the battle time of possession in the contest, 31: 17-28: 43, and converted 5 of 16 third downs.
  • The state of South Dakota recorded 517 meters of total violation with 224 on the ground and 293 in the air.
  • The Jackrabbits collected 22 first tries against 16 for the Sycamores.
  • Thanks to their punt coverage unit, the Sycamores’ punt average of 38.3 was above their yards-per-punt average (37.9) in the game as the State of the Indiana limited the SDSU to 3 negative return yards.

News and Notes

  • Gavin Dineen became the first Sycamore player to block a field goal since the 2018 season when he redirected the SDSU’s 50-yard attempt in the first quarter. His block was the first since Rex Mosley blocked a field goal against Eastern Illinois on September 15, 2018, in the Sycamores’ 55-41 win over the Panthers.
  • Peterson Kerlegrand’s 78 rushing yards marked a season high for the running back and topped his mark of 73 set on opening night against Eastern Illinois.
  • Inoke Moala led his five-game losing streak dating back to the end of the 2019 season, as the senior redshirt won an early TFL in the first quarter on Saturday afternoon.
  • Travis Reiner added two more punts inside the 20-yard line on Saturday to bring his season total to nine this season.
  • Justin dinka became the 10th Sycamore to record a catch this season.
  • The Sycamores were shut out for the first time since the 2019 season, when Indiana State fell to South Dakota, 38-0.
  • Indiana State falls to 2-9 all-time against South Dakota State in loss and 1-5 against the Jackrabbits in Terre Haute.


Indiana State hits the road next weekend as the Sycamores travel to Vermillion, SD and the University of South Dakota to continue the MVFC game. Kickoff between Sycamore and Coyotes is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN + and 105.5 The Legend

Follow the Sycamores

For the latest information on Sycamore Football, visit You can also find the team on social networks, in particular Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. Fans can also receive updates on Sycamore Athletics by downloading the March On app from the App Store and the Google play store.

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