BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State converted two Cal Poly fumbles and a blocked field goal attempt into three touchdowns and went on to beat the No. 19 Mustangs 48-35 in a Great West Football Conference game Saturday night in Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
Cal Poly, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, fell to 4-3 on the season and 1-1 in Great West games. South Dakota State improved to 3-4 and 1-0.
The Mustangs had the advantage in numerous offensive categories, including first downs (25-20) and total offense (502-433), but couldn’t overcome the pair of lost fumbles deep in South Dakota State territory as well as the blocked field goal attempt in the third quarter.
Adam Monke returned the game-opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, but Cal Poly answered with a two-yard run by sophomore fullback Jon Hall, capping a 68-yard, 10-play drive.
Cory Koenig ran 31 yards on a third-and-one play for a touchdown and a 14-7 Jackrabbit lead. Again, Cal Poly answered quickly, junior quarterback Jonathan Dally rambling 22 yards on an option keeper to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter.
South Dakota State gained control of the game with two scores in the final six minutes of the second period.
Kyle Minett caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Ryan Berry to break the deadlock and Koenig ran 46 yards on another third-and-one play, giving the Jackrabbits a 28-14 advantage 97 seconds before halftime.
Cal Poly received the football to start the third quarter and marched 74 yards in just five plays to close the gap to seven points. Dally capped the drive with a four-yard run.
But the Jackrabbits scored the next two touchdowns to open up a 20-point lead and coasted to the win.
Koenig scored his third touchdown on third-and-short, a 52-yard romp, and JaRon Harris caught a 25-yard scoring pass from Berry for a 41-21 South Dakota State advantage with 12:30 to play in the game.
Cal Poly scored two more touchdowns in the final nine minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Ramses Barden caught a 22-yard scoring pass from Dally with 8:20 to go and Dally sneaked one yard for the final Mustang score with 3:08 to play.
In between those scores, South Dakota State scored a touchdown on an 11-yard run by Koenig, his fourth score of the game.
Cal Poly established two school records. Andrew Gardner made five PAT kicks, extending his streak of successful kicks to 36 and breaking the mark of 31 set by Navid Niakan in 2001.
Barden’s touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was the 26th of his career, tying the mark set by Kamil Loud from 1994-97.
Cal Poly produced a pair of 100-yard rushers Saturday. Dally finished with 153 yards on 30 carries while Ryan Mole added 112 yards on a dozen trips. It was the first 100-yard game for both players as Mustangs.
Dally completed seven of 15 passes for 115 yards and one score. Barden and Tredale Tolver each caught three passes for Cal Poly.
For South Dakota State, Berry completed 13 of 20 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns while Koenig amassed 259 yards on 21 carries and four scores. Koenig is the second Mustang opponent to rush for over 200 yards. Deonte Jackson of Idaho netted 214 yards on Sept. 8.
Chris Doblar caught four passes for the Jackrabbits.
Defensively, Cal Poly was led by linebacker Marty Mohamed with 17 tackles. Safety Mark Cordes and linebacker Jason Relyea each had 11 stops. Eric Schroeder earned 13 tackles for South Dakota State.
Cal Poly plays the third of four consecutive road games next Saturday at Idaho State, and concludes the long road trip Nov. 3 at Southern Utah.