GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KWSN) – Walter Payton Award candidate Zach Zenner tied his own school record with 295 yards rushing and scored a career-high four touchdowns, leading sixth-ranked South Dakota State to a 35-28 victory at North Dakota Saturday night at the Alerus Center.
The Jackrabbits, who improved to 2-0, held off a furious fourth-quarter rally by UND, which dropped to 1-1 overall.
A junior from Eagan, Minn., Zenner gave the Jackrabbits a 35-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, breaking through the line for a 46-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-inches. Zenner gave SDSU a 14-7 lead on a 4-yard run in the second quarter and a 21-7 halftime advantage after scoring on a 23-yard screen pass from Austin Sumner in the final minute of the first half.
The Jackrabbits led 28-7 early in the third quarter as Zenner scored from a yard out after SDSU’s Andrew Brown returned a UND fumble 20 yards to the UND 6.
UND rallied behind backup quarterback Joe Mollberg, who directed three touchdown drives. Mollberg hooked up with Greg Hardin on a 73-yard pass play before finding Kenny Golladay on the next play for a 17-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the third quarter.
Mollberg later connected with Hardin on a 16-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to pull UND to within 35-21. UND trimmed the margin to a one-score game three minutes later as Jameer Jackson scored on a 2-yard run.
UND had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the waning moments, but a Mollberg pass was tipped by Jackrabbit linebacker T.J. Lally into the arms of cornerback Jimmie Forsythe. The Jackrabbits ran out the clock to seal their first victory in Grand Forks since 1989.
UND scored on the opening drive of the game as starting quarterback Ryan Bartels found Hardin behind the Jackrabbit defense for a 39-yard touchdown.
The Jackrabbits began their streak of 28 consecutive points late in the first quarter as Jason Schneider went up and over a defender to haul in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Sumner.
Sumner finished the game 10-of-21 passing for 157 yards, while Schneider led the Jackrabbit receiving corps with four catches for 91 yards. Zenner’s 295 yards matched his output in the first round of the 2012 Football Championship Subdivision playoffs against Eastern Illinois. His 37 carries Saturday were a career high.
Hardin amassed 207 receiving yards on seven catches for UND, with Golladay adding a game-high eight receptions for 117 yards. Mollberg tallied 259 yards passing as he completed 15-of-23 attempts. Bartels went 13-for-22 for 178 yards.
Total offense was nearly identical, with UND holding a 458-455 advantage. The Jackrabbits accounted for 298 of their yards on the ground, while UND gained 437 through the air.
Je Ryan Butler led SDSU with six tackles, while Chase Douglas added two and a half sacks.
SDSU returns home Sept. 14 to host Southeastern Louisiana in the 47th Annual Beef Bowl. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
NOTES: North Dakota leads the all-time series 46-34-5, but SDSU has won both meetings in the Division I era … Zenner crossed the 100-yard mark for the 11th time in his career and the 200-yard mark for the fourth time … Zenner now holds three of the top five single-game rushing performances in school history … Sumner moved into fifth place in career passing yards at SDSU with 5,308, overtaking Dan Fjeldheim (5,176 yards from 1999-2002) in Saturday’s game … the Jackrabbits have yet to turn the ball over this season, while forcing six takeaways … SDSU converted each of UND’s first two turnovers into touchdowns … attendance was 10,038.
Cortesy: South Dakota State University