BROOKINGS, S.D. — Cade Johnson scored four touchdowns, tying a program record, and caught nine passes for 138 yards as No. 3 South Dakota State throttled Montana State 45-14 at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
SDSU quarterback Taryn Christion threw for 319 yards and the four scores, each to Johnson, as the Jackrabbits moved to 1-0. Johnson scored on plays of two, 24, 19 and seven yards.
Montana State started Tucker Rovig at quarterback, as Troy Andersen entered the field with a large cast on his left hand. Andersen played sparingly at running back and linebacker, rushing twice for three yards and compiling a sack fumble that South Dakota State recovered.
Rovig completed 13 of 25 passes for 164 yards in his first start. He threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Lance McCutcheon, but also threw a pair of interceptions.
TURNING POINT: Opening drive of the second quarter. South Dakota State faced a 3rd-and-15, but Christion found Marquise Lewis for a 17-yard gain and first down, then Christion rushed nine yards on 4th-and-1 to keep the drive alive. Johnson scored on a 24-yard shovel pass on the very next play to give SDSU a 14-0 lead.
STAT OF THE GAME: Montana State produced only six first downs on offense, none in the opening quarter. MSU’s first first down came with 7:07 remaining in the second quarter, their only first down in the opening half. Montana State finished with only 29 net rushing yards on 23 attempts.
GAME BALL: Cade Johnson. He tied the program record with four touchdown receptions, the third player to haul in four scores through the air in as many years. He caught all nine of his targets and averaged 15.3 yards per catch.
WHAT’S NEXT: Montana State returns to Bozeman on Saturday, Sept. 15 for the Military Appreciation game against Wagner College. The Seahawks of Staten Island, New York claimed Northeast Conference co-championships in 2012 and 2014, advancing to the FCS playoffs in 2012. Wagner (1-1) fell to Syracuse 62-10 on Saturday and finished with a 4-7 record last season.