FORT COLLINS, Colo (SDSU) — Transfer quarterback Chris Oladokun threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in his Jackrabbit debut, helping lead a balanced South Dakota State team to an emphatic 42-23 victory over Colorado State in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Canvas Stadium.
The Jackrabbits, ranked third in the Football Championship Subdivision media poll and fourth in the coaches’ poll, never trailed in recording their second victory over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since moving to the Division I ranks in 2004.
SDSU running back Pierre Strong, Jr. opened the scoring with the first of his two touchdowns on the night, breaking through the left side of the line for a 48-yard scoring run.
Colorado State answered with a 17-play, 75-yard drive to knot the game at 7-all early in the second quarter. David Bailey capped the five-and-a-half-minute march with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Jackrabbits sandwiched two 75-yard touchdown drives of their own around a Rams field goal late in the second quarter to build a 21-10 halftime advantage. Oladokun connected with Jadon Janke on a 10-yard pass for the first touchdown and Strong added a 12-yard touchdown run with 49 seconds remaining. The second Jackrabbit scoring drive took six plays and all of 38 seconds and was set up by a 46-yard pass from Oladokun to Janke.
The Oladokun-to-Jadon Janke connection continued to pay dividends in the third quarter as the duo hooked up on a 17-yard touchdown. That came two plays after the Jackrabbit defense, led by Joshua Manchigiah and Malik Lofton, stuffed Colorado State on a fourth-and-1 play.
The Jackrabbit lead grew to 35-10 late in the third quarter as Isaiah Davis plunged in from 2 yards out following a CSU fumble.
Oladokun tallied the final Jackrabbit touchdown an 11-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to complete another 75-yard scoring drive. The Tampa, Florida, native ended the night 18-of-28 passing for 224 yards. Jadon Jake recorded six catches for 92 yards and the two scores with Tucker Kraft adding a career-high five catches for 53 yards.
Colorado State scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns against SDSU reserves, including Bailey’s second touchdown of the game on an 11-yard pass from Todd Centeio.
SDSU finished with nearly a 50-50 split in offense, posting 242 yards on the ground and 224 through the air for a narrow 466-462 advantage in total offense. Strong gained 138 yards on 13 carries, with Davis contributing 84 yards on 15 attempts.
For CSU, Centeio completed 29-of-42 attempts for 304 yards, with Trey McBride hauling in a game-high 13 passes for 116 yards and Dante Wright adding six catches for 103 yards. Bailey gained 46 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Isaiah Stalbird paced the Jackrabbit defense with nine tackles, while Adam Bock registered eight tackles. Tywan Francis posted a game-high 11 tackles for CSU.
The Jackrabbits host their home opener next Saturday (Sept. 11) against Lindenwood. Kickoff for the Dairy Drive game is set for 6 p.m. at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.