By Lewis Gould
Villanova got its style of game. South Dakota State got the victory.
Freshman Chase Vinatieri kicked a 40-yard field goal with 1:21 left to lift the eighth-seeded Jackrabbits to a 10-7 victory at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium and end the career of retiring Villanova coach Andy Talley.
South Dakota State (9-3) advanced to a quarterfinal at No. 1 seed North Dakota State (11-1) next Saturday. The two teams shared the Missouri Valley Football Conference title, but the Jackrabbits beat NDSU 19-17 inside the Fargodome on Oct. 15.
The first-ever meeting between SDSU and Villanova was played in snow showers. The Wildcats (9-4) from CAA Football controlled the clock and its No. 3 defense in the FCS limited SDSU’s high-powered offense to 197 yards – 284 below its season average.
But the Wildcats’ bid to extend Talley’s career fell short. He ended with a 230-137-1 (.626) record in 32 seasons at Villanova and 258-155-2 (.624) in 37 overall. Included were 12 playoff appearances and the 2009 FCS national title.
Vinatieri’s field goal capped a 37-yard drive. He is the nephew of NFL kicking great Adam Vinatieri.
South Dakota State took a 7-0 lead on Taryn Christion’s 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Goedert with 2:40 left in the first quarter. It was Christion’s 30th TD pass this season, tying Ryan Berry (2008) for the school’s single-season record.
Villanova tied the game 7-7 on Alex Padovani’s 6-yard touchdown reception from Zach Bednarczyk with two seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Christion completed 20 of 33 passes for 190 yards, accounting for most of the offense as the Jackrabbits had only seven rushing yards. Bednarczyk was 20 of 36 for 220 yards, and running back Matt Gudzak had 109 yards from scrimmage.
SDSU linebackers Christian Rozeboom and Jesse Bobbit, the team’s leading tacklers, had 13 and 10 stops, respectively.
Villanova assistant head coach Mark Ferrante has already been named as Talley’s replacement.