Updated: Sunday, 28 Oct 2012, 2:46 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 28 Oct 2012, 2:46 PM EDT
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State used a pair of interception returns for touchdowns as well as a 28-0 lead at the half to cruise to a 45-14 victory over league newcomer South Dakota in front of 5,224 fans inside Memorial Stadium.
The Sycamores finished off a perfect month of October and won for the fifth consecutive time to improve to 7-2, 5-1 MVFC while the Coyotes dropped to 1-7, 0-5 MVFC.
Indiana State has secured at least seven victories for the first time since 1995, which is also the last time the team went on a five-game winning streak. The Sycamores are in first place in the league standings at the latest point since joining the conference and are 5-1 in MVFC play for the first time ever. Indiana State's 31-point margin of victory represents the second largest conference win in the history of the program next to a 35-point victory over Illinois State in 2010.
Senior defensive back Johnny Towalid set a new school record with the third interception return for a touchdown this season as well as a new school record fourth of his career. Towalid notched a 25-yard pick 6 to give the Sycamores a 21-0 advantage late in the first quarter. Towalid bested the old record of two interceptions returns for touchdowns in a season of two, set by John Karazsia in 1971 and also took over Karazsia's record of three pick 6's in a career set from 1970-72.
Shakir Bell was the star on the offensive side of the ball as he rushed 23 times for 150 yards, including touchdown runs of two and four yards while also catching a 25-yard pass from Mike Perish in the waning seconds of the third quarter. Bell reached the end zone three times on the day to give him 28 TDs for his career, which is now just five off the school record of 33.
The 25-yard touchdown reception by Bell was the first scoring catch of his Sycamore career.
Perish finished the game 9-of-17 passing for 113 yards, including the 25-yard pass to Bell and a six-yarder to Michael Mardis which posted the Sycamores to a 14-0 lead with 5:14 remaining in the opening stanza.
The Sycamores led 28-0 at the half but the Coyotes got a five-yard run from Jasper Sanders with 12:14 left in the third quarter to cut the lead down to 28-7.
Tanner Fritschle would add a 27-yard field goal at the 7:35 mark of the third quarter to stretch the lead out to 31-7, before the 25-yarder to Bell made it 38-7.
The nail in the coffin came on the Sycamores' second interception return for a touchdown of the game when Donovan Layne posted a 52-yard pick six with 10:42 remaining in the contest to make it 45-7.
South Dakota added an 11-yard touchdown pass to Will Powell from Kevin Earl with 7:19 to go to make it 45-14.
In addition to the two interceptions for touchdowns for 77 yards in the game, the Sycamore defense tallied 11 tackles for loss and quarterback sacks by Connor Underwood and Ben Obaseki. Aaron Archie was held below the 10 tackle mark for the first time this season as he tied for team-best honors with six, including a pair of tackles for losses.
Kendal Walker tied Archie with six tackles on the day.
Indiana State will round out the home portion of the regular season on Saturday, November 3 when the Sycamores host Illinois State at 2:05 p.m. (ET).
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