BROOKINGS, SD – The third time was definitely the charm.
After a pair of losses in its first two national semifinal appearances in 2017 and 2018, the South Dakota State University football team will play for a Football Championship Subdivision national title for the first time following an emphatic 33-3 victory over Delaware Saturday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
The top-seeded Jackrabbits, who improved to 8-1 overall and ran their winning streak to seven games, matched a program playoff record with seven sacks and put together a big second quarter offensively to move on to Frisco, Texas, for next Sunday’s title tilt against second-seeded Sam Houston State. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Toyota Stadium, with television coverage on ABC.
The Blue Hens were able to strike first when sophomore Ryan Coe connected on a 29-yard field goal before South Dakota State was able to score on its next three possessions to take control of the game.
Delaware controlled the ball for the majority of the contest, holding possession for 37:05. The Jackrabbits were able to create 12 tackles for loss to limit the production.
The Blue Hens were limited to 68 net yards rushing, with Khory Spruill leading the team with only 16 yards on six carries. The SDSU defense held CAA Offensive Player of the Year Dejoun Lee to a mere nine yards on 11 carries.
The Jackrabbits held a 354-216 advantage in total offense, despite with SDSU rushing for 168 yards and throwing for 186. Pierre Strong Jr. led the ground game with 73 yards on 14 carries, with Isaiah Davis adding 70 yard on nine attempts. Mark Gronowski completed 10-of-16 passes for 162 yards, with Janke totaling 64 yards on three catches.
- Stadium: Dana J. Dykhouse
- Location: Brookings, S.D.
- Attendance: 4527
- Duration: 2:45
DELAWARE: Nolan Henderson (142 PASS); Khory Spruill (16 RUSH); Gene Coleman II (43 REC);
SDSU: Mark Gronowski (162 PASS); Pierre Strong (73 RUSH); Jaxon Janke (64 REC);