BROOKINGS, SD – QB Mark Gronowski threw a season-high three touchdown passes to the Janke brothers and the Jackrabbit defense held Holy Cross out of the end zone as top-seeded South Dakota State opened the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a 31-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
Gronowski connected with Jaxon Janke on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the first half to open the scoring. That capped a six-play, 63-yard drive that included a 33-yard run by RB Pierre Strong, Jr. that put the Jackrabbits deep into opposing territory.
Down 10-0, Holy Cross scored their lone points of the game when the Crusaders’ Derek Ng knocked in a 47-yard field goal into the wind in the final 30 seconds of the first half.
Any hope of a Holy Cross comeback was dashed in the span of two plays. The Crusaders stopped SDSU on its first offensive drive of the second half, but fumbled the ensuing punt with the Jackrabbits’ Chase Norblade recovering at the HC 45. On the very next play, Gronowski hit Jadon Janke deep over the middle for the touchdown and a 24-3 lead.
South Dakota State finished with 439 yards of total offense. As a team, the Jackrabbits rushed for 281 yards, led by 156 yards from Isaiah Davis, and quarterback Mark Gronowski had 12 completions for 153 yards.
For Holy Cross, senior safety Joe Lang and sophomore LB Jacob Dobbs each finished with 13 tackles; Lang had seven solo tackles, while Dobbs added in a tackle for loss.
Junior RB Peter Oliver rushed for 52 yards, and senior RB Macklin Kortebein had 53 all-purpose yards, including 33 rushing yards. Junior WR Spencer Gilliam added in six receptions for 55 yards for the Crusaders.
- Stadium: Dana J. Dykhouse
Location: Brookings, S.D.
- Attendance: 2998
- Duration: 2:58
HC: Sluka, Matthew (76 PASS); Oliver, Peter (52 RUSH); Gilliam, Spence (55 REC);
SDSU: Mark Gronowski (153 PASS); Isaiah Davis (156 RUSH); Jadon Janke (69 REC);