South Dakota State 33, Delaware 3 (FCS Playoff Semifinal)

Full Recap (South Dakota State) | Full Recap (Delaware) | Box Score

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);

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South Dakota State 31, Holy Cross 3 (FCS Playoffs 1st Round)

Full Recap (South Dakota State) | Full Recap (Holy Cross) | Box Score

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);

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South Dakota State 45, Western Illinois 10

South Dakota State scored on big play after big play in the first half to roll past Western Illinois, 45-10, in the Jackrabbits’ home football opener Saturday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

With their win in the annual Dairy Drive game, the Jackrabbits improved to 2-1 both overall and in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. WIU dropped to 0-2.

Freshman quarterback Mark Gronowski led the Jackrabbits on touchdown drives on each of their first two offensive series, scoring on a 22-yard run to open the scoring and then taking advantage of a short field after an interception as Pierre Strong, Jr. scored from a yard out.

Game Recap (South Dakota State) | Game Recap (Western Illinois) | Box Score

Stadium: Dana J. Dykhouse
Location: Brookings, S.D.
Attendance: 2347
Duration: 3:10

WIU: Sampson, Connor (278 PASS); Pua’auli, I. (44 RUSH); Daniels, Dallas (111 REC);

SDSU: Mark Gronowski (178 PASS); Mark Gronowski (120 RUSH); Jadon Janke (70 REC);

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