Jackrabbits thrashing Montana, repeat as FCS champs
FRISCO, Texas– Mark Gronowski ran for a touchdown and tossed for another after halftime as South Dakota State won its second straight Football Champion Neighborhood title, beating Montana 23-3 on Sunday.The Jackrabbits
(15-0)extended their total winning streak to 29 games, including their win over North Dakota State in last year’s FCS game for their very first nationwide title.South Dakota State had an outstanding game-opening drive, however led just 7-3 at halftime. Gronowski, the quarterback starting his third FCS title game, then bulled into completion zone for a 10-yard score midway through the 3rd quarter, and on the next belongings threw a 23-yard TD to Jadon Janke.Gronowski finished 13-of-21 passing for 175 backyards and ran 8 times for
62 backyards. The Jackrabbits outgained Montana 372-273. Montana’s 27 playoff appearances are the most in the second tier of Department I football.
Nationwide champs in 1995 and 2001, the Grizzlies(13-2)have now completed as the runner-up 6 times, four under coach Bobby Hauck.Editor’s Picks This was the Grizzlies’very first title game considering that 2009, when they were the runner-up for the 3rd time in Hauck’s first seven seasons. Hauck then left for
FBS group UNLV and also was on staff at San Diego State before going back to Montana in 2018. Less than 2 weeks after South Dakota State was crowned champs last year, John Stiegelmeier retired after 26 seasons as head coach. He was succeeded by defensive organizer Jimmy Rogers, a former Jackrabbits linebacker who was captain of their very first playoff group in 2009– when they lost to Montana after blowing a 27-point lead.Both groups had only one ownership in the first quarter Sunday. Montana’s opening drive spilled into the first play of the 2nd quarter, when on its 15th play, running back Eli Gillman was packed by Jackrabbits linebacker Adam Bock for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 1. South Dakota State had opened the game with a 75-play, 11-play drive. Gronowski completed his first 5 passes for 55 backyards and converted a third-and-4 with a 9-yard keeper right before Isaiah Davis’6-yard TD run.That put the Jackrabbits ahead to remain, though they had a couple of pricey mistakes before halftime.A few plays after Bock’s stop, among his 11 tackles, Gronowski had a pass intercepted by Corbin Walker that Montana turned into a basket for its only points.
South Dakota State likewise had a turnover when punting, as the ball ricocheted off one of its players and recuperated by the Griz, though they punted it back.THE TAKEAWAY Montana: Playmaking quarterback Clifton McDowell, who had actually been 11-0 as the Griz starter, was under increased pressure, particularly after halftime. He completed 22 of 39 passes for 165 lawns, however was sacked four times. After he was removed of the ball when being sacked late in the 3rd quarter, 295-yard
defensive tackle Ryan Van Marel created it.South Dakota State: In their third title game appearance in four seasons, the Jackrabbits ended up being the first team given that North Dakota State( 2017-19)to duplicate as champions. It was another outstanding defensive efficiency in this playoff run for South Dakota State, which had two uneven shutout success (41-0 and 59-0)in its previous three games.UP NEXT Montana: The Big
Sky champion Grizzlies handle one of SDSU’s Missouri Valley Conference rivals in their 2024 opener. They host Missouri State on Aug. 31. South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits open next season on the road Aug. 31 at Big 12 group Oklahoma State, the first significant conference group they will play since a 7-3 loss at Iowa of the Big 10 in the 2022 opener that was their last loss.