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SD State Wins 1st FCS Title Over ND State

Mark Gronowski threw three touchdowns passes and run 51 yards to score another score. South Dakota State wins its first national title with victory over 45-21 Sunday North Dakota State, which had lost its first time during the 10 FCS championship games.

When he was a freshman in the true sense two years ago, Gronowski tore the ACL in his left knee during the opening game in the Football Championship Subdivision title game. After nearly 20 months of losing in that historic spring final, and also after Gronowski’s absence for the entire 2021 season The Jackrabbits (14-1) defeated their rivals from across the state for the top prize of coach John Stiegelmeier’s final season at his old school.

“It’s really a storybook ending for us,” Gronowski declared.

“We made a memory,” Stiegelmeier stated. “I am a part of our team and always will, always will. So my happiness today is immense because they are joyful.”

Amar Johnson rushed for 126 yards, while Isaiah Davis had 119 for his ninth 100-yard performance this season. Both recorded touchdowns on the field for South Dakota State. Gronowski who completed 14 of 21 passes , for 223 yards scored on the third game of the second half to increase up the advantage to 38-14.

“We knew NDSU was going to fight until the end of the game and we knew that we had to come out in the second half and just start fast, score early,” Gronowski added. “That’s what we did there on that play.”

Cam Miller was 17-of-26 passing for 256 yards, with 2 TDs as well as 2 interceptions in Bison (12-3). Bison (12-3) The Bison (12-3) moved to Fargo and then Frisco for the 10th time in 12 seasons.

“So tough to lose,” Bison coach Matt Entz said. “Not something we’re looking forward to do, certainly not something we’re likely to be accustomed to at NDSU. However, I’m more concerned with our players at the moment. … It’s a fact. I’m sure of that.”

The Jackrabbits have swept the most recent four games against their Missouri Valley Football Conference rivals each in under two years. The previous three meetings were in regular-season matches for their Dakota Marker trophy that wasn’t to be won at the MLS soccer stadium that is more than 1,000 miles away from the border between their states. The game was their 114th since 1903, however it was only the fifth game in the FCS playoffs, and the first time they met in the championship game.

South Dakota State wins championship

The only time South Dakota State has made an FCS championship game was a last-minute defeat against Sam Houston State in May 2021 following the lower division season was delayed to spring due to the COVID-19 virus. The Jackrabbits defeated NDSU in the abbreviated regular season, and another time later in the fall, and then won 23-21 in October following the deficit of 21-7 at halftime at the Fargodome.

Johnson’s 32-yard TD run broke up a 7-all tie in the 2nd quarter. The Jackrabbits took the ball back after Steven Arrell stripped the ball from running back Kobe Johnson at the Bison 34. Gronowski struck the wide open Jaxon Janke with an 18-yard TD just four plays laterthe – Janke also scored an impressive 30-yard TD play in the 4th quarter.

There was a exchange between 44 yard TD passes just before halftime. Before Miller struck Eli Green for an NDSU score, Gronowski on a third-and-1 play accelerated forward as if he was going to in the direction of running on the first down , but instead he stopped and passed at Mike Morgan all alone behind the whole defense.

“It truly means the world to me. And I’m grateful to all the people who have been there for me throughout this journey, and especially the players who put on an amazing match,” Gronowski said of his return from injury to become the best player in the game and winning an award. “There’s no better feeling in the world.”

THE TAKEAWAY

North Dakota State: The Bison have a record of 44-4 of the FCS playoffs, but did not have the chance to match that record set held by Georgia Southern, which is currently competing at an FBS level. They’ve only lost 14 games overall since 2011 in which they won their first of nine FCS championships. Six of those losses go towards South Dakota State — there is no other team with many wins against NDSU during that time.

South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits have won school records of 14 consecutive games starting this season, which began with a 7-3 defeat at Big Ten team Iowa.

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