South Dakota State Advances to FCS Championship Game
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits have had an amazing season to this point on the football field and now they will look to cap it off with a championship.
SDSU defeated Montana State on Saturday in Brookings to advance to the FCS Championship in Frisco, TX.
This will mark the second time SDSU will play for a title, also doing so in 2021 during the FCS Spring season due to COVID-19.
SDSU will face off against Missouri Valley Football Conference foe and rival North Dakota State.
Here is the complete release from the South Dakota State Athletic Department on the win.
For the second time in three seasons, South Dakota State is headed to Frisco, Texas, to play in the Football Championship Subdivision title game.
Saturday afternoon at a frigid Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, the top-seeded Jackrabbits scored on their first five offensive possessions and shut down Montana State's vaunted rushing attack to post a 39-18 victory over the fourth-seeded Bobcats. SDSU, which extended its school-record winning streak to 13 games, improved to 13-1 overall and will face defending champion North Dakota State in the championship game Jan. 8.
All five of SDSU's touchdown drives covered at least 75 yards, starting with a five-play, 75-yard drive after the opening kickoff. Isaiah Davis set the tone for the Jackrabbits with a 22-yard run on the first play from scrimmage and All-America tight end Tucker Kraft finished off the drive by catching a 36-yard touchdown pass down the right hash from Mark Gronowski.
Montana State answered on its first drive of the game behind the dual-quarterback system of Tommy Mellott and Sean Chambers. Mellott completed all three of his pass attempts for a total of 56 yards, while Chambers converted on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with a rush up the middle for a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 67-yard drive. However, the Bobcats lost momentum when they mishandled the snap on the extra point try, keeping the score at 7-6, and Chambers did not return due to an apparent lower-body injury.
SDSU responded with three more touchdowns before halftime — all on the ground. Gronowski barreled in from a yard out with 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter, followed by long touchdown runs by the running back tandem of Davis (41 yards) and Amar Johnson (38 yards) in the second quarter to give the Jackrabbits a 28-6 advantage. Davis' touchdown ended a quick-strike three-play, 80-yard drive, with Johnson's career long finishing off a nine-play, 85-yard march.
The Bobcats closed the first-half scoring with a 37-yard field goal by Blake Glessner as time expired in the second quarter to put the score at 28-9 heading into intermission.
Johnson scored his second touchdown of the game on SDSU's first possession of the second half, catching a pass from Gronowski in the left flat for a 5-yard score. The sophomore carried 10 times for 69 yards and added three catches for 31 yards to give him an even 100 all-purpose yards on the day.
Davis led the Jackrabbit rushing attack with 158 yards on 16 carries as SDSU held a 281-52 advantage in yards on the ground and outgained Montana State, 473-281, in total yards. Kraft led SDSU receivers with four receptions for 69 yards, with Gronowski completing 10-of-13 passes for 189 yards.
Mellott completed the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run for Montana State midway through the fourth quarter for his longest run of the day, but was bottled up most of the afternoon as he finished with three net yards on 17 carries, including being sacked three times. Mellott completed 11-of-18 passes for 174 yards, with Clevan Thomas Jr. (74 yards) and Willie Patterson (47 yards) each catching four passes.
Adam Bock, who was making his first start since being injured Oct. 22 at North Dakota, shared team-high honors with eight tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Isaiah Stalbird also registered eight stops for the Jackrabbits.
Montana State, which ended its season with a 12-2 record, was led defensively by Danny Uliulakepa's nine tackles.
- Montana State leads the all-time series, 11-6, although the Jackrabbits have won two of the three meetings in the FCS playoffs
- SDSU improved to 17-12 all-time in postseason games, including an 11-1 mark in games played at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium
- The Jackrabbits finished undefeated at home for the season at 9-0 and ran their home winning streak to 12 games
- Davis recorded his 15th career 100-yard game — eight of which have come in FCS playoff games
- Davis scored a rushing touchdown for the ninth consecutive game
- Gronowski passed and rushed for a touchdown in the same game for the 13th time in 24 career starts
- Gronowski moved into 10th place in career passing yards at SDSU with 4,309, overtaking Shane Bouman (4,163 yards from 1988-91)
- Neither team turned the ball over in the game
- Temperature at kickoff was 9 degrees, making it the coldest home game on record in SDSU history (previous: 15 degrees vs. Morningside on Nov. 15, 1997)
- Attendance was 7,195
For more information on the SDSU football team, their current roster and other news surrounding the team, you can visit their website.
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