The South Dakota State Jackrabbits made history by securing their very first FCS championship. They did so in impressive fashion defeating the defending FCS champion, North Dakota State Bison (NDSU). They came into the matchup as the one seed, but many still favored North Dakota State due to their dominance over the past decade. Bear in mind, the Bison had won nine FCS banners coming into this matchup. A matchup where they came in ranked third in the conference.
South Dakota was actually favored by a few online betting sites despite NDSU’s rich history of success in this sort of game. Despite NDSU’s physical play, the Jackrabbits never laid down showing all game long why they were the first ranked squad in the conference. South Dakota State’s (SDSU) patience eventually paid off as they were able to put some distance between them and the defending champions in the second quarter which ultimately led to SDSU’s dominant championship win.
South Dakota State Win First FCS Title
SDSU Bullies NDSU All Game Long
SDSU established the run-game early on. Much of this was done by the offensive line winning the line of scrimmage battle at the beginning of the game. As a result, it helped the team established the run-game which also led to many play-action opportunities. The Jackrabbits running back, Isaiah Davis, finished the game with nearly 120 yards rushing. Do not be fooled though. The Jackrabbits were anything but one-dimensional in this game giving the Bison their first-ever FCS championship loss.
Quarterback, Mark Gronowski, had himself a day. This was a redemption game for him considering he tore his ACL in this same game a couple years back when the Jackrabbits eventually fell to Sam Houston. This was arguably Gronowski’s game of his life. He finished the day with a few touchdown passes, 223 passing yards, and even rushed for one.
DyShawn Gales put the nail in the coffin with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. He was not the only one who made a difference in this game for SDSU’s defense. Bison running back, Kobe Johnson, was stripped in the second quarter in a momentum-shifting play that led to South Dakota State blowing the game wide open. Don’t let the high final score fool you. The Jackrabbits defense was solid for most of the game despite a few hiccups here and there against the defending FCS champions.
SDSU’s Dominant Season
SDSU had one goal this season. Win the championship. They knew had the talent and did just that securing the number one seed. However, they were tested their fair share of times along with the way. The Jackrabbits kicked off the playoffs by defeating Delaware 42-6. After that, they knocked off Holy Cross setting them up with a matchup with fourth ranked Montana State. A team who was in the FCS Championship last season. They made short work of them defeating them 39-18. Now, after dispatching of the defending champs by a final score of 45-21, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits can call themselves FCS champions for the first time in their history.