South Dakota St advances to 1st FCS championship game

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Mark Gronowski passed for two touchdowns and caught a 24-yard TD pass from Pierre Strong Jr. to help top-seeded South Dakota State beat Delaware 33-3 in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.

South Dakota State, in its ninth consecutive FCS playoffs appearance, advanced to the championship game for the first time in program history. The Jackrabbits (8-1) will face the Sam Houston State-James Madison winner in the championship game on May 16 in Frisco, Texas.

Gronowski had 115 of his 162 yards passing, 23 of his 27 yards rushing and all of his 24 yards receiving in the first half to help South Dakota State build a 27-3 lead.

Strong ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. Jaxon Janke caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt 55 yards in the second quarter.

The Blue Hens (7-1) took a 3-0 lead on Ryan Coe’s field goal with 3:44 left in the first quarter. South Dakota State needed only 7 minutes, 26 seconds time of possession to score TDs on its next four drives.

Nolan Henderson completed 18 of 21 passes for 142 yards for Delaware.

The Jackrabbits defense had seven sacks and held the Blue Hens to 68 yards rushing on 45 carries.


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