BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The top-seed in the FCS playoffs showed their strengths on Saturday as SDSU cruised to a 31-3 win over Holy Cross in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
“Excited to get a win, excited to have another opportunity to play a game in front of our fans at home and utilize the number one seed,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said.
The Jackrabbits dominated the rush game on both sides of the football. SDSU outrushed the Crusaders 281-112, while the Jackrabbits rushed for nearly nine yards a carry.
“We knew that they were going to be sound against the run and play the run really hard. I think, two things, Pierre, just makes people miss, you know, he starts in the left side and then comes out the right side untouched. On Isaiah’s big run, he had several big runs, but on his big run, I credit the line and tight ends. They just blocked everybody,” Stiegelmeier said.
In the first quarter, the Jacks had a slow start as Holy Cross started a strong drive, but SDSU’s special teams came through with a blocked field goal. From there SDSU finished the first half strong.
The Jacks put together a six play, 63 yard drive that took nearly three and a half minutes and finished with an eleven yard touchdown pass from Mark Grownowski to Jaxon Janke.
SDSU scored on their next two possessions including a chip shot 20 yard field goal from Cole Frahm, giving the Jacks a 10-0 lead.
The fourth possession of the game finished with an eight play drive that led to a 13 yard touchdown from Grownowski to Jadon Janke. SDSU led 17-0.
The Crusaders found some traction late in the first half and that led to a 47 yard field goal.
SDSU took a 17-3 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Holy Cross came out of the locker room with a solid drive that led them inside the SDSU forty-yard line. However, a penalty, followed by a strong defensive stand forced a Crusader punt.
The Jackrabbits appeared to go three and out, but then a muffed punt was recovered by SDSU’s Chase Norblade.
“That’s the nature of football games and momentum swings and stuff. I think the biggest one of that was the muffed punt and then the big play right after that,” Stiegelmeier said. “I don’t know if that was a dagger, but we stuck them with something. I was excited with that sequence of plays.”
Grownowski, the freshman quarterback, took advantage as his long pass was perfectly placed into the hands of Jadon Janke for the 45 yard touchdown. SDSU led 24-3.
The score remained the same until the fourth quarter when SDSU continued to punish the Crusader rush defense as Isaiah Davis found a hole and then sped down the sideline for the 60 yard touchdown.
SDSU led 31-3 at that point and that would be the final as the Jackrabbits advanced to the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs with a win over Holy Cross.