YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (SDSU) — Top-ranked South Dakota State rolled up 490 yards of total offense and displayed a punishing defense to secure at least a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title with a 34-0 shutout of Youngstown State Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Jackrabbits remained undefeated, improving to 10-0 overall and 7-0 in league play. SDSU extended its overall winning streak to 24 games dating back to last season. YSU dropped to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the MVFC.
SDSU was on point defensively from the outset, forcing the Penguins into three-and-outs on each of their first two possessions and punts on their first three drives in which they tallied only 15 yards.
The Jackrabbits, meanwhile, put together two long scoring drives in their first three possessions to build a 10-0 advantage midway through the second quarter. SDSU’s first drive was a 14-play, 70-yard march that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Hunter Dustman. To start the second quarter, the Jackrabbits strung together a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mark Gronowski to freshman wide receiver Griffin Wilde.
SDSU was able to quickly double its lead thanks to big plays on defense and special teams. After a Tucker Large interception and return put the ball at the YSU 25, Gronowski connected with Jadon Janke for a 16-yard touchdown pass for a 17-0 lead.
Youngstown State put together its best drive of the first half coming down the stretch of the second quarter, but for the second week in a row, SDSU defensive lineman Ryan Van Marel came up with a blocked kick on a 29-yard field goal attempt that was returned by Isaiah Stalbird to the Jackrabbit 47-yard line.
SDSU quickly moved into field goal position in the closing seconds, with Dustman booting a 43-yarder to put the Jackrabbits ahead 20-0.
The Jackrabbit connection of Gronowski to Janke loomed large again in the third quarter. On the first play from scrimmage to start the second half, Gronowski went up top to Janke for a 56-yard scoring strike, then on the final play of the stanza, the duo hooked up for another 50-yard pass play that set up Isaiah Davis’ 1-yard touchdown run.
Janke ended the game with a career-high 166 receiving yards on seven receptions, while Davis led the ground game 130 yards on 19 carries.
Gronowski completed 19-of-28 passes for a season-high 295 yards with three scores. Chase Mason went 3-for-4 passing for 29 yards late in the game.
SDSU completed its first shutout since 2021 at Indiana State by turning the Penguins over on downs twice in the red zone in the second half. The Jackrabbits held YSU to 207 yards of total offense — 47 on the ground and 160 through the air on 18-of-30 passing by Mitch Davidson. Tyshon King was held to 20 yards on seven carries, while Max Tomczak was YSU’s top receiver with five catches for 57 yards.
The Jackrabbits limited Youngstown State to 2-of-11 on third-down attempts.
Adam Bock led the Jackrabbits defensively with seven tackles, including a pair of half-sacks as SDSU recorded three sacks as a team on the afternoon. Jason Freeman and Isaiah Stalbird each tallied five stops.
YSU’s Marcus Hooker led all players with 10 tackles, followed by nine from Troy Jakubek.
- South Dakota State leads the all-time series, 17-7
- The Jackrabbits’ 24-game winning streak is tied for the fourth-longest in FCS history with Pennsylvania (1992-95) and Montana (2001-02)
- SDSU now has won or shared four Missouri Valley Football Conference titles (2016, 2020-21, 2022, 2023) and has secured consecutive league titles for the first time since winning three straight from 1961-63
- The Jackrabbits have outscored the opposition by a 79-7 margin in the third quarter of games this season
- Jadon Janke moved into a tie for fourth place in career touchdown receptions with his twin brother, Jaxon, with 27, and passed JaRon Harris (2,164 yards from 2005-08) for eighth place in career receiving yards at SDSU with 2,330
- Jadon Janke caught two touchdown passes in the same game for the seventh time in his career
- Davis topped the 100-yard mark for the fifth time this season and 21st time in his career
- Gronowski now has two of the top 10 single-season totals for passing touchdowns in program history — 26 in 2022 (sixth) and 21 in 2023 (ninth)
- SDSU’s 22 receptions were spread among 10 different players
- Large’s interception was his team-leading third of the season
- Announced attendance was 9,303