ST. LOUIS, Mo. (SDSU) – South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong, Jr. was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week and freshman quarterback Mark Gronowski earned MVFC Newcomer of the Week honors, league officials announced Monday.
Strong, a junior from Little Rock, Arkansas, tallied 142 all-purpose yards and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard pass play with 19 seconds remaining in South Dakota State’ 24-20 victory at Northern Iowa on Feb. 19. For the game, he rushed 22 times for 91 yards and caught a team-high six passes for 31 yards. He added a 20-yard kickoff return to round out his performance.
A native of Naperville, Illinois, Gronowski accounted for all three South Dakota State touchdowns as the Jackrabbits prevailed in the matchup between top-five teams. He completed 19-of-29 passes for 194 yards and touchdown passes of 6 yards to Jaxon Janke in the second quarter and the 1-yard toss to Strong to cap the 10-play, 75-yard game-winning drive. He also rushed for 24 yards on 10 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown late in the first half. Gronowski connected with seven different receivers in the game.
Also on Monday, Gronowski was selected as the Stats Perform FCS National Freshman Player of the Week.
SDSU moved up two spots to third in this week’s Stats Perform FCS poll. The Jackrabbits are scheduled to travel to No. 14 and MVFC newcomer North Dakota on Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.