Jackrabbits open season with blowout win against Western Oregon

September 1, 2023

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — Mark Gronowski threw for one touchdown and passed for another as defending FCS champion South Dakota State defeated Western Oregon 45-7 on Thursday night in a season opener that gave Jimmy Rogers his first head coaching victory.

The victory was the 15th in a row — a school record — for the top-ranked Jackrabbits, who return 18 starters.

It was 42-0 at halftime with Gronowski compiling all his offense in the first half, hitting Griffin Wilde with a 31-yard pass and rushing for a 6-yard score. The Jackrabbits had three interceptions.

The Jackrabbits won their first FCS national championship last season in John Stiegelmeier’s 26th and final year season as head coach. He was replaced by Rogers, a former Jackrabbits player and assistant, who was promoted from defensive coordinator.

The Division II Wolves got their touchdown with under four minutes remaining on Jordan McCarty’s 9-yard run.

The Jackrabbits are hosts to Montana State on Sept. 9.