Jackrabbits rally past third ranked Montana State 20-16

September 11, 2023

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — Mark Gronowski accounted for three second-half touchdowns, including a 35-yard scoring pass to Griffin Wilde with 1:30 to play, and South Dakota State beat Montana State 20-16 Saturday night in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Gronowski completed 13 of 22 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns and his 20-yard TD run to cap the opening drive of the second half that trimmed South Dakota State’s deficit to 10-7. Brendan Hall, who made a 27-yard field goal in the first half, connected on kicks of 19 and 24 yards in the fourth quarter, the latter of which made it 16-13 with 2:04 remaining.

On the next play from scrimmage, Gronowski hit Grahm Goering for a 40-yard gain into Montana State territory and then Wilde caught a screen pass at the line of scrimmage, broke a tackle and raced 35 yards for a touchdown that capped the scoring.

Sean Chambers appeared to connect with Clevan Thomas Jr. in the back of the end zone for the winning touchdown, but the call was reversed after video replay review and South Dakota State, ranked No. 1 in the FCS and the defending national champions, held on for the win.

Tommy Mellott completed all his six passes for 34 yards and added 46 yards rushing for No. 3 Montana State before leaving the game with an apparent leg injury early in the third quarter. Chambers came on in relief and was 3-of-9 passing for 53 yards with an interception and added 20 carries for 90 yards, including a 2-yard TD that opened the scoring about 11 minutes into the game.